Like many early risers, popular executive coach, Ron Sharma, considers 5 to 8 a.m. every morning as “prime time or “the Golden Hours” and those who join him members of the esteemed “5 a.m. club.” Others prefer to work what has been coined “the second shift.” They finish their regular work day, grab dinner, then jump on the computer for a couple more, often highly productive, late night hours.
Whether you are a night owl or an early morning riser, the significant take away is not when you do your best work. It is this: The more impact you wish to have in your career and personal life, the more you will need to set aside time for uninterrupted strategizing and planning, as well as activities that are mentally, physically and spiritually restorative. You will also need to use this time to schedule the fourth restorative domain, the only one not accomplished in solitude- maintaining healthy social connections.
In fact, the more you grow into a leader, the more thinking time you will need to carve out to prioritize and strategize.
Here is the leader’s paradox: You cannot be your best alone but great leaders must carve out significant alone time. As Michael Hyatt, productivity and leadership coach, said recently: “If your goals do not require a team, they are not big enough.”
The top business leaders I know all set aside specific time just for thinking. Some get away one day a month, a couple of days a quarter, and all certainly spend time developing yearly goals. But, at the same time, they also all sit down in some fashion weekly to renew, review and strategize their next seven days.
My Biggest Temptation Will Likely Be Yours Too: Taking care of a few items before your meeting
If I take the bait and start my day just “taking care of a few items,” a hot email, a bill, a quick project, before my morning rituals, there is an excellent chance I will miss all or part of this critical start of my day. And, my productivity will be significantly diminished even on days where I am working “non-stop.” I may be busy but am not doing the most strategic tasks.
The One Percent
Over the past six months, in preparation for focusing more on this topic in the new year, I began to informally pole each of my corporate seminar audience members asking the following simple question: How many of you have written goals? On average, just 5% raised their hand. In a group of medical professionals recently, not one hand out of 50 was raised. Although, my sampling may be far from random, the conclusion is clear: If you set written goals, you are instantly putting yourself in a very small minority of your peers. If you hold a WPBM you are certainly in the 1%! The question is, does it matter?
The results are in and they are unequivocal: The days I skip or have insufficient time for my personal planning meeting, I always pay for in terms of lowered productivity. And, nearly all leaders I know who make over half a million a year hold a WPBM in some form- not a bad neighborhood to move into yourself.
How to Host Your Own Weekly Personal Business Meeting (WPBM)
Your weekly meeting can be high tech or low tech. There are any number of goal-setting and tracking systems you can follow. But, like the classic game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, just as Paper always beats Rock and Scissors always beats Paper, meeting once a week with yourself to plan always beats no meeting, and any system you use always beats having no system at all.
Why have a personal business meeting? To ensure that you take care of yourself and maximize your impact in service to others.