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 good habits and learn to be realistic about what you can achieve.

3 stories of weekly planning success:

  1. One of the first clients I trained in a group at a large corporate in 1998 did a weekly plan. He found he was in deficit of 34 hours in 1 week, with what he had to do and the time he had available. Consequently, he declined to go to a conference he had on that week. He also changed his whole approach to planning his workload and started to enjoy his role more.

  2. Another client who worked in finance was consistently in deficit of 60-70 hours on a weekly basis. As he proved 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 delegated. He could then focus on proactive, business-building activities.

  3. In Japan, I worked with 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. He moved to a smaller company, where he was less stressed, in order to gain 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 of that. If you are not organised and don’t think everything through. You can underestimate how long it will take to do things. This is what can derail you. Planning is a skill we can all learn, especially if we see the benefits.

A few tips:

  1. Every day, at the end of the day, review what was achieved versus what wasn’t achieved and reschedule anything you need to.

  2. 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.

  3. Make sure everything is in your calendar, work you need to do as well as appointments.

  4. Any small tasks, use Tasks, though check you have some time in your calendar to do them.

  5. 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.

  6. Always have some “wriggle time” in your Calendar for those reactive moments.


Your success in business depends on it

Planning is one of the crucial keys to a successful business. Do you have the tools in place? Do you have accountability to make sure you carry those plans through to fruition? Planning and accountability can make or break a business.


By Helen Corban