Reading: The 12 Week Year

_The 12 Week Year_ was an interesting book for me to read because the authors used to be clients when I worked as part of BrilliantFantastic. Having now read the book, I feel like I would have been able to do so much more for Brian and Mike (and our other clients) had I read the book then. The 12 Week Year is all about execution. Execution isn’t necessarily fun to think about, but it keeps you honest about what you are actually accomplishing.

Is this Recommended Reading?

If you have goals then yes, and it’s a pretty small, quick read.

I have pretty high hopes and dreams. I also have a lot of ambitions and plans that have fallen flat on their faces because I didn’t execute on the things I should have. The 12 Week Year gives you a pretty simple framework for determining what to work on and tracking the work you’ve done so that you can determine if you had a bad idea or if you simply aren’t doing anything. Prepare for a humbling experience.

The Gist of It

At its core I think there are two main concepts in _The 12 Week Year_:

  1. Deadlines are good, and thinking outside of the 12-month calendar lets you have more of those. Specifically, thinking in 12-week sections (ie a “12 week year”).
  2. Ideas are great, but if you really want to achieve things you need to go out and take the steps that matter. You must also own those actions, both successful or failures.

Brian and Mike go on to explain how the mind’s perception of time/immediacy changes how we work, and how our emotions change when we’re working on something that gets us out of our comfort zone. Knowing how your mind works gives you the power to change it’s course or expect the next emotion/feeling based on what’s just happened, and that’s powerful for

Some of the content of the book feels like common sense after you read it, but it’s not the way we tend to think on a day to day basis.

There are quite a few good nuggets in here about prioritizing your work based on how the tasks line up with your goals and cutting out the extras if they aren’t helping you make real progress.

My Takeaways

I had quite a few big takeaways from this book that I’ve been putting into practice every day since I read it. I love the idea of tracking my execution on a day to day, week to week basis. Keeping the stats on how well I’m doing the things that I believe will get me to my goal shows me if I’m not putting in the effort necessary and is also helping me bring myself back into focus if I find myself distracted and working on something tangential to my goals.

Besides just tracking stats, Brian and Mike have laid out a great framework for creating S.M.A.R.T goals that make it easy to dig down into what your current focus should be. I’ve had a hard time in the past whittling my goals down into something that gets me out of my comfort zone, yet it actually measurable and possible, but The 12 Week Year is helping me to structure my goals in a way that makes sense.