This was a motivational and practical book with a focus on execution. It was full of great insights and inspiring quotes.
This book was a 208 page physical book or a 5 1/3 hour audiobook.
This book takes the traditional implementation of the yearly goal structure, with quarters and long term goal-setting, and condenses it into a 12 week period. It also includes execution supporting concepts and tactics and makes claims that the book will:
- inspire you to action and execution
- increase your results 4x
- help you to perform at your best
Lots of good quotes throughout too and I ended up posting some on my wall.
I like to see a book that has concept reinforcing anecdotes and this book was one of those. Anecdotes being stories that show someone being productive or overcoming something using the teachings in the book.
Essentially the 12 week year system is a structured plan with an underlying big picture goal- and he shows you how to come up with your big goal if you don’t have one- but I mean- you know how.
The general explanation of the 12 week year is sort of a Russian Matryoshka or nesting doll. You know the doll within a doll within a doll. Anyway it starts with:
Large Goal > Aligned 12 week goals > plan and tactics / system > execution/day to day
And apart from all the elements and tactics of the plan, there was a part on commitment that really describes the magnitude of what a commitment really is and that really resonated with me and I wrote the word commitment on one of my wall stickies.
Part 2 of the book is the meat of it all and he goes into the application, templates and tactics of the plan.
There are 8 elements to the 12 week plan. The elements are:
- Processing Control
- Time Use
- Greatness in the Moment
They have a website for further support and I’ve got a link to it below.
3 Things I Learned/Implemented
I have my own productivity system so I read this book really to just pick out the parts I liked best to apply them in my own system. And that’s just what I did, starting with:
They have a great chapter, which I think is influenced by their previous book I’m sure, called, Periodization, where they go over sports periodization. This is a concept that P90X first popularized and is about switching your workout around often enough to keep your body interested and keep it from burning out.
They use these same principles by taking your Big goal and breaking it up into 12 smaller step goals, and distributing those goals week to week. So each week should be a new goal for you to work on but they all relate and build towards your ultimate goal.
The breaking down of the big goal into the smaller goals is a great way to create urgency, perspective and a sense of time all to help motivate yourself to execute.
Time blocking Strategy
Their particular way of time blocking includes:
3 hour strategic block – plan, review or work towards goal
30 min buffer block – check email, do todos or clean/organize
3 hour breakout block – Go get distracted; hang out with friends/kids or play a video game
I already had specifically scheduled periods of the day like focus time, I call it, and break times, but this book helped my hone those times a little better in my own system.
My daily schedule starts with a 1 hour routine period, then a 3 hour focus time, a 2 hour break time, another 2 hour focus time and then a 1 hour break time before I go to work at 5. But I have always left out the buffer blocks he suggests and I would overwhelm myself with dishes and laundry and todos on just one day on the weekend, and really, I’d end up watching TV and letting the dishes and laundry pile up.
I took the buffer block idea from this chapter and added a small 30 minute buffer into my schedule during my break time and I actually chop away at the little things enough for them to not overwhelm me on the weekends.
This chapter is about feedback and how to use it.
They use lead indicators and lag indicators to help to refine your plan and they describe it as “painting an honest picture of your performance.”
We don’t really need to get into the specifics of lead indicators or lag indicators. Essentially you want measure the percentage of your weekly goals that you accomplish and score yourself based on that number. They say that there is a magic percentage. That magic percentage number is 85%.
If you can accomplish at least 85%, then they say you will ultimately be successful with your big goal.
You also keep track of when you mess up and why. Like:
Say you were scheduled to comb your dog’s hair as a tactic that supported your ultimate goal of your dog winning the dog show. But you ate a pizza for breakfast and by the time your strategic block came around you were too groggy and tired to comb your dog’s hair. This is a time when you would notice your lack of initiative and think back to try to understand why. Then note that eating pizza for breakfast may have had something to do with it. So then take note of it and keep track of it.
You can also present your feedback in your mastermind group, which he calls a WAM. But you present it so you can remind yourself of your feedback and be held accountable by your peers.
I have used this too to determine that I have much more productive days when I get at least seven hours of sleep and I have much more distracted and procrastinate-y days when I get five or less hours of sleep.
If you don’t already have a productivity system or you are unhappy with your current system, then this, I think, would be a great system to implement.
I really believe that if you implement his 12 week year plan- you will very likely get the results you are looking for.
Ultimately I think that anyone will get something out of this book so I recommend it at a 5/5 rating.
Their website is:
Want to read it yourself?
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I’ve also got a link to the audible book itself right here:
More into physical books? I’m affiliated with Amazon and have a link to the physical book right below.