The 12 Week Year
It’s very hard to keep any kind of focus for a full year. I try to do that, but I find myself starting and stopping often over the course of the year (and I’m pretty goal-oriented). Every time I have shortened the time frame I focus on, I find myself more productive, more efficient, and more satisfied overall with what I’m accomplishing.
One of the big pluses of this approach is the review week. Push hard in a focused way for twelve weeks, and then take a week to review and plan the next twelve. I like the symmetry of that coming out to 52 weeks, and I have found that to be a good rhythm of pushing and resting/planning.
I think most of us are unable to maintain a consistent focus for a full year, but most, if not all, of us can do it for twelve weeks. Especially if you build in weekly planning as is recommended. And doing that in light of a larger vision for our life keeps us going in the right direction.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to try the 12 week year. If you are experienced at managing your time, you won’t find it a big stretch—just keep doing what you’ve been doing, but (probably) with a different time frame in mind.
If you aren’t experienced, it may take you a little while to develop the rhythm and routine of planning and executing, but if you stick with it I think you will find yourself living at a higher, more satisfying level.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this approach, and also anything else you’ve learned about time management. I think it’s one of the most important skills any of us can develop. Please share your comments and insights with the rest of us.