Discipline #3 - Part 2 - Plan the Week

This series has shown how you can Capture random inputs from your day (Discipline #1), Organize them in the right 'slot' (Discipline #2), and Plan your Day (Discipline #3, part 1). If this is new, start again at Discipline #1. 

Let's finish up Discipline #3 - Planning your Week.

For bigger projects, a week is the ideal “Goldilocks” time chunk (not too short, not too long) -- the right size to step back and look at things in a holistic way. 

To plan the week, first set aside a consistent time. Building this habit into your life pays off massively. You can focus on the important things, steadily navigating your business and your life in the optimal direction. It's a habit that yields long-term power and success. 

Best practice for most people is to use Saturday or Sunday for Planning -- but mid-week works for some folks depending on their schedule. The important thing is not when, but that it is blocked off -- it must be an inviolable time on your calendar.

  • Look at your calendar now, and reserve a 30-60 min block for “Week Planning.”
  • Put a note there, with the link to this blog, so you can easily come back to check the process. 

The time required varies depending on the complexity and number of projects.

Years ago I could spend 3 or 4 hours -- half a workday -- reviewing my week and building a week plan. I had too many projects going at once and I over-complicated things…

The fastest, most effective way is not complicated -- keep it simple, and learn from my mistakes. 

Suppose it's Sunday afternoon and you’re set to plan the week. 

First, review the past week. 
        Note what you did, and did not, get done. Then capture any new items that come to mind, into your Week Capture list. 

Then, Review your Calendar -- from 2 weeks past to 6 weeks into the future. 
         Continue to capture items that come up while thinking about your calendar
. Everything that's taking up any mental bandwidth, empty it out of your head and onto the list.

Remember, our Week Capture list already contains the 3 projects we captured last week.
          Hobbies →  Jan YY Conference
          Health → Hit --% bodyfat
          Sales & Marketing → New Project: Launch new ads 

So, along with those 3,  you should now have a list of all the new items triggered by reviewing your week and calendar.

Now look over those areas created in Discipline #2 - The Organize Habit -- does anything here need focus this week?

          Personal: health, family, finances, hobbies. 
          Business: members, team, sales/marketing, admin/finance.

Does anything NEW need to happen this week in these areas? -- for members? -- team? -- family? 

For simplicity, we'll to stick with the 3 categories we already have:
          Health → Hit --% bodyfat
          Hobbies →  Jan YY Conference
          Sales & Marketing → Launch new ads 

A clear, effective way to move projects forward is to define the next necessary concrete action.

For example, the NEXT ACTION for Hit --% bodyfat, might be:
Sign up for nutrition coaching

This is a natural single Next Action -- the one that moves the entire project forward.

For Jan YY Conference, the Next Action might be:
      Double check dates -- buy tickets

For Launch new ads, the Next Action might be:
      Review past campaigns -- get organized. 

How long would it take to follow through? 

  • Sign up for nutrition coaching - 20 min.
  • Double check dates -- buy tickets - 20 min.
  • Review past campaigns -- get organized - 30 min. 

You might go faster, or want more time. These are just estimates, so adjust as needed. 

Do this with all the items you’ve captured. If you have many items that fit under a single umbrella, batch them into one session. For example, you captured a series of admin items that can all be done at once: Admin time - 1 Hour

You take these items and put them into your day, using the steps in Part 1 of Planning - Plan the Day.  

The Week Plan is NOT done UNTIL you specifically define the coming week's TOP 2 or 3 Results. A good plan keeps you focused on results.

TOP results for our examples might be the 3 NEXT ACTIONS we defined:
         Sign up for nutrition coaching

         Double check dates -- buy tickets

        Review past campaigns -- get organized. 

Or these could be something different, based on priorities. 

Regardless, when you take a special time to look at everything holistically, you have perspective on what’s most important. Define what you want with clarity and simplicity.  This keeps you on track, so you move the most important things forward by the end of the week.

This is true “productivity.” Spend your time on the most important things that will move your business and life measurably forward. 

The final COPE Discipline is # 4 - Engage  -- in my next blog post.