Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection


This is the heart of my results system.  It’s a pattern I call Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection.

It’s probably the single most important thing I teach everyone I mentor. 

It’s the same approach I use to lead myself and my teams.  It’s a way to help set yourself up for success each day.  It’s also a way to keep learning and growing.  It’s simple, but it’s powerful.  In fact, it’s power is its simplicity.

The way it works is, on Mondays, you figure out the 3 outcomes you want for the week.  Each day you identify 3 outcomes you want to accomplish.  On Friday, you reflect on 3 things going well and 3 things to improve.  It’s that simple.  Here’s the rhythm of results in more detail …

Monday Vision

Each week is a fresh start.  On Mondays, I identify 3 outcomes (or results) I want for the week.  To do this:

  • I remind myself what I learned from last Friday’s reflections.
  • I scan my Hot Spots (my hot spots include my work projects, personal projects, and my life frame (mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun).
  • I scan my calendar for any key events for the week.
  • I scan my inbox for new information and action items.

As I scan, I use four guiding questions:

  • What must be done? … what should be done? … what could be done?
  • What value am I delivering? (I measure in value delivered vs. activity performed)
  • How am I improving myself in key areas: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun?
  • What are the key things that if I don’t get done … I’m screwed?  (By using the principle of contrast, I paint a picture of where I don’t want to be.)

The most important question I ask myself is, "if this were Friday, what 3 things would I want under my belt?"  I know I’m done when I have a good mental picture of the week’s 3 most important outcomes (notice outcomes vs. activity), I know my big risks for the week, and I know my MUSTs vs. SHOULDs vs. COULDs.

Daily Outcomes

Each day is a fresh start.  I think of 3 outcomes for the day.  I may have a bunch of activities and tasks, but I think of the 3 most important results I want for the day.  By figuring out 3 outcomes for the day, I can easily prioritize all of my action items.  The 3 outcomes are also my tests for success.  It’s how I set myself up for a great day.  It’s also how I pick myself back up if I fall off the horse.  Imagine each day figuring out the 3 best things you can do, and actually working on them.  It’s simple and effective.

Friday Reflection

This is the day where I do my reflection.  To do this, I ask two questions:

  • What are 3 things going well?
  • What are 3 things to improve?

As input to this exercise, I first scan my Daily Outcomes for the past week.  (This is fast for me because I have a simple tickler list for each day) .  I also do a quick mental scan of my accomplishments.

It’s a Simple Pattern for Results

Well, that’s the heart of the approach.  What I like most about this approach is that it’s low-overhead and it works.  I’ve done away with over-engineered approaches, where you die the death of a 1000 paper cuts in administration.  I also like this approach because it’s systematic, yet holistic and flexible.  Basically, it’s designed for getting real results, in real life.

I’m currently writing more about my results system in a book.  I’ll elaborate more on the principles behind it as well as the supporting mindsets, patterns, and practices that help.  My goal is to share the best of the best practices that I’ve found so everybody can get exponential results in their life.  Having a results system you can count on is one of your most important assets in life.  Everybody deserves a chance to kick some arse and take some names.

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11 Comments on "Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection"

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  1. Alik Levin | says:

    Taking with me “if this were Friday, what 3 things would I want under my belt?”. I like this simple principle of “thinking backward”. I also love a lot that you do not have separation between personal and work – it all gets into the game. I often fall into the trap of such separation. The result is usually a misery and unaccomplished in either areas…
    Good simple yet practical stuff!

  2. I found some great advice in this post and I’m definitely going to put it to good use. As Alik also noted, I like the idea of thinking on Monday about what I would like to have done if it were Friday. Putting goals in this context makes them crystal clear. Thanks for the advice!

  3. Louisa says:

    It’s good to start out your week with some set goal so that you have something to measure your progress against.

  4. How great is this plan???

    This coming Monday I’ll begin it.

    Thanks. And I like the word “outcome” as opposed to other choices that currently elude me – and just as well.

  5. Great post, great strategy. I like the idea of reviewing goals and accomplishments on a weekly basis. I do something similar, but at the monthly level.

  6. Daphne says:

    I like the simplicity of this system. As I read the post I started to work out a format (a la 7 Habits week view pages) I could use every week. Have you thought about designing, copyrighting and selling some Filofax type refills based on this system? Seems to be that there’s a market, at least for the people you mentor and readers of this blog!

  7. J.D. Meier says:

    @ Alik

    It’s good to set boundaries to invest across your hot spots (mind, body, emotions … etc.) and it’s good to have some time boundaries around work and life, but I find it’s important to live your values at work, and to be “integrated” and have a big picture game plan that combines work and life.

    @ Positively Present

    I can honestly say it’s my guiding light every week. I hope it serves you well.

    @ Louisa

    I think feedback is the key. It’s a chance to be mindful of your results. I find the little tests for success really set me up each day and each week. If you can have a good day, you can have a good week. If you can have good weeks, you can have a good month and year. It snowballs your success.

    @ Jannie

    Outcomes make the world go round. It cuts right to the chase and either it’s compelling or not. If the outcome isn’t compelling, then I won’t spend my time. If it’s compelling, then I’m fully engaged and I enjoy the ride.

    @ Melissa

    Thank you. I think I adopted it for Fridays because I lwanted to make sure that Friday was a day to slow down and reflect on things. On Monday, I’m kicking things up. On Friday, I like to wind down and savor the day.

    @ Daphne

    Thank you. I’m working through some templates. I underestimated how important they are. Just this past week I’ve helped more than a handful of people get squared on how to structure their information to make it more scannable. I realize now that I should give people more baselines so they can tailor from there.

  8. Gennaro says:

    An interesting approach to setting up the week. Breaking things down into smaller steps often makes it easier to accomplish each goal. I wonder: do you always focus on three or does the situation warrant two or four at times?

  9. JD says:

    @ Gennaro

    Good question. I focus on 3 as a practice. It keeps it simple. If I finish the 3 outcomes on my plate, I can grab more.

    I really think of it as 3 tests for success each day where I get to define my success. It’s a way to be mindful while keeping it simple.