I’d like to introduce you to a concept called pre-commitment, which will make an enormous difference to your ability to get the things done in your business that will have the greatest positive impact.
Last week, whilst driving back from hosting a business mastermind retreat on the Central Coast, I was listening to an audible book, talking all about how to create better habits. It intrigued me and once I got home, I did a little bit more research about the subject of pre-commitment and found that it was originally created by a Nobel Prize-winning economist, by the name of Thomas Schelling as a part of his “art of self-management”.
There are two forces battling inside of you
Now, at the heart of Self Management is the idea that we have two forces battling inside of us all the time – our present self and our future self. Your future self is all about our vision – what we want to move towards, what we want to achieve. Naturally, there is a future business self as well as a personal self.
But then you have the present self, the part of us that wants instant gratification, and who will most often want to focus work on the things that are noisiest in our businesses and lives, the issues that demand our immediate attention.
You need to pre-commit to your future vision
There is always tension between those two selves, and we need to take actions that will give us a much better chance of achieving our longer-term goals by using pre-commitment. For example, if you go into the supermarket, do not buy the food that you don’t want to be eating at home! We practice pre0comitment in this instance by writing a list and avoiding the sweets aisle. Another example is if you’re saving for a particular holiday or another major purchase, having an automatic payment coming out of your bank each week so that you don’t even have to think about it, is a pre-commitment to your future vision.
In your business, you can harness the power of pre-commitment by pre-planning your working week.
Now hopefully you have a vision for your business, formalised by an overarching strategy strategic document that outlines where you are taking yourself and your business. I like to break that back into quarterly focus with a 90-day cascade planning. I then take one step further back, using a weekly planner. You can download one here.
Get more of the right things done
On a Sunday night or Monday morning, sit down and review last week. Explore what happened, what went well, what didn’t happen, the reasons behind it, what you’re grateful for, what it is that you’re proud of achieving, etc – the planner walks you through all of this and your reflection is what provides with both your future fuel and focus for the coming week.
You’ll then turn your attention to putting the top outcomes, the most important things and actions that will take you closer to your long term goals and you will physically blocking these into your calendar. This sounds incredibly simple. And it is! But it is also powerfully effective. I’ve noticed when I take the time to use the weekly planner on a regular basis, lo and behold, at the end of the week, I’ve got so much more done. And most importantly, I’ve got so much more of the right things done.
When I’m in that space of planning, I’m far more clear-headed, identifying and listing down those things that will move my business in the right direction. Contrast that with the heat of the moment with a desk covered in files and documents, with a phone ringing, with emails coming in. In that environment, I can be in danger of prioritising things that aren’t quite as important as they first seem to be.
So today, I would challenge you to explore the concept of pre-commitment, to utilise the idea of taking the time to plan on a weekly basis so that you too can reach the end of the week feeling absolutely fantastic.
I’d love to hear how pre-commitment planning works for you as you grow the next chapter of your business.