Over the years, I’ve developed a series of daily, weekly, and monthly rituals designed to keep me focused and moving forward. Rather than allowing each day to dictate my priorities, these rituals provide a cadence of thoughtful progress.
In recent conversations with entreprenuers and business leaders, some of my weekly rituals have been of particular interest.
Before the momentum of a week, the following actions help things stay within my control.
Priorities are constantly evolving. Coincidentally, some meetings are scheduled weeks and months in advance. Before blindly attending, evaluate it’s relevance and have the courage to cancel if it’s no longer necessary. Not only does this free up precious time, but it also respects the time of other attendees as well.
A business meetings without written agendas should be prime candidates.
“Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.” – Jim Rohn
If you have a full schedule, doing a bit of restructuring can free up whitespace. For example, meetings across the city can be grouped to reduce travel time. Our office is on the west side of town, so I want to make the most of an eastbound trip.
It also helps to look another week out. Meetings late one week can often be pushed into the next, especially when it adds focus and attentiveness.
Nothing will waste more time than arriving at an appointment without your details in order. Even if just a few bullet points can help keep the conversation on track.
As I’ve become more intentional about adding value to others, I’ll look over their social profiles and see what they’ve been up to. This can frame a social interaction and illuminate where I can be more helpful.
“If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
If we are not careful, one week will easily bleed into the next. A post-week ritual can reduce the mental load heading into the weekend. Knowing you’ve closed a week well can be the catalyst for great rest and relaxation.
Before following up with people I met with throughout the week, I take time to reflect on who introduced me to the other people involved. Whether personal or professional, I’ll reach out to the person who made the introduction, express gratitude and when appropriate, share about the meeting I had as a result of their generosity.
This includes recent and age-old relationships. Even after catching up with an old friend, I’ll send a quick note to the person who introduced us long ago. In a recent interaction, the friendship was over 10 years old.
“How do you know if someone needs encouragement? If they are breathing.” -Truett Cathy
Once I’ve expressed gratitude, I’ll followup with the actual attendees from each meeting. Whether we exchanged a quick call or a monolithic meeting, I touch base. Obviously touching on any commitments made in the meeting and passing along any addition words.
When appropriate, I suggest next steps with clearly defined options so they don’t have too struggle through a similar response. Yes, by end of week some people have waited a 3-4 days for a followup. I’ve actually found this delay helpful to actually process our conversation. Also, it sets healthy and sustainable expectations for the future.
After the followup, I’ll push myself to make introductions on the attendees behalf. Rather than asking for something, I end the ritual with a deliberate attempt to add value.
If the meeting was with a code school student, I’ll intro them to fellow graduates in the community or potential employers.
If it’s a potential client, I’ll connect them to other professionals within their industry or people who they would like appreciate getting to know.
This habit creates a great sense of accountability during our time together. As they talk, I’m actively listen for ways to amplify their interests.
“If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar
If you haven’t noticed, each of these habits pertain to time. At the beginning of the week I set out to protect it. After the week is over, I want to make sure it was as valuable as possible. Time is our most valuable asset. Our behaviors should reflect that.