The 3 Essential Elements of Your Minimum Viable Plan

This post was originally published on Performance Applied, one of our strategic partners. Be on the look out for an upcoming Suite Talk podcast with Matt Cross of Performance Applied on this topic.

You’ve tried to get organized a thousand times. You keep making plans but your plans never survive first contact with chaos.

You may be asking yourself, “What can I do to stay organized and focused on my most important priorities”?

How do I maintain high levels of productivity with so much to do and so little time?

Steal From The Lean Startup Playbook

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries reexamined how to work and succeed in our complicated, fast-paced world.

One of the most useful and popular concepts from the book is the Minimum Viable Product – a stripped down version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort. The goal of a Minimum Viable Product is to test ideas and stimulate learning as quickly as possible. A picture is worth a thousand words so check out the following illustration to see just how this concept should be applied.

Image by blog.fastmonkeys.com

The Minimum Viable Plan

What if you applied the “minimum viable” idea to planning and created a minimum viable plan (MVP3) – a plan that includes just three core features that allow you to focus on your highest priorities, and no more?

I’ll bet it would increase your focus and boost productivity. It would also help you get into action and generate the momentum needed to learn and adapt.

In a fast-paced world filled with competing priorities and complexity, the (MVP3) may be just the tool you need.

Here are the three essential elements that will turn your daily plan from an unachievable time-waster that isn’t worth the paper it is printed on, to an effective personal productivity powerhouse that only takes 15 minutes to create on a sheet of paper.

Element # 1:  Your 3-Point Value Proposition

What do you want to be known for after living a 90 year life?

You don’t want to be remembered by your title. No one cares if you were a CEO, Vice President, or Director of Blah Blah Blah.

Similarly, you don’t want to be known for the tasks you completed. Sure you delivered that amazing PowerPoint briefing back in 1989 but no one really cares.

You want to be known for the value you created because value is meaningful and remarkable. Valuable products like automobiles, iPhones, and 3-D Printers are game changers. Valuable services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Uber change lives.

You don’t have to produce an iPhone or an Uber-like service to be valuable but you do need to choose the value you create and pursue it daily. Peak performance shows up when you are intentional so be intentional.

Here’s how to include the first element in your (MVP3). Write your value proposition using the 3-point value proposition model and place your value proposition at the top of your (MVP3).

“I help (Target Audience = Point1) do (Result = Point 2) by doing (Process = Point 3).”

Add this to your plan every day, keep it visible, and focus on your higher purpose.

Element # 2:  Your 3-Month Goals

What do you really want to accomplish in the next 3 months?

How will you stick to your resolutions and succeed?

Establishing quarterly (3-month) goals keeps you focused, energized and engaged. 3-Month goals create a sense of urgency and clarity. They provide a short time horizon and a visible future state. They provide more focus than annual goals.

There are many systems out there that help you set annual goals – check out Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever course for an excellent one – but annual goals are hard to stick to. Annual goals create too much wiggle room and too large a timeframe. They also make it harder to see the end state, leaving you open to distraction and confusion.

Add the second element to your (MVP3) by writing down the top 3 outcomes you would like to produce in the next 3 months. Use Michael Hyatt’s S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals method and place the 3 goals on your (MVP3) worksheet.

Element # 3:  Your 3 Priority Actions

What are the 3 most important things you should do today?

Carve out 90 minutes for each priority action and work toward your goals in those 90 minute slots.

Every day is filled with competing priorities and I’m sure you have a long to-do list. Understand that you can’t do everything. Success only comes when you do the right things.

If you start each day feeling overwhelmed and incapable of getting it all done you are setting yourself up for failure. If you start each day feeling focused and clear about your most important actions you will succeed.

Identify your top 3 priority actions for today and schedule three 90-minute sprints – focused work sessions – on your most important activities. Don’t get distracted by new shiny objects and avoid the temptations that will surface throughout the day.

Commit to working on what matters to you most. Start each morning by filling out your (MVP3) worksheet and complete three 90-minute sprints. This is the best way to achieve your goals and deliver on your value proposition.

Are you ready to get started?

Want more from Matt & Performance Applied?

Check out this Suite Talk podcast with Matt on the difference between Managers vs. Leaders. Which are you?

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