How I plan my weekMar 08, 2022
Planning really helps me avoid getting overwhelmed with things. I feel like if I've thought about something up front, then I'm able to make a better decision. And I'm able to really know what's coming up for the week in advance. That way I'm not getting surprised by things. If you're getting surprised by things, you're probably going to be making decisions from the wrong part of your brain, you're going to be thinking from your really primitive brain and you're really just going to try and avoid a painful situation, or look for what's going to make you feel good. Or just whatever is the path of least resistance. That way of thinking is probably not going to get you operating in line with your overall goals and what you want to achieve for the week.
If I've planned my week in advance, it means I'm not constantly having to come back to those goals and make sure that what I'm doing is going to get me the right outcome. I know if I just take all the actions that I already decided on that I will get the outcome.
Another advantage is that it allows me to maintain focus on what I'm doing right now, when I have lots of other things on the agenda, but I haven't started them yet. For example, if I know I have to record a podcast episode, I already have a time set aside to do that. So I'm not spending the whole rest of the week thinking "I must organize the podcast episode, I still need to record that episode when am I going to do that". I already know that that's locked in for a particular time, and then I can make sure that it happens at that time. I don't have to worry about it any other time in the week. This process is basically setting up for future me to be successful.
Oftentimes during the week, I think "I'm so glad that I took the time to think about this in advance. Because now I'm not stressing about things".
What I like to do is have like an ideal week plan. That has most of my standing commitments in it. Then every week, it duplicates automatically in my calendar with recurring appointments. I don't have to rethink those things every week, for example on Monday night at 8pm, I do payroll for the salon business. I know that in that time block, that's what always happens. I know that I can meet the deadline. I don't have to worry about it, and be constantly thinking and reminding myself that I need to do it.
The way that I come up with my ideal week plan is to look at my annual goals. I've already decided what's important to me in the big picture, then each 90 days, I break down my annual goals into actionable steps. That way when I come to do my week plan, normally I do this on a Sunday afternoon or Sunday night - I look at what I need to do for the week and I already have that ideal week plan in there. It would already have things like making breakfast, pick up and drop off of the kids etc.
Then I go through and I add in anything else that's non negotiable. If there's something I need to do for my corporate job, if there's something that kids need to do like appointments, or if I have other appointments for myself, or any previous commitments that I've made for this week, then I take that time on the Sunday to go through and map out the week.
And then I have a look at my annual goals in categories and make a block of time to spend on each of those things. So for example, if my annual goal is to get really fit for a caravanning trip, the weekly outcome of that might be to exercise once a day. I make sure that my calendar actually reflects that goal. then I check over my plan - do I have a slot every day for exercising? Yes.
If one of my goals is to work on my relationship with my partner, then I make sure that I have a weekly date night, blocked out in my calendar. So again, I don't have to think about it, I don't have to feel guilty about how much time I'm spending with Shane, or not spending much Shane, because I know that every week, that's what is in there, and we take the time to have our date night.
The other thing that I do is I block out time in particular categories. I have a category for strategic time around a particular business or time for marketing on a business, or maybe the payroll and financial side of the business. It might not be every week, but I will block out times over the month for each of those things to make sure that there is that time spent on the strategy. In this way I'm not just responding to what's currently going on - you know, when you have time set aside, like, Oh, I'm going to work on my business tonight for two hours. Then you get to the end of the two hours, and you've really just checked your email and done some things to make yourself feel busy. But actually, you didn't achieve any of the things that are really going to move you forward.
That's not what I want. So having those blocks planned out means that anytime something needs to be added to my to do list during the week, I know, okay, I already have time set aside to review my financials. So if my bookkeeper alerts me to something I just make a note in my payroll and financial block that I need to review that and get back to her.
My email inbox and my Things To Do lists are not the boss of me, I make sure that first of all, I take time for my strategic goals. And then I add those other tasks in. I try to keep like tasks together. When I have a block for payroll and finance, it means I'm in that headspace, I'm logged into Xero, I can get all the things that I need and deal with all of those queries together.
That is sometimes referred to as batching. I'm a huge batching nerd, I really crave efficiency, I love to be productive. I get really frustrated when I have to keep moving from one thing to something else. If I get home, I don't want to be thinking - "I just need to pay this bill. And then I'll wash two dishes, and then I'll get the kids stuff organized for tomorrow. And then I'll check the mailbox and then I'll you know, go put some washing on" - that just feels too frantic to me.
To illustrate I have a block in my calendar every week, which is called home admin. And so on Monday nights, I gather up all of the tasks that are related to home admin, and I spend an hour on those things. So during the week, every time we come in, and we check the mail, we just leave most of those things in a pile until one day the next week, unless something looks like it's super serious. But generally, even if I've opened everything, I'm then just leaving it for that block on a Monday night. So that way I'm in that headspace I'm I have my credit card out, I have my wallet out to pay bills. And it's not that I'm wasting time during the week. That's the kind of level that I think about, I don't want to be going and getting my wallet and taking it out, sitting at the table and paying one bill and putting my credit card back in and putting my wallet back in my bag, seven days a week, because I can just do that once.
I really find that that batching saves me time. And the other thing it allows me to do is to separate my tasks as manager time and maker time. Manager time is when you're managing your business. And Maker time is when you're doing the thing that you're creating in your business. So for example, if you were a hairstylist, your management jobs would be things like looking at the sales numbers and planning the week ahead, and you'll make it I would be actually doing people's hair. Or for me in my coaching business, the manager tasks are reviewing sales, looking at financial forecasts, seeing how I'm going against my plan. And the maker time is creating content recording a podcast.
I don't like to mix those things together. I feel like when I'm in the creative zone, I want to be doing all creative tasks kind of back to back. And when I'm in the manager mode, then I can focus on all of the more administrative tasks. And I find I'm the least productive if I have to try and switch between Manager and Maker your tasks.
Okay, so once I've had a go at planning my whole week, I have a look at my overall week. It's really easy for me to check what I'm spending my time doing, and if I'm happy with it, so rather than getting to the end of the week, and then reflecting and thinking, "oh, did I spend enough time on this or that" (which is also a valuable exercise), I want to just set myself up so that I will spend time in the right areas. That means that I look at my calendar, and I see there's not much yellow here, and yellow is time with the kids. So I really need to have another look at that and make sure that I have that time in there.
I ask myself - is it balanced? Do I have too much of one category or not enough of another category, and other categories that are missing from my goals, or what I would like to achieve in my life and because I wanted to kind of be spending time every week on moving forward for myself in my businesses. And so everything needs to be planned in there. And while it looks a little bit crazy, when you look at the overall plan, and it is so detailed and so clear, it actually makes me feel really calm about the week because I no longer have to think about it. It helps me to put habits in place, and then also helps me to be accountable.
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