Expectations and Productivity: New Method for a New Year

In this episode:

Let's launch this year well! Sometimes, we start out with great plans, but they get off track quickly. In this episode, Michelle talks about the art of setting goals, negotiating time, and getting things done. Don't miss info about a brand new productivity planner too!

(Article contains affiliate links. This means that when you click a link and make a purchase, I might receive a small commission from that purchase.)

Inspired Life

We may have started this year with some expectations for it to be better than last. We might have started it with a plan. A goal. A word. A resolution.

Yesterday morning, I set my plan for the day. By 10:30 the well was broken and several of my task had to be ignore while I helped my husband pull 48 feet of pipe from somewhere in the belly of the earth and pray about what to do about the valve that was not going to be coming out of that pipe in this century.

I expected my day to go a certain way and it was off track in 2 hours. What makes me think a year will go how I plan for it to go on the first of the year?

I believe that along with every positive expectation there also needs to be a companion negotiation.

For example, if I set my expectation for the day and write down a top goal. What happens if something comes along that could upend that goal? Let’s look at how negotiation comes into play.

  1. I plan to work on editing a project for a client today. My friend calls me and asks to go for coffee. I negotiate that request and realize that my expectation to finish my work is much more important at the moment and I determine I will stay on track.
  2. I plan to work on editing a project for a client today. The well goes out and my husband needs assistance with woman power and strategizing options. I negotiate and realize that water is important for our household. The problem is out of my control, but the solution matters. So I set aside my expectation and pivot to a pressing matter.
  3. I plan to work on editing a project for a client today. Let’s imagine teenager forgot to tell me that he needed to bring treats to school that day. I could pivot and have them delivered to the school by noon. Or I could decide that this is not an emergent problem, and someone had the control to prevent this problem. I negotiate the options and realize I can’t afford to ask a client for an extension over my child’s lack of responsibility.

When we balance expectation with negotiation, we can filter out what should interrupt a plan and what is a poor excuse.

Let’s talk about some ways that this applies to our plans for the year


Life, Repurposed

I tend to be an all or nothing gal and when something gets me off course, it’s hard to get the momentum back. I was.

But over the years, I’ve discovered the benefit of flexing. It’s a big win to finish a goal when the steps looked nothing like I thought they would! I want others to experience that too.

One way of navigating this as a planner is that I changed how I set goals. Instead of spending a whole day with a planner and note pad scheduling out the entire year, I looked at big goals and then worked a few months at a time to figure out what needed to be done in those months to move forward. Every so often, I reevaluated, or negotiated, to see where I needed to pivot.

My productivity for the last year was high. But when I look at the path, it meandered all over the place. Along the way, I learned new things.

As you launch into the next few months, let’s break it down into a little homework:

  1. What would you like to accomplish in the next 3 months?
  2. What actions would you need to take in the next 30 days that would accomplish 1/3 of the goal?
  3. What will you need to do this week to take the first steps toward that part of your goal?

Now you’re ready to add those actions to your top priorities for each day in your 1-2-3 Journal for this week.

Recommended Resources

The idea for blocking in 12-week increments came from when a friend mentioned a book called the 12-Week Year (see below).

1-2-3 Ideas and Progress Journal: For Achievers & List Lovers (A 3-month journal for people who don't love journaling)

This 3-month journal is for people who don't enjoy traditional journaling. Created for achievers who love to check boxes yet need to think outside of the box. For anyone who wants to innovate, get stuff done, and celebrate progress in the most simple and creative way.  ★

Achievers often have a difficult time celebrating the winning moments before moving on to the next list. Make time to plan as well as celebrate the wins!

The 1–2–3 method includes one main goal, two smaller goals, and three things that bring you joy. Reverse the process on the weekends and choose three goals, celebrate two wins, and note one creative solution from the week.

In the daily notes:

  • Make lists and organizes project tasks.
  • Write reminders.
  • Create a plan for tomorrow.
  • Journal—if you’re into that!

On the weekends:

  • Make your plan and prioritize.
  • Pause to see the good in the past week.
  • Celebrate your own innovation

Matte Finish Hardcover (colorful) or Glossy in black and gray

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months

Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a twelve-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound.

  • Explains how to leverage the power of a 12 week year to drive improved results in any area of your life
  • Offers a how-to book for both individuals and organizations seeking to improve their execution effectiveness
  • Authors are leading experts on execution and implementation

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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

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