Time Management Crash Course - Lesson 7

The Goldilocks of short term planning is the weekly plan

Welcome to lesson 7 of our crash time management course.

Many people plan at the daily level and the consequence of this is that it can pull us into reactivity. It is much better to plan at the weekly level and adjust your plan daily. 

Video 1 (of 1) : The Weekly Plan

Homework from this lesson

  1. Set time aside once a week to do the weekly plan

Level 7: Text summary

If you plan daily this is likely to pull you into reactivity and you don’t want to be one of those people who wakes up each morning wondering what you going to do. Yet monthly planning doesn’t really take into account your shorter term priorities. The weekly plan is more likely to be a natural rhythm for short-term planning. 

So how do we execute on those priority areas in our quarterly plan yet remain responsive and flexible? 

This speaks to the magic of the Weekly Plan. The Weekly Plan captures your critical next actions for the coming week it’s also great for your peace of mind because you capture everything that could be on your immediate horizon and it puts it in the right place. 

There are a number of steps to doing the Weekly plan. 

The first thing we do is we look up to our most important activities, these are your quarterly big three that you wrote in your quarterly plan and they should be informed by our KPIs. During this weekly session we can plot the activities for the upcoming week that are going to drive forward our big three. 

The next thing I do is I need to check in on the role compulsory stuff. This is the stuff we just have to do without which we will either fail on our big rocks or land up in the crisis quadrant. In your weekly plan capture any of the compulsory actions or duties which will take your time. Perhaps you need to schedule a meeting with one of your team who has expressed frustration, and if you don’t you might lose them. Perhaps you need to edit board documents for the boss for the meeting on Friday. These are activities that you don’t have much choice and just simply have to find time. 

The next step is to check-in on the hangover. Now I don’t mean that type of hangover….I mean the week that just passed. You need to think about the week that’s just passed -  What things had you planned that didn’t happen (and does it still matter?). Did you go to any meetings but you haven’t captured any of the actions anywhere. If you have a residue of commitments, then put it into your current weekly plan be under hangover. This is particularly important for items that have not been captured anywhere in your system. To do this properly it’s worth looking closely over last week’s commitments in your calendar and asking yourself have I completed this,.

We all know that it’s all very well and best practice to look your big rocks first, however when you check your hangover by looking through last week’s calendar your mind is going to go to probably 4 to 20 projects or responsibilities that are on your plate. These can sometimes become a sudden priority. Once a week you need to check into these things which may in future become your big rocks. 

Check for any spot fires and allocate time to deal with any of those short-term issues before they become a crisis. You might have also captured things on your notepad, on your phone, or you might have stuff in your head that needs to be dealt with. Check in on all of these spaces once a week and if these things are worth your valuable time then write it into your weekly plan. 

Now look at your calendar for the week ahead and the weeks ahead and ask yourself is there anything I need to be doing next week.  This is called the weather eye. Do you have a report due in 2 weeks’ time that really needs some upfront work next week? In short is there anything coming up that you need to start thinking about now. Put this into your weekly plan under weather eye. 

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