The 7 Books And 43 Key Concepts That Will Help You Develop a Good Personal Operating System In The Knowledge Economy [PART 7]
Over the past 2 years, I have read the 7 best books for developing an effective personal operating system — twice.
I have distilled them down to the 43 key insights that will upgrade your life.
Save yourself time and just implement these key concepts
Book #7: The 12 Week Year
Your thinking drives your actions which determine your outcomes.
The 12 Week Year combines various proven techniques and approaches into a holistic system that fundamentally changes how you think and act, so you can improve your existing results by at least 4x.
The most fundamental mindset shift is to redefine your year from “1 Year = 12 Months” to “1 Year = 12 Weeks”
The 12 Week Year concept/system is build on 8 success ingredients — 3 principles and 5 disciplines — that are crucial for success in any area.
The 3 principles are:
1) Accountability (the willingness to take full ownership for your actions and results regardless of your circumstances)
2) Commitment (doing whatever it takes to keep the promises you’ve made to yourself and to others)
3) Greatness in the moment (making the countless decisions to do what’s needed even if you don’t feel like it, and immersing yourself fully in the present)
These 5 interrelated disciplines shape your thinking, actions and results:
1) Having a clear, inspiring life vision
2) Breaking your broad vision into a concrete plan (with priorities, goals and action steps)
3) Using process controls (tools and systems) to stay on-track
4) Using measurements to get vital feedback and make informed decisions
5) Having effective time-use
Key Concept (41): The 12-Week Year Approach Breaks The Confines Of Annual Goal-Setting
People struggle with planning annually.
This happens because when we think to achieve something so far in advance, we grow complacent in the middle, thinking we have plenty of time to finish.
Because of this, December is often the best performing month for most businesses.
After a year of non-urgency, the last month becomes the catch-up where we push to finish strong.
But having that intense drive only once a year isn’t enough.
Peak performers know that smaller planning seasons grant deeper focus and a greater sense of urgency.
Athletes were early adopters of what’s known as periodization, or pinpointing a specific skill to improve and working on it in a smaller stretch of time.
The 12-week cycle takes this principle, and the advantages that come with it, and applies it to business and personal goals.
With a 12-week pattern, you can get that motivation to sprint to the finish four times a year.
You are also setting yourself up to work harder in the intermediate points within the 12-week cycle.
The first step is to create a vision of where you want to be.
Use that vision to make specific and measurable goals for your 12-week period.
Key Concept (42): Rigorously Review Your Weekly Performance
Major businesses track their progression with numbers.
Following this same pattern yourself can give you a massive advantage in making your vision reality.
You do this by measuring two indicators.
Lag indicators measure an end result, like how many pounds you’ve lost each week.
Lead indicators are the specific actions you take to reach your lag indicator.
For losing weight, a lead indicator could be running a mile every weekday.
Lag indicators are important, but remember that you have less control over some parts of these results.
This is why it’s vital to focus your efforts on lead indicators.
According to Moran, accomplishing 85% or more of your lead indicator actions each week improves the likelihood of reaching your 12-week targets.
Key Concept (43): Carefully Manage Your Time, Energy, and Attention (TEA)
The advantage of the 12-week concept is that it’s a lot easier to stay motivated for 12 weeks than 12 months.
The hard stuff is managing your time, energy, and attention wisely each day (and week) to make your targets happen.
You can’t reach your potential by deferring the most important tasks on your list.
Interruptions, and having to recover from them, eats up 28% of the typical knowledge professional’s day.
Instead of losing productivity by taking intrusions as they come, plan for and around them.
Protect your TEA with specific blocks: strategic, buffer, and breakout.
→ Strategic Blocks are three-hours long, and should be reserved for Deep Work.
Do not accept interruptions during this time, and move to a location that is conducive to this if necessary.
→ A Buffer Block is time dedicated to dealing with all interruptions in one sitting.
You can do this a couple of times each day if necessary for an hour or so.
→ The Breakout Block is simply a break from all work.
Take three hours from normal working hours to be away from it.
Breakout blocks improve productivity by helping us stay focused and energetic.
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