About two years ago I had a number of projects on the go and was as busy as a one armed brick layer. I found myself working ridiculous hours, late into the night because I felt like I owed the day just that bit more. There was always something urgent to do. Do you know the feeling?
The kicker was that at the end of each month, quarter, year I couldn't really say I had made the progress that reflected the hours I had put in. I felt like I still hadn't given enough. It's a crappy unhealthy cycle. One day, I thought the answer to my problem was to get better with my daily scheduling. Not a bad solution, I always do work better under a very carefully planned out agenda. But when I sat down to put in all the things from my to-do list I had been working from I realised that there was about 65 hours worth of work that I was trying to fit into 30 hours of office time…. Hmm gee I wonder why I was strung out! So some rationalising needed to be done, some prioritising. This is when I took the best of what I read around the place, all of my favourite planners etc.. and put that into the context of my farm and family life and decided to implement my version of a 90 day plan. I call it the 90-30-7.
So by effectively turning the process completely on its head I have given myself some freedom, focus, and that long lost feeling of accomplishment back. *Insert Toyota jump here*
Turning the process on its head meant putting the to-do list LAST. And starting with the end in mind. Getting really clear on why the hell am I staying up to ridiculous o’clock and what did success look like for me. (Now this is a whole exercise in itself and we will be covering this on an upcoming #30DC for RBC Members.)
12 MONTH GOAL
Set yourself a 12 month goal. Whether you work seasonally according to your business, by financial year or by calendar year, it doesn't matter. But set a goal for a 12 month period and get it down in writing. Feel free to use our Goal Card Template for this to help you get down your Vision, Mission and Values, and more specifically your goals, financial targets, timelines and supporting behaviours.
Right, so you have that down. You’re pumped, and to be honest a little daunted. That's good, that's how you know you have the right goal. If it doesn’t daunt you a little then you have the wrong goals. There has to be something in there that you have never done before and quite frankly you aren't exactly sure how it's going to be done either. Otherwise your goal is nothing but BAU - Business As Usual. Nobody wants that.
So now take that goal and look at the focus areas and major undertakings that need to occur to make that happen. What targets do you need to hit financially to make that a reality? What has to change about your business as it stands today? Is that finding a new market, developing a new website, creating an improved production system? What resources will you need?
90 DAY PRIORITIES
Have a look at that list. Vomit in your mouth a little. And then prioritise - is there a chain of events that needs to happen here? What has to come first for the others to happen? What will provide the greatest impact? Greatest impact or greatest catalysts need to come first.
Map these out across your four lots of 90 days in a year. These will become your focus for the quarter. It’s a bit like that saying ‘how do you eat an elephant - one bit at a time!’. Your goal is the elephant, each quarter is a bite.
30 DAY ACTIVITY
So I hope you are starting to see where this is heading and it comes as no surprise that the next step is to look at your 90 days and see what you want to achieve in this quarter. It’s another building block and direct link to your goal for the year. You then breakdown that 90 day focus into three to four main key activities. This is what you are going to do for each month. Allocate them out and prioritise them. So in the Oct-Dec quarter - what are the key activities I need to complete for this quarter? What will I do in each 30 day block?
7 DAY ACTION
The last piece of this cascading plan is to take charge of your outcomes in the seven day block of time. These are the actions, specific tasks, things you can put into a calendar and diarise. This is the part where you can actually see that you might be able to pull this sucker off!!
This is also the part where you can see exactly how much you are putting on and what you need to give the ‘3D treatment’ that is to Dump, Defer, or Delegate.
I do the 90 and 30 day parts of this plan on paper but for the seven it goes straight into the Google Calendar. Some weeks this slips off the list and I don't get time to do it on Sunday night when I normally plan out my week. Those weeks are by far and away less productive and the weeks when I get trapped into my office until way past my bedtime. Once you have done the first steps the 7 day plan takes about 20 minutes. And it feels gooood!
90-30-7 has changed the way I do business and the way I run my week. It’s given me the confidence to say no to things that don’t align and also because I am acutely aware now of just how little time I do have! Setting boundaries is key to protecting your energy as a business owner and community member and not to mention family member. Being clear about your intentions and knowing where to spend your time is critical.
Every 90 days RBC Members can tune into our 90 day planning sessions where we go through this process live online. It's not only a good prompt to make sure you do it at the start of every quarter but it’s also good to run through the process a few times with some guidance. Join us here. Members can also download the templates for this process in the resources section of the members portal.
Do you run through a similar 90 day planning process in your business? What works for you?