Map Your Battle Plan V: Course Correcting – The Waystations
This is part end of a five part series. To read the previous parts go here.
Part V? Why so much? Because no one got anywhere of value by accident. Seriously, how many industry giants, world-class artists and musicians, world leaders, none of them woke up one day and discovered, they somehow stumbled into being among the elite. They did so methodically, with a clear battle plan to get there, and keep it. The average person just stumbles through life giving little effort to achieve their dreams, if at all, and only they are surprised that it never happens. They wait an entire life for their ship to come in… but they never sent one out.
Military activities can be grouped into three broad categories: Strategic, Tactical, and Operational/Maintenance. The third is usually interwoven into the first two, and it’s no different here. Consider a mission to bomb an enemy target. The strategic group will gather the needed info, layout and plan the strike, and give operational support during strike. The tactical group goes out and carries out the mission. They will have their own planning, but it’s a different type. Before the mission, both groups will need a stiff cup of coffee prepared by the Operations.
The first part of this system is more tactical. It’s in the trenches of the goal process, making it happen. This part is more strategic, finding the way and what will be needed. Here, we plan to dominate.
Quarterly Planning and Domination (1-3 hours)
Every three months set aside some time, approximately 1-3 hours for a large-scale review and planning. The first thing you do is quickly review the last three months. How did you do? Succeeding daily, doing fine weekly, but falling apart on the monthly planning? Outcomes like this won’t stop you from succeeding, but if you’re finding that the monthly planning is not working well it means you’re spending more time on the weekly and daily review to fix everything so you can execute the next day. This is the time to see broader patterns and adjust for them
Next up, review your goals. How are you doing on them? What still needs to be done (and rough out a schedule for it). And, just as importantly, is this still a goal worth perusing? For example, if you have a goal to finally finish the back yard landscaping (since your spouse has been on you about it for a year now) and you just finalized your divorce, is it really a goal you need to be committing your limited time to right now? Probably not. Expect to be completing a goal in the next quarter? This is the time to prep the next one.
Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to plan. What do you want to accomplish in the next three months? Does that fit with your current goals? Is there a goal that needs to get moved into reserve for now so another one can step up? Sit down with your list of goals, are there any that no longer matter anymore (saving to replace your spouse’s car probably isn’t needed now with that divorce)? This is when you prep upcoming goals, and plot the course of your life for the next three months. Yes, you are very likely to be way off course on the longer view, especially as you near that third month, but that’s fine. That’s why we have the monthly and weekly reviews, to course correct as we go.
When you do your planning, overlap this session with the next. So, say you started this entire process on January 1, our quarterly planning and domination times would be in March, June, September, and December. While planning in March it would be understandable to plan for April, May, and June. But, if your next quarterly planning is at the end of June, you’re rushing into a new session right away with no breathing room. You may find that the first few times you do this you come back to redo it as you realize you forgot things, or just came up with a better plan while in the shower. Don’t laugh, it happens. But now you’re on the clock, its 11 pm and the next quarter starts tomorrow! And you have to be up at 5:30 in the morning. Instead, either shift the quarter a month (plan in March for May, June & July instead), or hold the quarterly plan session at the beginning of March to give you some padding time to return and make adjustments if needed while you’re still cruising on last quarter’s plan. This will mean that for your first quarter planning you have less info to work with, as you haven’t been through March yet. As you settle into the process, you can move this to later in the month, but even I don’t wait until the end.
Semiannual Domination Planning (half a day)
Yes, half a day. Take the time. I take a whole day, add in some relaxation and do some more in-depth planning. The first part of this is what you expect. Run through a review of the last 6 months. You should have two quarterly sessions to reflect on, as well as six monthly reviews. See if there are any patterns that need to be compensated for. Prep any goals that may be started in the next six months (should be a few). You don’t need to do a huge amount of preparation here, you will have quarterly sessions to refine, and monthly reviews to really get into it. This is also a great time to plan out any upcoming family or personal vacations (holidays for all you outside the US).
Now, surely you must think, that won’t take half a day. If you do it right, yeah, probably will. The first few times you do it you’ll probably wind up taking much longer. May be best to book an entire day. Roughing out a 6 month schedule not only takes a fair amount of time and attention, but a lot of flipping through papers, apps, and not a small amount of hair pulling. If you blew through this one in an hour, you’ll be paying for it later with longer reviews and lots of extra course adjusting.
This is also the time to re-evaluate your goals. After half a year on this path you may discover that some goals no longer matter that much to you, and others you hadn’t even considered are now high on the list. So, take some time to re-evaluate your goals, but don’t move things around just because you think you should. It may well be that you look at the list that you’ve been micro adjusting for six months now, and feel it’s still pretty on the mark.
Annual Domination (1 day – 2 weeks)
First we need to be sure you are not replacing a monthly or semiannual session for another one. When it comes time to do your monthly review, you still do your daily and weekly reviews. Similarly you do not skip a monthly review for a quarterly review, semiannual planning does not take the place of a quarterly plan, and the annual domination does not supersede a semiannual planning. By the time you reach this point you should have 50+ weekly reviews, 12 monthly reviews, 4 quarterly reviews, and 2 semiannual planning and dominations to work with.
This is the time to set aside for yourself to come to clarity on who and what you are, and who and what you want to be. Here’s where we really get into the grand scheme of things, making the major course corrections to dominating your life. Yes, the first part of this is to review all the shorter term sessions that came before it. Since you should have done a semi-annual planning and domination recently, this should actually go pretty quickly. You’re primarily verifying that your previous conclusions are still on point. It may happen, however, since your last review that you’ve decided that maybe you’re not on course anymore, or more importantly, that the course you set isn’t really the one you want to be on. Now is the time to do major revisions and change paths.
Once that is done, it’s time to get into the big picture and the real work for this session. A year ago you had an idea of where you wanted to be right now. How accurate is that vision now? Before you may have had being a world class ballerina low on your list, is it now time to bump that up to #2? How many things you thought you wanted to accomplish, things you wanted to do and be, how many of them are no longer important to you? Ultimately, I’m asking you to evaluate yourself and see just how much your own mindset has changed. How much have you changed? This is of higher importance than you might realize right now, but you have to know where you are to know where you’re going. And this kind of introspection takes time.
Feel you have a grasp on it? Good. Now, moving forward, lay out just how you plan to change yourself even further in the coming year. You may find your previous goal list is still viable, or you may find it’s better to ditch it and start all over. Whichever you find yourself in, either is fine. Once your list is set, go through the process as you did at the beginning and define your goals, select the ones to be acted upon, break them down to actionable items, and put them into the queue to be rolled out.
Now, you’ve strategized, you’ve planned, and you have mapped out your course to life domination. But, you’ve still got time left in your day. What do you do with the rest of this time? You chill. Sit back and let your mind and body relax and unwind. You’ve run a yearlong marathon, you’ve earned some time to yourself with no goal, no agenda, nothing but you being you. Resist the urge to watch TV or mindlessly wonder the internet. And resist the urge to fill the time with work. Simply be.
To do this adequately takes at least a day, with a fair amount of introspection before hand. For me, I take two whole weeks off and do the Reset Retreat. Whichever you choose, make the best of it.
Now, go forth and Dominate!