12 week year

How to Use ABA to Improve Productivity

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"Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science, derived from the principles of behavior, applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior."  -Cooper, Herron, and Heward (2007)

With that said, how can we use ABA to increase our productivity in our day to day lives?  The key here is the phrase "applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior."

So what are the "socially significant behaviors" that we need to increase in order to maximize our productivity? This is the first question we should ask, before we come up a productivity plan.  By first defining the behaviors we need to improve, we can then hone in on strategies to increase the occurrence of these behaviors in our everyday lives.

I recently completed this exercise myself at the start of the New Year, and my outline of my goals for my "12 Week Year" (see the blog post, "How to Plan for This Year's Goals").

First, I defined the behaviors I needed to increase (for me, they were: delegating, organizing my current systems, and creating engaging content).  Then I came up with a plan for each that included antecedent strategies to make these behaviors more likely to occur.  Some of these strategies included visual deadlines outlined on my 12WY spreadsheet, downloading and learning social media marketing tools to assist in creating engaging content, and developing task analyses for each of my systems so that I would be able to delegate to staff.

For each of these behaviors, reinforcement is built in to their performance.  By delegating and organizing my systems, I will have access to more time to spend doing more preferred activities in my businesses, or more personal time to meditate and read.  By creating engaging content, hopefully, I will be helping others develop, which for me is a major reinforcer!

Have additional strategies to use ABA to improve productivity?  Leave a comment below!

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How to Plan for This Year's Goals

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Back in July of 2017, I took the leap to form Shaping Development, my first venture in owning my own business.  In October of 2017, another opportunity presented itself and I also formed Operant Coffee.  Starting both LLCs took an amazing amount of courage, but thanks to my executive coach, Dave, (see Coaching for Leaders) for introducing me to the concept of The 12 Week Year* by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington, I was able to strategize and organize my tasks into the remaining 12 weeks of the year. 

In special education, the process of breaking larger tasks into smaller tasks is called "chunking."  In behavior analysis, we call it a "task analysis."  Whatever you want to call it, I think the only way I was able to accomplish as much as I did the last three months was by breaking everything down into the 12 Week Year.

The concept of the 12 Week Year is simple.  Ultimately, you break three months of tasks into 12 weeks (or 3 months).  The first 12 weeks are laid out with the tasks per week, and then the 13th week is set aside as a planning week for the next 12 weeks (52 does not evenly divide by 12 :-).  The idea is that instead of focusing on the whole year, which can seem overwhelming, you focus on your goals for 12 weeks at a time, allowing that 13th week for troubleshooting. 

Moran and Lennington have lots of tools to assist you in doing this when you purchase their book/system.  It also can be done simply using an excel spreadsheet as I did, where I just outlined the 12 weeks by date, and divided the sheet up between the two businesses.  As I move forward into the next year, I am spending this week reviewing what I accomplished, and outlining what's next for the next 12 weeks.  I hope that you will also find this system helpful as you move in to the next year!

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