Ok, that headline was weird! But it kind of makes sense. At least to me.
First off I have not read the book! So my understanding of it may be way off. I have learned a lot from blog posts from people having read it. And most of them say the same things:
- The advice in the book is excellent.
- A lot of the content in the book is really just trying to sell their workshops
So I decided that the posts I read that sums up the advice, but leaves out the sales-content is good enough for me.
What is a 12 week year
The core idea is that with proper planning and the right focus you can achieve more in 12 weeks than most people do in a year. And since you can have 4 times 12 weeks in a year, you should expect to do more in a year than most people do in four.
By doing a 12-week plan instead of a year - or even a multi-year - plan you are automatically going to plan in executable steps - instead of in lofty ideas. Lofty ideas are now visions - your plan consists only of executable steps.
E.g., instead of having a 12-week goal of losing 10 pounds. You have a vision of losing 10 pounds. The executable could then be:
- No sugar 6 days a week
- Follow a diet 4 days a week
- Fasting two days a week
- Exercise 3 times a week
Place those so that the exact days are mapped out in your plan. Then to succeed with your plan you just have to win the week 12 times in a row. To win the week, you just have to win the day for 7 days in a row. And to win the day, you just have to do all that is planned that day.
The executable tasks should, of course, be created such that if you follow the plan every day, every week throughout the twelve weeks - you will achieve your vision.
How to do this right
There are a couple of things you need to consider to do this planning right:
- Your vision should be compelling
- It should be attainable
- You can not depend on luck, but you should expect to be unlucky either
- BUT; it needs to be ambitious
This should be self-evident.
Your vision should be compelling. If you are doing this alone, i.e., not with a team, you need to be sure that it is your vision, and not someone else's. You need to do this for you. Otherwise, you will not stick to your plan - and you will not succeed.
Your vision should be attainable. So those goals from before. Don't make them too lofty. If you from day one know that it will be a longshot - you will not follow through.
You cannot depend on luck. The steps in your plan should lead to the outcome. But you cannot have a vision of getting ten new customers in your consulting business unless you know from experience that the steps in your plan will guarantee that you get these customers. That is just trying to be lucky - and blaming it on the process if it fails. Your method should be foolproof.
On the other hand, you should expect to be unlucky either. Too many people plan with the expectation to get ill, have a car break down, or something else that is entirely unlucky. And then they will play a lesser game, having a worse goal, and less execution. And even if they are not unlucky - their results as bad as if they were.
If you have bad results because you are unlucky - well then that is just bad luck.
If you have bad results because your plan for being unlucky - you are cheating yourself.
Finally, you need to be ambitious. Doing more in twelve weeks than other people do in a year - that should in and of itself be ambitious. And that ambition is what should drive you when you are behind your plan mid-week. That ambition is what makes sure that even though you may fail your week - your results are still better than the average person.
What I did my first week
Currently, I am working with three personal visions, and three work visions.
The personal ones are
- Health; Loose 10 pounds
- Family; Spend more quality time with family
- Writing; Write a blog post a week, and record a music demo per week
The work ones are (caveat I will not go into too much detail here)
- Scalability - make our platform simpler to scale
- Features - post each week about our features, finish an end user feature each week
- Warnings and tests - remove all warnings and deprecations from compilations, and get test coverage above 70%
How I failed
The personal plan was ambitious. However, I think I failed all my private health actions this past week - except a fasting goal, which was only reached because I was so busy at work one day. I failed miserably in eating healthily - and did no exercise at all. The only excuse I have is that I was ill all weekend - however I failed the week long before that.
I did not write anything published - but I succeeded in writing in my diary almost every day. And that writing is in part what this post consists of - so I'll call that a partial win. I wrote no new music though - as that was planned for the weekend.
At work, I failed to set a feature live that I had planned. However, it was replaced with a lot of work that should have been done this week and next week.
How I succeeded
I managed to get a lot of work features done. And I have now written three blog posts for our company website.
I managed to get almost all warnings in our rendering engine compilation removed. I removed a big chunk of code, and have done a lot of work in how we build and deploy that engine, to enable even better autoscaling in the future.
I would say that I am ahead of the work-related plan, and the only reason there is anything failed is that I became too ambitious and took on too much of my future plan last week, and thus was unable to execute on everything that was planned last week. On an importance scale, the stuff that was done was way more important than the thing that was pushed back though.
At home, I really tried to focus on saying "YES!" to the kids when they asked if they could help with dinner. This is one of the places where I usually say no since it is simpler for me.
However, if I keep saying no, they will never get better... So I decided to say yes every time - and mostly succeeded in this. Which actually resulted in both of them helping me the other day. It may have been a bit chaotic - but I think all three of us had a great afternoon.
Runa - my 6-year-old daughter - and I had planned to bake on Saturday. And even though I was ill, and was down for the count, I managed to keep my promise. So the only thing I did apart from sleeping and feeling sorry for myself was that one thing. And she loved it. I am sure that had I been a bit more energetic it would have been even more fun. Next time!
The coming week my son is going to the hospital. So he and I will have some one-on-one time there. Hopefully, I will be able to keep him calm and make sure he has a passable time there. He is a tough kid - but I can already sense his beginning fear.
I need to make a better plan for HOW to execute the "eat healthily for 4 days". That is not a real plan. (Well that is the plan for now).
At work, the plan may need to be revised. But mostly because much of this week's work was done last week.****