Are you looking to supercharge your productivity and achieve your big hairy audacious goals more quickly? If so, then the 12 Week Year system outlined in the book “The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months” by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington could be a game-changer for you.
Why Annual Goal-Setting Doesn’t Work
Most people and businesses set 12-month goals and plans. You likely do this too, making New Year’s resolutions every January 1st and striving towards those goals over the next year.
The problem is annual goal-setting simply doesn’t work that well. Here’s why:
- No urgency. With 52 weeks ahead of you, it’s tempting to procrastinate. You tell yourself “I still have plenty of time.”
- Built on assumptions. How can you predict what actions you’ll need to take over an entire year? Your plans end up being theoretical.
- Infrequent feedback. You only find out if you succeeded or failed at the very end of the year. No chance to course correct.
Introducing the 12 Week Year
The 12 Week Year system is a better, more effective alternative centered around the following ideas:
Quarters Replace Years
Instead of an entire year, your timeframe is 12 weeks. Each week now represents an entire month. This brings a huge sense of urgency, making every day and week vital.
Results Every Quarter
Rather than waiting until the year ends to see if you succeeded, you evaluate and reset every 12 weeks. You get frequent opportunities to course correct.
With only a 12 week timeframe, you can make detailed, accurate plans rather than vague long-term plans built on assumptions.
The constant deadlines and frequent celebrations after each 12 week sprint provides ongoing motivation boosts.
The 12 Week Year Formula in 4 Steps
If you want to implement the 12 Week Year system for your own goals, follow these four key steps:
1. Create a Vision
Envision your perfect year. Forget constraints and practicalities for now. What does success look and feel like at the end of the year? Paint a vivid, inspiring picture.
2. Plan Your Execution
Break your vision down into 12 week plans, with clear goals, tasks and mini-deadlines for each week. Ask “Who can help with this?” rather than getting stuck in the trap of “How can I do this?”
3. Control the Process
Review and measure your progress each week. Were all tasks completed? If not, adjust your plans. Focus on keeping your execution on track above all else.
4. Measure Progress
Track both leading and lagging measures. Leading measures (your completion of planned tasks) are more predictive of eventual success than lagging measures (results).
10 Tips for Making Your 12 Week Year a Success
Want some additional pointers to help implement the 12 Week Year system effectively? Here are 10 tips:
- Block time for strategic work to minimize distractions and refocusing time.
- Intentionally imbalance your schedule, directing energy where needed most.
- Limit yourself to only 1-3 key goals per 12 week sprint.
- Build consistent daily and weekly routines to support execution.
- Map out a “model week” to validate if your plan is realistic.
- Play to your natural strengths rather than improving weaknesses.
- Say “no” more often to additional commitments.
- Avoid multitasking; focus intensely on one task at a time.
- Accept that some less critical tasks will be left undone.
- And don’t forget adequate sleep to support high performance!
If you struggle with procrastination and want to achieve more in less time, the 12 Week Year system could be a game-changer for your productivity and goal achievement. Give it a try for your next big goal! The increased urgency and accountability will unleash your potential.