Weekly planning is a habit that can help you get in control of your workload. Why weekly? It is a great time frame, not too long, not too short. You get into great habits and learn to be realistic about what you can achieve.
3 stories of weekly planning success:
- One of the first clients I trained in a group at a large corporate in 1998 did a weekly plan and found he was in deficit of 34 hours in 1 week, with what he had to do and the time he had available. The consequence of that was he declined to go to a conference he had on that week. He also changed his whole approach to planning his workload and started enjoying his role more.
- Another client who worked in finance was consistently in deficit of 60-70 hours on a weekly basis. As he could prove to his Manager that he genuinely could not do everything he was given access to 1.5 support staff. A lot of the administration (that he was terrible at anyway) was taken off him and he could focus on proactive, business-building activities.
- In Japan, there was a really busy executive in an HR company who was often around 55 hours a week in deficit. He was sick of the situation and resigned from his role, moving into a smaller company where he was less stressed. He then had more balance with his work and home life.
Let’s be honest. Not all of us like to plan. My natural tendency is not to plan, just get in and do it! However, there can be a consequence to that. We are not organised and haven’t thought everything through. We also often underestimate how long it will take to do things and this is what can derail us. Planning is a skill we can all learn especially if we see the benefits.
A Few tips:
- Every day, at the end of the day, review what was achieved versus what wasn’t achieved and reschedule anything you need to.
- Do your planning for the following week on a Friday or the last day of your working week. Then forget about work and enjoy your time off. Be “present” in your private life, not distracted by all those things in your head of work that you need to do.
- Make sure everything is in your Calendar, work you need to do as well as appointments.
- Any small tasks, use Tasks, though check you have some time in your Calendar to do them.
- Let go of your To-Do list (this can be hard for many). Instead decide how long it will take to do something and schedule it in your Calendar, allowing a little extra time in case you have underestimated how long it will take.
- Always have some “wriggle time” in your Calendar for those reactive moments.
Planning is one of the crucial keys to a successful business. Do you have the tools in place? Do you have accountability in place to carry those plans through to fruition? Planning and accountability can make or break a business.