By failing to prepare,
you are preparing to fail.
Most of us approach our weeks one day at a time. We get to work on Monday, track down a cup of coffee, and then try to figure out what needs to happen.
Think about how things might work out better if we added weekly planning to our lives. And, not only plan for our work-related items, but plan everything else too. What if we took the time to figure out exactly what needs to be done and prioritize each of those items.
For our best results, to some extent, we must avoid simply living life as it unfolds. By taking a little control, you can increase your confidence, stay a step ahead of your work, and actually find more free time to do whatever you like. Try these suggestions for a month and see if you can reap some of the benefits.
Creating a week’s plan:
1. Set aside a time for you weekly planning session.
- Sunday is the logical choice. You have had a little time to decompress from the previous week, but the events of the week are still fresh in your mind. The workweek starts in just one day.
- Make a list of tasks for each area of your life. The areas might include such things as work, personal items, and family. Your items will vary with your unique lifestyle.
- An example: WORK
- complete marketing project with the CEO
- interview applicants for marketing supervisor position
- contact packaging vendor to discuss printing issues
- find contractor to repair floor on the new renovation project
2. Assign priorities to all of the tasks.
- Let us make the very valid assumption that we cannot get everything done. Which items absolutely must be done and which ones can we let slide until next week?
- Choose as system, and assign one of three levels of priority to each task.
- You might use 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C, or Red, Yellow, Green.
- Start with your number 1 priorities and complete all of them before moving on to the number 2 and 3 priorities.
3. Schedule these tasks into your work calendar.
- Begin this process no later than Sunday evening.
- You should know how you are basically going to spend your Monday morning before you hit the door. Do not wait until your alarm clock wakes you up.
- Avoid over-scheduling.
- Once you begin to fall behind, it becomes impossible to catch up.
- Leave a little wiggle room for the inevitable emergencies and last minute requests from your boss.
- Schedule about 50% of your time and leave the rest open.
- Using a planner may allow you to move all these obligations out of your head, as long as you put them down on paper as soon as possible. Try using a planner with sticky notes. In this way you can move items around easily.
4. Begin as soon as you can on Monday morning.
- If you can work ahead, great!
- Keep your plans fluid.
- What you have taken the time to put in your planner is your best guesstimate, but you must begin somewhere.
- Things will change as the week progresses. This, I can promise.
5. Review every evening.
- Spend just a few minutes each evening making necessary adjustments.
- As tasks are completed, you will have the flexibility to move things around.
- Regroup and continue to perfect your new plan of attack each night.
- Make this a habit.
- You can do it before leaving the office or do it in the comfort of your living room.
- Just be sure that you get it done!
6. Have a weekly review.
- What went well?
- What could have gone better?
- How well did your weekly plan work out for you?
- What improvements or tweaks can you make to your process?
- Reviewing your week and making adjustments is one of the most powerful ways to improve.
- Address your mistakes.
- Recognize and celebrate your successes.
By planning and prioritizing, you can hit the ground running every week without stressing yourself out.
You’re also assured of getting the most important tasks accomplished.
Start next week by making a plan and follow through.
You have the power to change your life for the better.
Unless commitment is made,
there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.
Peter F. Drucker