Weekly planning is the link between long-term planning (ie annual and target planning) and short-term daily planning. Often, this “intermediate step” of the weekly planning is omitted, which I absolutely can not understand. In this article, I want to show you what the weekly planning looks like for me, what I pay attention to and how I make it as efficient as possible.
How my Weekly Planning Works
Before I show you how to proceed step by step, I want to give you some important information on the way.
Duration and location
The weekly planning itself is now quite fast with me. It’s usually 15-20 minutes that I need it. From time to time I associate the weekly planning with the planning of individual projects (such as my next book project). Then, of course, it takes a lot longer. However, I find it very pleasant to combine planning tasks. I am somehow in the planning mode and that is an important prerequisite to make the planning also meaningful and neat.
If you are just starting with the weekly planning, I recommend you to allow more time than the 15-20 minutes. Stress is a bad advisor when it comes to planning your week or projects.
Another important factor in planning is being able to work absolutely undisturbed. Not only in the weekly planning, but also in the planning of projects you have to anticipate a lot (think ahead).
When do I want to do something?
Can that be synonymous?
What if obstacles occur?
Which obstacles could occur at all?
What do I need to do this task or project?
Of course, these are just a few questions that will go through your mind when planning. All these thoughts are good and important because they help you to do what you planned to do. But that can only work if you can work highly concentrated and highly focused. If you are constantly interrupted in these planning tasks, the planning will also be correspondingly lousy. My tip is:
Find a place where you will not be disturbed and turn off all notifications on all devices!
9 steps to weekly planning
But let us now turn to the individual steps I take when I sit down and plan the coming week. I used to do that on Saturday because I had the necessary time and the necessary rest. In the meantime, I have brought this forward on Friday. The reason is a rather banal: Meanwhile, I have much more appointments than before and the appointment is on Friday, of course, easier to make than on the weekend.
Step 1: Enter appointments with yourself in the calendar
I always start the weekly planning with me, or rather I make appointments with myself. These are for example:
Training (my 5-hour week)
Sport comes first with me because when I move and train I feel great and I am much more productive than when I do not. Five times a week, a date for sports (two hours including regeneration) is fixed in the calendar. These days, I either go to the fitness center (John Harris) or, if the weather is right, train outdoors.
Training is also an extremely important factor for me, so I block five hours a week for my personal (mostly autodidactic) training. In rare cases, these are five hours at a stretch, but most are distributed in three to five blocks a week.
Marketing has recently been on the plan as well. I’m someone who produces super-fresh content, but when it comes to marketing, motivation drops tremendously. However, good business requires good marketing. So I also plan for five hours (but always at the block) a week.
Step 2: Plan your free time
I use the weekly planning not only to plan my professional tasks, but also my free time. And yes, this point really comes second. In the past, my business has determined my entire life and that was okay. Meanwhile I turned that around. First of all, I determine when I have my free time and what I want to do in this spare time, and only then is the business coming.
This shift to “free time first” has a serious advantage: If your working life does not have clear working hours in the sense of “I start and I end my working day”, then Parkinson’s Law fully hits the mark: “Work expands to such an extent , in which time is available to settle. “But if you have set start and end times, you must inevitably focus on the really important things and drop the rest under the table.
One of the best decisions of my life, so much may I tell you.
Step 3: View or plan appointments for the coming week
Let’s move on to the next step of weekly planning and these are the dates of the coming week. When does which date take place or are there dates to plan? For me, this step is important, because only if I know my appointments, I also know how much time I have for completing my tasks.
A little tip on the edge: Be stingy in dealing with appointments. Very mean, even! Because every appointment costs you and your company not only time, but every appointment also represents a disruption.
Step 4: Transfer tasks from the projects to the week
Now comes the time when I open my lists of next steps in Evernote or my mindmaps in Mindmeister and start transferring the tasks I want to do in the coming week.
The biggest challenge here is estimating how much time will cost me which task. This is quite easy for tasks that we do on a regular basis, but always a challenge for new tasks. I am very generous and take up to 20% more time budget than I think that will cost me the task. The reason is quite simple: Nothing more satisfying than ticking off the last task in To-do-list at the end of the working day, and I hate nothing more than postponing tasks to tomorrow. In return, I also have the discipline to pick myself tomorrow’s tasks and to do it today, if I have the time. This procedure not only ensures a high probability that the planning was also implemented at the end of the day but of course this also applies to the weekly planning.
Step 5: Vote team tasks
I have not been a one-man show for some time, but have a permanent employee and a handful of freelancers working for me. Here I would like to say a big thank you for the great cooperation :). This circumstance also means that I not only have to keep an eye on my own tasks but also those I have delegated.
For newly delegated tasks, of course, I have to set deadlines and also coordinate a few other things to the individual tasks. While I manage my own tasks in Todoist, all teamwork comes in master-task. This tool has some great features that I can tell you in the article “Why master task? 7 reasons! “Explain. In the weekly planning so also the coordination of all team tasks.
Step 6: Set Weekly Reward
What would be the weekly planning without the weekly reward? The end of the weekly planning actually always looks the same. I look again at the planning and think about how ambitious it is to implement this plan to 100%. Of course, it should always be realistic, no question. But sometimes it’s easier and sometimes harder. I’m trying to estimate that and set a reward.
If the weekly planning is quite easy to implement, that may be a good ice cream in summer or a coffee in one of the great Viennese coffee houses in winter. If it is much more ambitious, even a day off at the Therme Wien can be the reward. The fact is: this reward only exists if the weekly planning has been completed to 100% and all appointments and tasks have been completed.
Step 9: Have your weekly reward from last week
Unfortunately, it is a common mistake to look for a reward and then not put it into action. Unfortunately, I also did that very often in the past. But there is a rule for that: If I have done the weekly planning to 100%, the reward will be implemented immediately on the weekend. Have fun 😉
What does not happen in the weekly planning: setting priorities
Maybe you are missing one or the other point here, such as setting priorities in the processing. Well, I do not do that in the weekly planning, but that always happens in my daily planning. Of course, it’s a matter of taste, whether you do it now in the weekly planning or the daily schedule, but for me, it just feels better on the same day.
Conclusion for your self-management
The weekly planning is one of the big success factors, why I can really work off my tasks and projects quickly. I take the necessary time, the necessary rest and so have a common thread that leads me through the entire week. Therefore, I can only recommend that you do weekly planning properly and not quickly in between.
How do you create your weekly schedule? Do you have questions about my weekly planning? Leave me a comment, I’m looking forward to it.
Enjoy your day!