My 5/5/5 Method for Productivity and Focus

Near the end of last year, I had a realization. Early in the year I had set out goals and mapped out the strategies I would take to meet those goals. Then, near the end of the year, I stopped and looked around, realizing that I wasn’t implementing those strategies any longer. Somewhere along the way, my work got less strategic. Somewhere along the way, I started working on the urgent things over the important ones. I had lost focus.

Have you ever done that? You make a great plan and then as time goes on the details of that plan fade as you forget to review them. One day you look around and realize, “this wasn’t the plan” and wonder what happened. When I realized I was doing this last year I knew I needed a method to keep myself on track. I needed a way to make sure that my daily and weekly priorities were in perfect alignment with my monthly and yearly ones. So, I came up with the 5/5/5 method for productivity and focus.

Here’s how it works, I ask myself these questions:

  • At the start of each year, I asked, “what are the five things I must do this year to move the ball forward?”
  • At the start of each month, I ask, “what are the five things I must do this month to move the ball forward?”
  • At the start of each week, I ask, “what are the five things I must do this week to move the ball forward?”

Each time I’m creating my monthly 5-things list, I always refer back to my list from the beginning of the year to know that those are in alignment. And, every time I make my weekly list I refer back to the list for that month as well. That way, I know that everything I’m executing on each week is a strategic part of the larger plan I have for that year.

I have also started asking my teams to use this method and track their goals in a simple spreadsheet with tabs for the year, month and week. That way we can all see what everyone is focused on, we can challenge one another on tasks and goals that might not be in line with the overall organizational mission, and we can hold one another accountable if things aren’t getting done.