Productivity strategy to help prioritize and strategize

It is vitally, very straightforward to get misplaced within the day-to-day. There’s all the time some hearth to put out, or some recurring activity that wants doing, which makes it onerous to concentrate on big-picture stuff.

That is what a Quarterly Suppose Day is all about. The thought is to take time and house to mirror, be taught, and prioritize for the subsequent three to six months. I discovered about this idea from Jessie Hyperlink, VP of Engineering at Twitter, at a LeadDev Together convention session on private improvement.

I made a decision to attempt it out. I discovered it a great way to prioritize, suppose strategically, and re-energize. I’m going to speak about what I discovered, however first, let’s speak about how to plan your individual Quarterly Suppose Day.


What to do on a Quarterly Suppose Day

The title form of explains it: as soon as 1 / 4, you’re taking a complete day to suppose. What about? This time is for asking your self some important questions.

  • What’s vital to me?
  • What are all of the issues I want to get carried out?
  • The place do I would like to be six months from now?
  • What should I do?
  • What ought to I do?
  • What can I delegate?
  • What do I would like to do?

Don’t do something aside from take into consideration these questions, and be sure to try this utterly offline. Sure: computer systems are good. You’ll have loads of time to use them later. Right now is about pondering, and computer systems generally tend to distract you from that.

So use Publish-its, Sharpies, and index playing cards. Draw in your window, if it helps. Simply take the time to be alone together with your ideas.

Just a few steps for planning forward

You in all probability can’t simply disappear from work with none planning, and you want to be sure that this present day is productive. Right here are some things you must do earlier than your Quarterly Suppose Day in order that all the pieces goes easily.

Block out the entire day. Announce to your group that you’ll be offline, and be sure to don’t have any conferences scheduled (at the very least, not conferences that aren’t associated to your quarterly suppose day).

Set a schedule. You don’t need to stare at a clean sheet all day, so be sure to know which questions you’ll be fascinated by when.


Have clear targets. Be clear with your self on what you need to accomplish by the top of the day.

Schedule in breaks. Occupied with large questions is intense, so plan on having some downtime. Take a stroll, perhaps, or go get some espresso. Simply attempt to keep offline in order that your thoughts can maintain wandering.

Doc what you give you. This manner, you may revisit your ideas in six months and overview how a lot you really adopted by way of.

Sure, this implies you’ll be spending time on prep as well as to spending a complete day on the pondering. Imagine me: it’s value it.

My first Quarterly Suppose Day

As a knowledge engineering supervisor, my days are devoured up by one-on-ones with 9 direct studies, conferences with stakeholders, and planning conferences. That doesn’t depart a lot time for deep pondering. I discover the Quarterly Suppose day a method to battle the “busy supervisor” this HBR article warns us in opposition to.

And I can unambiguously name my first Suppose Day a hit. I discovered time to re-energize and formulate a plan for the subsequent a number of months. Let’s speak a bit about what labored and what didn’t, so you may be taught from my expertise.

What went effectively?

Just a few issues actually, actually labored out for me. I used to be principally offline for your entire day—all the pieces was performed on paper, sticky notes specifically. This alone is a hit. I took a number of breaks for walks and exercises, which helped me recharge and get again to pondering with a contemporary thoughts, however for essentially the most half, it was simply my thoughts and a bunch of paper.

I centered on the BICEPS framework, which is all about finding balance between six core wants: belonging, enchancment/progress, alternative, equality/equity, predictability, and significance.

I noticed I would like to make enhancements within the equality/equity and enchancment/progress areas, so I’m going to work on that going ahead. I additionally realized that I really feel actually strongly about belonging at Zapier, which is my basis to stretch, take dangers, and do nice issues. It will reframe my work in every kind of the way, so I’m glad I took the time.

I not too long ago wrote a self-assessment of my engineering supervisor/management talents, so I additionally used this time to mirror on that.

Lastly, I scheduled a gathering with my enterprise coach. I like to recommend you do the identical in case you have a coach as a result of it’s onerous to consider a greater time to speak about your long-term targets.


What may have been higher?

It wasn’t good—I’ll do issues otherwise subsequent time. For instance, I ought to have deliberate out my agenda every week forward of time. I left this till a few days beforehand, and that meant I didn’t get into my Suppose Day within the correct headspace.

I additionally want to be extra sensible about my very own writing capabilities. I had grand plans when it comes to writing output, however I didn’t get very far. My writing course of takes a very long time. I made progress however undoubtedly do not need a completed piece of labor. I ought to plan round that for subsequent time as a result of unrealistic expectations aren’t useful.

General, a hit

So, what did I find yourself fascinated by? Listed here are my solutions to each query outlined above.

As you may see, I did plenty of pondering. I discovered loads. I totally intend to do one among these each three months any more and to use this to replace my private progress plan. If this sounds helpful to you, I like to recommend you attempt it out.

This article initially appeared on Zapier’s blog and is reprinted with permission.