Organizing your time takes many different steps to get the job done. Having one great calendar and an effective way to manage your tasks and lists are the first step. Carving out a Weekly Planning Time pulls together these great tools. Stephen Covey and David Allen both incorporate this routine into their strategies, as well as Asian Efficiency and The Productivity Show. This time helps you create a proactive plan and gets you ahead of the curve.
Basics of Weekly Planning Time
- Weekly planning time is when you pull together your lists, assess upcoming events and add a plan to your calendar.
- Start by setting an undistracted time for you to “meet” with your planner. This should be added to your calendar as an appointment! A good time may be Friday before the end of work, Sunday afternoon as you are getting ready for the week, or any time that really works for you.
- Gather together your tools of your planner, your lists, any emails or papers with upcoming events, projects you are leading or collaborating, and any other date driven activities. You want to consolidate all this information into your planner and an organized list.
- First, add all new dates and update any existing dates, then add small reminders, consolidate errands, project out baby steps for a big project, and generally scan for bumps in the road coming up.
- Next, scan ahead for new projects, events or recurring annual projects for that time period. This includes for work and home. Consider taxes, financial reviews and home maintenance. Make notes of who to meet with for these upcoming tasks and projects.
- Finally, create a “think big” section of your planning time. What is a major goal you have thought about and would want to take action on? This is where you have the opportunity to be creative and act on your dreams. It’s also about being strategic about life goals. Take this time to spend a few minutes on goals and dreams.
- If you use a technology planner, no problem! Same strategy with this tool!
- Make it fun! Grab your favorite beverage, sit in an inspiring spot and enjoy this planning time.
Upgrade your Weekly Planning Time
- Use a planner that adds focus to your time. I love my paper planner pad! A digital tool to do this work is To Do ist.
- Set a day of the week for certain activities. Money Monday and Financial Friday are the days you work on money matters. By allowing yourself one set day a week for an important task, you give yourself permission to be dedicated to one specific task instead of many difference ones. This strategy works well for people who know that they can do one thing well.
- Be consistent about your weekly planning time. The more consistent, the more you will notice what’s working and what is not. “Noticing” can lead to enhancements too, such as knowing what works best for you and what are your strengths.
- Level up with this podcast featuring the weekly review of Getting Things Done (GTD) with David Allen.
- Take this routine to the next level with a Family Meeting too. Gather your family on Sunday evening, with all their calendars and your family calendar (paper, Cozi, or google calendar) and set this time for planning purposes. Not only will you have family communication, collaboration and cohesiveness will be a big bonus.
What obstacles might you have incorporating into your week this planning time? Be sure to set this at at time that works well for you. In order to be consistent, the time that you work on Weekly Planning Time makes the most difference. How do you do know this is working well? Now you feel in control, ahead in your planning and confident in your tasks and projects.
More time management tips here!