Planning On Autopilot Increased My Productivity Exponentially

Last time, in I’m Getting What I Want… And It’s Incredibly Easy, I talked about the 13×4, which is a personal effectiveness process originally invented by Ben Franklin back in 1728.  I’ve been using my own customized version of the 13×4 system since the first week of 2012.  And as I move into my 2nd cycle for this year, I’ve decided to share my personal observations and report the remarkable results I’ve been having so far.

Like I mentioned last time, I’ll be illustrating each focus area using the FAST™ Method, which stands for…

Your choice of


that betrays your


illustrated by your chosen


handled moment to moment by the appropriate


Focus Area #1
The first of 13 focus areas that I picked to concentrate on for one week at a time this year is Planning.  Since this is also the center focus of my 13×4 Wheel™, it’s the undercurrent theme for my whole personal effectiveness system in 2012.

By the way, as you can see, I’ll be revealing my personal 13×4 Wheel™ one focus area at a time over the coming days and weeks, but if you’d like to see it all at once, click HERE.


A-ttitude:  What is my approach to this focus area – what do I/we want it to be?

I am eager to move my career transition forward.  I’ve been on a path of transition for the past 5 years.  Prior to that I was sorting out what I wanted that transition to be.  My daughter is now in college, and I can move out of cruise mode and into hyper-planning mode in order to manifest my vision.  I want to increase my planning activities and productivity toward achieving my vision by making this the center focus or gateway focus.

S-tory:  What is a story that illustrates the power of having this focus in my life?

I have a tradition of setting aside a day to plan for the next year during the holiday season.  That’s usually where I would stop my visioning process until the Q2 of the new year. 

However, planning has now become an ongoing process ever since I activated my 2012 13×4 system during the first week of the year.  Throughout that first week of the Planning focus, I fine-tuned my 2012 goals and thought about what other 12 focus areas I wanted to put into my system.  On the last day of the week of Planning I cast my wheel for the next 12 weeks.  I chose the order to place them on the calendar.  Then I decided what tool I would use for each focus and set them all up on my calendar with reminders.  Doing this enabled me to put my next 12 weeks on autopilot.  I also decided that I would use my Planning week of the next cycle to recast the wheel and place all the reminder tools on my calendar again. 

This week is number 13 – the final week of my first 13×4 cycle for 2012.  As I reflect, I realize that I have been planning like crazy even though it’s not on the forefront of my mind as I shuffle through the other focus areas one at a time.  

Here’s a sampling of the planning activities I’ve been doing without even consciously realizing just how much more productive toward manifesting my vision during Q1 of 2012 than I have been in any other Q1 in previous years.

  • Created a plan for finishing and then successfully published my 2nd book (it comes out later this week).
  • Planned and got approval to lead an ad-hoc committee for the HR professional association where I serve on the board, and then I recruited volunteers.
  • Met with my strategy coach who helped me to set timelines for projects throughout 2012.
  • Wrote plans for BPOs (Best Possible Outcome) for several challenging situations… and achieved a better than BPO on each.
  • Created a marketing plan to promote several events and recruited someone to help me plan and execute the events and the marketing plan.
  • Created a timeline and determined subject matter for next two books I want to write.
  • And, here’s a biggie for me… I regularly stuck to my bookkeeping schedule and have even been ahead of schedule for the first time in about 5 years.

Again, this is only a sampling.  I’ve been even more productive than this list shows!

T-ool:  What is a tool I/we can use to maintain this focus area?

All of my focus areas are buoyed by Planning or have this as an undercurrent theme since it’s the center focus – the gateway focus.  However, the tool that I used for the week of Planning was actually planning.  I preset blocks of time on my calendar for each day of the week – Sunday through Saturday – to focus on and perform planning activities.

Next up is week 2 – focus area #2…  


Angela Loëb helps people rediscover and use their gifts so they bring who they are to what they do in life. 

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