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In the fast-paced world we live in, achieving personal and professional success requires careful planning and strategic thinking. A well-organized planner is an indispensable tool for individuals seeking to navigate the complexities of their lives and reach their goals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to effectively use the free HPL 2024 Goal Planner that incorporates key elements such as SWOT analysis, SMART goals, brainstorming functions, short-term goals (1-2 years), and long-term goals (3-5 years), along with a goal breakdown to ensure a systematic approach to success!

 

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Why Goals, Instead of New Year's Resolutions?

There are many statistics out there with some studies indicating that up to 80% of New Year's resolutions fail.  Why?  Our view is they are usually just statements made without any real plan to achieve, lack support mechanisms, or don't have new habit-formation actions.  It's easy when you are sitting on the couch stuffed with good food and amply plied with booze to say "I'm going to be healthier next year!", but what steps do you take to make that happen? How do you know when you have achieved that goal? what motivates you to work towards that goal? For these reasons, We believe that Goals and Objectives eat New Year's resolutions for breakfast, every time!

 

Click to Download FREE Planner

 

Understanding Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT Analysis)

 

The first step in crafting a successful plan is to conduct a thorough SWOT analysis. This strategic planning tool involves assessing your internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis is generally a tool used by organizations to set goals and bring teams together on issues. While it is a great tool to use in a professional environment, many may not consider it for personal goals as well. By understanding these factors, you can create a foundation for setting realistic and achievable goals.

 

Strengths: Identify your unique skills, attributes, and resources that give you a competitive advantage. What are you good at? Where do you succeed easily?

 

Weaknesses: Acknowledge areas where you may need improvement or additional support. Areas of strain or stress. This is not to beat yourself up about; this is a logical reflection of where you need to see improvements or change. Example: "I am always busy being busy", "My Supervisor has mentioned I need to improve my communication on the status of my projects".


Opportunities: Explore external factors and trends that you can leverage to your advantage. Training and development opportunities, as well as continuing education, networking, taking on special projects at work, or as simple as attending some webinars.


Threats: Recognize potential obstacles or challenges that may hinder your progress. These threats aren't necessarily bad things, but to remove these threats, you need to know what you're dealing with and make informed decisions. Example: "I would like to work in a specific country, but there are current political instability concerns," or "I would like to get certified in this area, but I'm not sure how AI will impact this area of expertise."

 

Utilizing Brainstorming

Next, you need to start brainstorming. What is your dream life? Where do you want to be, and what do you want to be doing in the next few years?

 Dreams don't need to be earth-shattering, but these dreams also don't need to be limited. This section is not for judgment or for you to ask "how"; this is a safe place to dream up the life you want!

 

 

  • Explore new possibilities: Allow your mind to wander freely and jot down any ideas that come to you.
  • Are there new habits or personal changes you want to see?
  • Plan for the future: Generate ideas for future projects, collaborations, or personal development opportunities. Where do you see yourself in a year, 3 years, 5 years?!

 

Setting SMART Goals

Now, place your SWOT analysis next to your brainstorming sheet. Compare the two pages and decide if they work together, against, or are completely different. Do you have new goals you want to add to your dream board based on your SWOT analysis? Do your dreams seem unachievable next to your SWOT? If so, don't panic! Begin to look for ways to break down these dreams into SMART Goals.

 

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They provide a structured framework to guide your efforts and ensure your objectives are well-defined and attainable. This makes goals like "I want to be healthier" impossible. Goals like this are very common, but they are unachievable because they are much too vague. Try framing your goals as smart goals.

 

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve, avoiding vague or ambiguous language. Example: I will lose 5 lbs off my current weight through daily activity and exercise.

 

  • Measurable: Establish criteria to track your progress and determine when the goal has been accomplished. Example: To lose 5lbs I will go for a walk daily and a spin class twice a week. I will also switch my daily MacDonald's lunch to a salad. All of these things are measurable and can easily be tracked.

 

  • Achievable: Set realistic goals that stretch your abilities but are within the realm of possibility. Example: Can I afford to take Spin classes? Where will I get my new daily salad that is closer or the same distance as MacDonald's? Where will I go for my daily walk?

 

  • Relevant: Ensure that your goals align with your values, vision, and long-term objectives. Example: Is this goal important to me? Do I really need to lose 5 lbs, or is that what everyone around me is doing?

 

  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for each goal to create a sense of urgency and maintain focus. Example: When will I have lost 5lbs? What time of day is my daily walk? What days are my spin classes?

 

Crafting Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Now that you have your SMART goals laid out, you can see how large a goal they are and if they may require further breakdown. For example, a long-term goal might be getting a master's degree, while a short-term goal will be achieving an 85% in your current classes. The short-term goals add up to or contribute towards the long-term goal over time.

 

Differentiating between short-term and long-term goals is crucial for effective planning. Short-term goals provide stepping stones toward your larger, long-term objectives. Consider the following when crafting these goals:

 

Short-Term Goals: Focus on achieving objectives within the next 1-2 years, breaking down larger aspirations into manageable tasks. You can break these goals down even further into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily.


Long-Term Goals: Envision where you want to be in 3-5 years, providing a roadmap for sustained success and personal growth. Break these down into yearly (long term), quarterly (short term), monthly, weekly, and daily.

 

Goal Breakdown

 

A goal breakdown is a detailed analysis of each goal, helping you understand the "why," "how," "when," and the actionable steps required to achieve success. While many of these steps have already been discussed in the SMART goals section, these pages are very helpful in making your plan actionable and organized all in one place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to Download FREE Planner

 

  • Why: Clearly define the purpose and significance of each goal, aligning them with your values and long-term vision. Why is this goal important to you? What is the motivation behind it?
  • How: Outline the strategies and approaches you will employ to accomplish your goals. Create bite-size daily or weekly actions that take you a step closer to your goal consistently. This is a great time to review your Prioritized Leader Actions and incorporate your goals into your daily and weekly routines.
  • When: Set specific deadlines and milestones for each goal, creating a sense of urgency and accountability. How do you plan on staying accountable? Is it a person, a checkbox, or an app notification? Block time in your calendar or schedule events/meetings with yourself to work on these goals.

Don't forget to add in rewards for yourself at milestones or look for ways to stay motivated and encouraging! Celebrate consistency and small wins. Looking back at your original SWOT analysis, are there any threats to your goals? How can you overcome them? Look for more ways to break it down and problem-solve. Just remember that you can plan and break things down as much as you want, but to achieve your goals requires action. Don't analyze your goals to death, and fail to start out on the first step. New beginnings take place every day, not just on January 1st.

 

Summary

By incorporating SWOT analysis, SMART goals, brainstorming, short-term and long-term goal planning, and a detailed goal breakdown into your planner, you empower yourself with a comprehensive roadmap for success. Regularly revisit and update your plan to adapt to changing circumstances and ensure continued progress toward your aspirations. Remember, the ultimate planner is not just a tool; it's your personal guide to mastering success in every aspect of your life!

 

Click to Download FREE Planner

 

Another way to help keep you on track with your goals is to put them somewhere visible, like at your desk or in your kitchen. Somewhere, you can see them and be reminded daily of what you are working towards. This is not meant to be a bat for when your plans/goals go off the rails; it is a motivator and a reminder to continue pushing forward.

 

It's also important to track your progress. If you have daily action items, make sure you have a way to measure your progress. Check out our other post on Prioritized Leader Actions on how this works!

 

Let us know if you have any questions or if you have a way to plan your goals more effectively. If all of this seems overwhelming, please feel free to book a coaching session, and we will help you every step of the way to achieve your 2024 goals!

 

 

Other Relevant Articles:

Prioritized Leader Actions are for, well, EVERYONE!

A New Year means a new start! Tips to be quick off the start!

Goals and Objectives Eat New Year's Resolutions For Breakfast, Every Time!

Leader Standard Work & Hitting Targets

Want To Get Organized in 2020? Free Personal Planner & Leader Standardized Work Templates

 

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Now that you've had a great summer with the family and the kids are excited to return to school, it's finally “me time”! Time for you!
 
The coming of fall and the kid's return to school creates an excellent opportunity for leaders to reorganize themselves for the long winter ahead! I know, depressing, right? No! It doesn’t have to be! If you’re thinking of taking steps to get yourself better organized and in more control of your day, here are a few tips for you:
 
* “Prioritized Leader Actions” or PLA. A very effective old tool, with hopefully a more enticing name. PLA is a great tool to get and stay on top of your biggest priorities. Try it! Check it out here.
 
* My favourite life-saving trick is to set your scheduling app to 20 and 50-minute meetings instead of the typical 30 and 60-minutes. Doing so gives you time to deal with the small things, stay on top of emails, or grab coffee throughout your busy day. Full article here.
 
* Block multiple 1-hour time slots in your calendar across the future horizon. Due to a packed calendar in the near term, you may need to start in a month or more from the current date. These blocks are to reserve “me time” so you can focus on your top priorities. Schedule at the most likely times of the week and hours of the day, reducing the chances of being overridden by mandatory meetings. As you get closer to the dates and know exactly what you’ll use the block for, you can invite other people as necessary. Sure, some blocks may get cancelled, but not all when done with thought and consideration. As a result, you’ll have more time for your priorities than you do today. Promise!
 
I hope you find these helpful.

What do you do to make time for yourself or the things that matter to you? Leave a comment.

 

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This post is a revision from a previously popular post.

 

I’ve never understood why so few leaders use Leader Standardized Work (LSW). Talking with many leaders over the years, the explanation I hear most is that they don't have standard repeatable work or tasks. Baloney! All leaders have regular actions that they must or want to take on an ongoing basis. Examples include budget reviews, team member 1:1s, Gemba (go to the workplace), submitting your monthly business expenses, and many others. So if the "standardized work" wording is a barrier to using LSW, in HPL's new fall 'Lunch and Lead' program called "4-steps to Time Shifting - making time for the things that really matter", I've rephrased it to "Prioritized Leader Actions" or PLA. Ultimately, I think it more accurately reflects the intent relating to leadership responsibilities. Leaders are too often 'fighting fires,' and I believe a significant cause of this is that they are not proactive enough! Yes, it's only a name change, but unfortunately, I think the name LSW casts a negative perception on many to the point that they don't even consider it. So, let's talk about Prioritized Leader Actions (PLA)!

 

I’ve found PLA to be a great tool to help me be a more consistent and effective leader. I’ve used PLA for years. For me, it’s my little voice reminding me of the most important things I need to do or that I want to do to be successful when leading. These are my priorities. Regardless of your responsibility, there is an inevitable component of it that is repeatable; therefore, Prioritized Leader Actions are for, well, everyone! It's not just a manufacturing thing!!!

 

Here are some key points I found helpful when it comes to PLA:

 

1. Set up PLA with a designated section for daily, weekly, monthly and Mid-long term (quarterly, semi-annual) based on the frequency of completion of the task or action.

 

2. Place tasks in the PLA that are important to YOU that you must get done and those that you want to complete, check, or confirm because they are essential to you or your business.

 

3. Set your PLA up on a monthly basis, refreshing it at the beginning of each month.

 

4. Have a method within the PLA to indicate which days you are on vacation and identify when you are out of the office on business. Doing so will help you plan more effectively when you complete tasks, or it will provide you with the opportunity to delegate if necessary.

 

5. PLA should be dynamic, not static. It’s OK to add and remove items from your PLA. However, as priorities change, new systems develop, metrics improve or degrade, you may find that you need to adjust what you’re doing or what you’re checking and confirming.

 

6. PLA is for you, not anyone else. It’s OK to show people your PLA, but I don’t advocate posting it. It’s more effective if you carry it with you at all times to help you execute it versus showing others. As a leader, you should also check your team's PLA periodically.

 

7. If you’re not getting to something on your PLA, don’t beat yourself up; instead, find the root cause for not getting it done and determine what you need to do differently to achieve it. After all, the items on your PLA were put there by you because you either need to get them done as a core responsibility of your job or they are most important to you. Then, use it to improve your self-discipline, motivate you, or remind you to just do it!

 

8. PLA must be integral to your planning system and routine. It must integrate with your schedule, follow-up system, and to-do lists.

 

9. Print out your PLA for the month, update it daily as you complete tasks daily, and “pencil” in additional PLA tasks as you’re thinking of them throughout the month.

 

10. When you get busy, that’s when you need your PLA the most. Please don’t abandon it, then. Instead, use it to help you get the most important things done. Then, when you can’t do everything, use it to make an informed decision as to what will and will not get done.

 

I use an Excel spreadsheet for my PLA. To make things easier, I've added some conditional formatting for the visibility of weekends, business travel, or when out on vacation. I prepare the PLA for the month, print it out, and then use it daily by marking tasks using a pen. PLA is integral to my daily, weekly, and monthly planning system.

 

Check out our 'Tools' page to download a template of my PLA to use for yourself. Then, modify it as necessary to make it work for you.

 

I hope you found this helpful. Are there any key points I've missed or, in your experience, you feel are most important?

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One of the best time saving, and perhaps even life saving things I did was implement 50 minute and 20 minute meetings. The emphasis was on 20 minute meetings as the rule and 50 minutes an exception.

 

The old saying "the fish grows to the size of the fish bowl" applies to meetings. Most people schedule 60 minute meetings. Why? It's the default setting in most scheduling apps. What happens? Meetings extend to the length of time that the meeting is scheduled! Funny how that is, eh!

The obvious benefit of 50/20 minute meetings is more effective meetings and staying on topic, however, the real reward is that you get 10 minutes between each meeting, for, well, whatever you need. That maybe a coffee, a washroom break, checking and responding to emails, making quick calls, conversations, preparing for your next meeting.

Try it! It's simple but GREAT!

Leave a comment with your best time saving or personal planning tip.

Watch for High Performance Leaders Inc. time management and personal planning workshop coming this fall.

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With every New Year, there is an opportunity for all of us to make a fresh start! Are you prepared to take it? This year, perhaps more than recent years, we all want things to be different!

 

Often due to our busyness or just plain procrastination, the hardest part is to get started, so I thought I'd try and assist you by providing some of my previous posts on topics that I think can be very helpful at this time of year.

 

Getting yourself Organized - Time management & weekly personal planning

 

6 Must have’s for any planning routine – If you are in need of getting yourself better organized so you stay in control and get the right things done, these 6 key points to incorporate in your planning process will be helpful.

 

An effective leaders to-do list – We all have “things” we need or want to get done on a regular basis, but often we lose track of them and they fall off our radar. This article gives an over view of a very powerful leader tool, that is sadly too often overlooked, not understood, or assumed to be only for manufacturing. Not giving it away here so as not to discourage you from checking it out first!

 

Free personal organizer/planner download – Free down load of the template I use for my personal organizer and weekly planner. If you don’t have one, this should give you a good starting point that is ready to use, or you can easily revise to fit your personal needs.

 

Leadership Hacks – Getting your stuff together – a 2.5 hour live virtual seminar with over 50+ proven tips and techniques to get yourself organized and stay in control without having to spend a career figuring it all out.

 

Setting goals and Objectives – Personal or for business

 

Reflections vs Resolutions – A critical step before setting annual goals and objectives is to first reflect on the previous year. In my opinion, reflection is far more important than any resolution. In this post we discuss why resolutions typically fail and the steps to conducting a good reflection.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Mission Statements – Whether it’s for personal use or professionally, having a defined mission is very important. This article walks through what a mission statement is comprised of and provides a couple of personal examples to help demonstrate.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals & Objectives – Providing both personal and organizational examples, this article outlines how to create strategies, goals and objectives.

 

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Tactics or Action Plans – Once again providing both personal and organizational examples, we review the steps to take to develop robust actions to achieve your goals & objectives.

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Do you want to get yourself better organized this year so you are ready to lead more effectively?  Then these two tools will help you!  Yes you!

 

At High Performance Leaders Inc., we help develop leaders to be more effective, everyday!  Although there are many important aspects to being an effective leader included in our program, one straight forward but critical way is to get and stay organized.

 

Unfortunately, too many leaders say they want to spend more quality time with their teams, have more focus on their top priorities, and feel less overwhelmed.  Sound somewhat familiar?  Two vital tools that can dramatically assist with these far too common issues is Leader Standard Work (LSW) and a personal planning sheet and routine.

 

To assist in these areas, download these free basic LSW and personal planning templates and start off the year more organized!

 

Download tool here

 

Leader Standard Work

 

If you think LSW doesn't apply to you or your position, you are missing out on a very helpful tool.  LSW is not only for first line manufacturing supervisors.  It's a powerful tool for any leader in any business at all levels.  Another myth is that a leader's job is not standard, so therefore LSW will not work.  Absolutely there are aspects of a leader's responsibilities that are not standard, however, there are likely many responsibilities and actions that are standard when you step back and evaluate what needs to be accomplished.

 

LSW is simply an organized list of the most important responsibilities, actions, or tasks that a leader needs or wants to accomplish, and the frequency with which they need to be completed.  This list then is used to remind the leader what they need to get done.  When integrated into a robust scheduling and personal planning routine, it will result in improved results, accomplishments, and feeling of accomplishment.  It will also avoid important things from falling off the radar over time or when things get hectic.

 

Read more here on developing leader standardized work

 

Download template here

 

Personal Planning

 

Surprisingly many leaders also only use their calendar and maybe a note book for personal planning purposes.  This can lead to losing control of your time and schedule, and not having time to get to those things that are most important to get completed.  Important tasks or follow-up items may get buried within the notebook and get overlooked or forgotten.

 

A regular personal planning routine of reviewing your LSW, scheduled and new meetings, your priorities, outstanding actions and follow-up, is critical to being an effective leader.  Coupling the routine with a single page weekly planner can have a dramatic impact on a leader's effectiveness.

 

Update and revise your personal planner once per week, print it out and then keep it up-to-date throughout the week using the old pen and pencil method, or maintain it live on  your computer.  Your choice.  Add tabs to keep a log of actions or tasks that need to be completed at some point in the future, but that you don't need on the current week's planner.  Categorize the tabs based on key areas of your life such as, "Follow-up", "Actions", "@Computer", "Errands" etc.

 

If this sounds basic to you, great!  You should be all set and maybe already effective in this regard.  However, indications are that many leaders lack a robust planning and organizing routine.  A 20 minute weekly planning routine is all that is required to get organized and stay on top of the important things.

 

Read more here on personal planning

 

To assist in these areas, download these free LSW and personal planning templates and start off the year more organized!

 

Download template here

 

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Combining a robust leader standard work routine with setting and hitting targets can be a powerhouse that delivers results!  It's not just a shot in the dark!

 

If you have followed my posts, you'll know that I've been a strong proponent of leader standard work (LSW) for a long time, however, I was reminded recently of the power of combining standard work and the setting and hitting of targets.

 

Each month I reset my standard work for the new month.  It starts by reviewing the previous month and reflecting on what worked, didn't work and why, and identifying any new priorities.  Then the baseline is revised by making some adjustments, adding or deleting tasks, or changing the frequency of some tasks.  I also include certain non-work items within my LSW.  These are things that are for personal or professional development, important family responsibilities, or when I'm trying to create a new habit.

 

Although this is a personal example, it still shows the power of combining LSW and targets.  At the beginning of last month when I was doing my LSW review I found that I was not happy with my daily exercise results.  It had been very inconsistent.  Although I was running, the frequency was very intermittent and inconsistent.   There were always reasons why for each miss, but when seeing the results for the month, none of them mattered, the result was the result and it wasn't what I wanted.  So,  I decided I needed to do something about it!  First, I added a "Daily Exercise" task to my LSW, and second, I set a distance target for the month.

 

The month started off well.  I was exercising more regularly and I was well on my way to achieve my distance target.  It was working!  Then, by conscious choice, I missed about a week.  With about a week to go in the month, even if I got back to my routine, I wouldn't make my distance target.  At least, not doing what I had been doing before the break in the routine.  I couldn't make up for the days I didn't exercise, but I could do something different for the days remaining in the month.

 

I changed the time of day when I would exercise.  This helped overcome some of the challenges (a.k.a excuses) that were creating barriers to my daily exercise.  Then, I started running further than I had been before to make up some of the distance.  Some may consider running further than usual was somewhat cheating, and perhaps it was since the intent was not the distance per se, but rather to exercise regularly.  However, on more than one occasion in that final week of the month, I exercised when I probably wouldn't have.  I had a strong desire to hit and exceed my distance target, AND, I wanted to check off my LSW each day indicating that I had exercised.  It worked, I exceeded my distance target with a day to spare, but I ran the last day of the month anyway so that I would have exercised every single day for that last week.

 

Maybe a simple personal example, but combining LSW and targets is a powerful tool and is equally effective in a business environment.  The target will give you the motivation to keep working at it and to find ways to achieve it, while the LSW will give you the reminder and sometimes push to take the necessary steps, or to complete the appropriate tasks, necessary to achieve the target.

 

In summary, here's a few key points to consider:

 

  • Reflect on your LSW each month and reset it based on lessons learned and new priorities.
  • LSW can include personal and professional items.  It's yours, so make it work for you!
  • Set challenging targets, then look at how to combine with LSW to assist in achieving the targets.
  • Don't beat yourself up for missing some LSW items when looking back, but rather figure out why you missed them and implement mitigation actions to achieve them going forward.

 

See more of Glenn's posts, HERE

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I’ve never understood why so few leaders use Leader Standardized Work (LSW).  I’ve found it to be a great tool to help me be a more consistent and effective leader.  I’ve used LSW for years.  For me it’s my little voice reminding me of the most important things I need to do or that I want to do to be successful when leading.  Regardless of your responsibility, there is a certain component of it that is repeatable and therefore LSW is for, well, everyone!

 

Here’s some key points I found useful when it comes to LSW:

 

1.  Set-up LSW with a designated section for daily, weekly, monthly and Mid-long term (quarterly, semi-annual) based on frequency of completion of the task.

 

2.  Place tasks in the LSW that are important to YOU, that you must get done and also the ones that you want to ensure get done, checked, or confirmed because they are important to you or your business.

 

3.  Set your LSW up on a monthly basis, refreshing it at the beginning of each month.

 

4.  Have a method within the LSW to indicate which days you are on vacation and differently identified when you are out of the office on business.  This will help you plan more effectively when you complete tasks or provide you the opportunity to delegate if necessary.

 

5.  LSW should be dynamic, not static.  It’s ok to add and remove items from your LSW.  As priorities change, new systems develop, metrics improve or degrade, you may find that you need to make adjustments as to what you’re doing or what you’re checking and confirming.

 

6. LSW is for you, not anyone else.  It’s fine to show people your LSW, but I don’t advocate posting it.  It’s more effective if you carry it with you at all times to help you actually execute to it versus showing others.  As a leader, you should be checking your teams LSW periodically as well.

 

7.  If you’re not getting to something on your LSW, don’t beat yourself up, but rather find the root cause as to why you are not getting it done and determine what you need to do differently to achieve it.  After all, the items on your LSW were put there by you because you either need to get them done as a core responsibility of your job, or they are most important to you.  Use it to improve your self-discipline, motivate you, or to remind you to just do it!

 

8.  LSW must be an integral part of your personal planning system and routine.  It must be integrated with your schedule, your follow-up system, and your to-do lists.

9. Print out your LSW for the month, update it daily throughout the day as you complete tasks, and “pencil” in additional LSW tasks as you’re thinking of them throughout the month.

 

10. When you get really busy, that’s when you need your LSW the most.  Don’t abandon it then.  Use it to help you get the most important things done.  In a pinch when you just can’t do everything, use it to make an informed decision as to what will and will not get done.

 

I use an Excel spreadsheet for my LSW. To make things easier, I've added some conditional formatting for visibility of weekends, business travel, or when out on vacation. I prepare the LSW for the month, print it out, and then use it daily by marking tasks using a pen. LSW is an integral part of my daily, weekly, monthly planning system.

 

I hope you found this helpful. Are there any key points I've missed or in your experience you feel are most important?

 

See more of Glenn's posts HERE

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