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Create a Weekly Plan That Works

planning Jul 16, 2021

Planning by the week is how you will get things done.

I see a few common pitfalls (which I list at the bottom), but here are three steps to creating an effective weekly list that that doesn't just get rewritten from one week to the next.

  1. Create the list at the end of the week
    This won't take longer than about 20 minutes. Doing it before you head home for the weekend means that you won't have to remember any work details during your time off and it gives your next week a solid focus.
    TIP: Do this in the last 20 minutes of the day on Friday.

  2. Calculate your open hours
    How many meetings/appointments are scheduled next week? Take a look at your calendar and calculate exactly how many open hours you have. Factor in travel time and don't just ballpark the number.

    When you get to the next step, you're going to make a list of what you want to get done but the trick is to only use 3/4 of your open hours. This is because you need to save time for tasks like answering emails and phone calls. 
    TIP: If your job requires you to be available for any incoming phone calls, you might only be able to plan for using half of your open hours.

  3. Decide what you want to get done and write it down
    When you write something down, also include how long you think it will take to get it done. Be realistic. The goal here is under-promise and over-deliver so at the end of the week, you get the satisfaction of seeing everything on your weekly plan completed and scratched off.
     
    NOTE: People with strong Goal-Directed Persistence are driven to get a lot of things done. It's not uncommon for them to think "I'm sure I can get these ten things done in [xx] minutes."  If that's you (and you are often wrong about how long it takes to get things done), be aware that your brain is wired to write down too much on this list.

Here are the most common pitfalls:

  1. That weekly plan morphs into a GIANT MASTER LIST.
    If you find that you're writing down so much stuff that no human being could ever get it done in a week, that's a signal from your brain that it's overloaded.
    Most people think they are going to remember everything they need to do. But here's the problem with that: The brain doesn't categorize or prioritize. Unless you have a killer Working Memory, your brain isn't going to be able to keep it all straight - especially if you're over the age of 35.

  2. Assigning a task to a particular day.
    Weekly planning is about doing your "big thinking" once. On Friday when you create your weekly plan, it may sound good to do the X task on Tuesday and the Y task of Thursday but that doesn't allow for any flexibility. What happens if Tuesday comes around and something's on fire?

Your perspective on work will change when you create a plan for the whole week. Not only does it give the brain a thought-out point of reference for your daily plans, it also creates an intention and clarity around actually getting those tasks done.

 

 


Why support the brain?

Because the brain is what is driving our day! Our ability to focus, filter distractions, and plan comes from the strength (or weakness) of various brain skills. If the brain skill of Planning isn't strong, it can be tough to get things done. Likewise, if the brain skill of Working Memory is decreasing, it gets harder to even remember all the things that need to get done.

The GoBrainGo approach is to show you how your brain works and then give you the tools and strategies that support each of the brain skills. Don't let weak skills stop you from accomplishing things.

What can GoBrainGo do for me?

 

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