Get to know your productivity strengths with Year Mapping

Oh, this is a good one!


If you're reading this then that's brilliant because this simple process was such a game changer for me I think you're going to love it.


As you may be aware I'm on a bit of a planning crusade this summer! I'm in the throws of a complete overhaul, it's so exciting and I'm rocking it because I know it's one of my super productivity strengths for this time of year. How do I know that? Well, it's this simple process called Year Mapping.



WELCOME TO YEAR MAPPING Have you ever found that there are times of the year when you’re more productive than others?


Perhaps exercise comes easier in the Spring or dieting in fall! Perhaps home improvements and renovation projects get underway in winter and by summer attention turns to smaller crafting projects.


Have you ever wondered why some pursuits only hold your attention for some of the time?


That’s because most of us work to a yearly productivity rotation. There are times of our year when we’re better at some things than others, and when it flips we’re left feeling out of sorts, lost, underwhelmed and frustrated! We have no idea what’s changed, but it sucks!


It can be very crushing to our mental health as it makes us feel like we don’t have what it takes to complete a project or the willpower to stick to something!


Well, you’re not alone my friend!


Perhaps you're struggling to get going on a new course or perhaps you’re halfway through and motivation is waning. Maybe you've recently started a new project or hobby or even a business and constantly showing up each day is beginning to feel jaded.


When things start to feel like this it becomes a battle to take the right kind of action and that’s when we can slip into active procrastination, which I can tell you is nobody's friend! We all want to be moving forward, gaining ground, making progress and getting the job done; then out of nowhere the spark goes out, our direction doesn’t seem so clear anymore and the fog of self-doubt sets in.


Hands up if you can relate?


I most certainly can! However, the good news is that it happens, not because of a lack of motivation, or drive, but because our productivity works in cycles and phases.


Let me explain......


How Year Mapping Works

Several years back I embarked on a little experiment. I mapped out my productivity and achievements across several years. I then plotted my findings in the form of an annual wheel diagram. I noted times when I’d been physically productive, times of resourcefulness and times of intense planning.


And guess what I discovered? I discovered, with significant clarity, that I transitioned at the same time every year. All that time spent thinking I couldn’t sustain consistency! That I dipped in and out of projects and couldn’t stick with anything. But analysing my map it was clear that I WAS being consistent.


I could see that I passed through phases of learning and growth from November to February and then again from May to September. In contrast, I passed through phases of doing, or implementation, from February to May and September to November. It was quite fascinating to see it mapped out. (see diagram above)


The exercise proved so insightful that it got me thinking about how I could harness these phases to my advantage. So, now that I understood my yearly productivity phases I could get to work shifting my efforts accordingly. I started to focus on incremental tasks that supported whatever phase I was in, and true enough my process of self-management changed from an-all-or-nothing to, you’ve got it, one of consistency.


So why do I recommend Year Mapping?

Why? Because I’m convinced it’s the key to consistency? Not just general consistency, but sustainable consistency!


If we can identify what phase of the year we’re in, we can be more mindful of how we approach tasks. It’s like having the upper hand over ourselves. It’s not about cherry-picking only the good stuff, it’s about adopting a daily approach that's in alignment. It’s a mindset shift that makes us fully aware of our strengths at any given time.


Shall we give it a go?

Go grab a notebook and pen. Now in your notebook create a list of the months and note,by each month, what you were doing. Include holidays taken, project started, parties or social events you attended or organised. Keep adding activities both in you personal and professional life. Perhaps you signed up for a new class or training, or you helped a friend out or did voluntary work.


Be sure to include times of the year when you were heavily invested in others or you worked to deadlines. You might also want to include your mental health if you know you struggle at certain times of the year.


Tip: I find it helped to scroll through the photos on my phone. It served as a reminder of what and when I was doing things.


Once you’ve created your month-by-month list, it’s time to assign an archetype to each month.


Take a look at the Productivity Archetypes below as a guild to help you. The idea is to identify how your list fits with productivity strengths. Don’t get bogged down in the tiniest of details. This isn’t about identifying personality types it’s about finding your productivity strengths.


Can you see a pattern emerging?


Tip: Be sure to do the same exercises over several years to give yourself the best chance of finding a consistent pattern.


The 5 Productivity Archetypes Explained

There are five productivity archetypes, the Student, the Strategist, the Creator, the Deliverer and the Assistant. They represent skills and traits that can help you identify key what you're good at and when.


#1

Let's start with

THE STUDENT

They may spend their time...

signing up for courses

pursuing self improvement

reading non-fiction books (of all kinds)

sharing their knowledge with others

learning about historic events - periods

aquiring new qualifications

trying new food

visiting new places

visiting the beach, lake or riverside

swimming, diving, sailing

#2

Let's now look at

THE STRATEGIST

They may spend their time...

working on personal projects

reading self-help books

motivating and coaching others

attending talks and conferences

playing Chess or completing Crosswords or Sudokos

enjoying creative writing

buying new stationary

tidying and having a good clear-out

in their own world (highly imaginative)

playing racket sports like tennis or badminton


#3

Let's move onto look at

THE CREATOR

They may spend their time...

reading fiction

enjoying the Arts

engage with activities that align with their interests

decorating and undertaking home improvements

enjoying crafting projects or journaling

working on spiritual growth

practising Meditation, Yoga or Pilates

going on walks or hiking in nature

picking up stones and shells from the beach

enjoys cooking and preparing food

working on jigsaw puzzles

#4

Let's move onto look at

THE DELIVERER

They may spend their time...

crossing tasks off their to-do list

keeping physically busy

excising at the gym, running, cycling

getting others involved and leading the team

going on adventure holidays

enjoying social networking events

enjoys eating out

traveling aboard

at public speaking events


#5

And finally let's look at

THE ASSISTANT

They may spend their time...

teaching and supporting the learning of others

being a team player

being collaborative and up for most things

happily entertaining family and friends

thriving in a like-minded community

happily organising travel arrangements

giving productive advise

fundraising or campaigning

supporting a local community

working to deadlines or project completion dates


Can see yourself in these productivity strengths and traits?


You’re looking for transitional patterns from one Archetype to another, it’s these shifts that indicates a productivity phase is transitioning. You may find they transition frequently or they may stretch on over many months.


Putting your Year Map into Action

Now you’ve mapped your year you can make more insightful plans and set goals that will be easier to stick to.


Let me give you an example

My goal is to start writing and posting content more consistently but that doesn’t mean I have to write on the same day every week! What it does mean is that at certain times through out the year I’m better at content writing than others. So I can utilise this knowledge and write more posts during those phases than I need.


The same is true for my photography ! I have weeks where I’m in my studio everyday because I’m enjoying the physical delivery aspect of the work. This will last a month or two and then my interest will start to slow. That’s because I’m naturally transitioning out of an implementation phase back into a planning phase. Now I know this, because my Year Map shows me, I can work with my natural rhythm and not against it.


Showing up consistently doesn’t mean you have to create consistently, or plan consistently, or design consistently - it means being engaged in your process consistently.


I’m going to say that again.


Being consistent - means being engaged in your process consistently.


Your ‘process’ is knowing your productivity phases, month on month, quarter on quarter. It means standing in your own power and knowing what you’re good at - when you’re good at it. Your process is about harnessing the best of yourself in alignment to your own productivity.


I’m not advocating postponing those tasks we’d all rather not do. However, I am advocating that the key to consistency is balancing these less desirable tasks with those that align with our yearly productivity phases. When you do this a new kind of consistency starts to emerge, and that’s sustainable consistency.


And the best news is...

...that real growth comes from sustainable consistency.



 


Year Mapping Printables
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