I was reminded this morning how powerful and important it is to block out time to plan the week ahead.
Over the last 5 weeks, I’ve fallen out of my weekly planning habit. I spent three weeks in Cyprus, so it wasn’t needed. It’s funny how going to the beach, swimming, eating and drinking beer seem to flow with each other nicely 😉
The following two weeks were unusual for me. I had a lot of days where I was looking after my daughter Fearne. I also had a bunch of other social commitments. I decided it wasn’t worth planning those two weeks out. Better to see the two weeks out and then get back to normal.
Today I’m getting back to normal. The first thing I did was sit down and go through my weekly planning process.
The first thing I noticed was that it was harder than I expected. I forgot how mentally exhausting it is trying to work out what’s important and how to structure focus over 7 days. It took me a couple of hours, but I felt amazing afterwards. I have a plan in front of me that was realistic and focused. And I’m excited to attack it.
I also noticed that by default, I tend to try and convince myself I can do everything. On my first brain-dump, I had twelve big areas of focus. That’s ridiculous. It took me a good half an hour to strip those back to six. I then marked three as the highest priority (if I only did well at those, it would be a good week).
If I didn’t force myself to think about, and write out the areas I want to focus on, the week would be a car crash. I would have had expectations of doing well on all twelve focuses. And I would have tried do do all twelve! A recipe for disaster.
I was also reminded how useful it is to compartmentalise the week. Deciding how to structure and spread your focus throughout the week is probably the most mentally taxing part of planning a week.
For example, I am looking after Fearne on Weds afternoon and all day Friday. I’m not going to get much work done on those days — if at all. So, it forced me to think about how to use other parts of the week to get decent chunks of focused work done.
I want to be pretty active this week. I had to think when I could fit in some crossfit sessions, a swim and my mobility work. I also want to help out more this week (house chores, walking the dogs etc.). I want to have a date night with Ella. And of course, Weds night is safeguarded to watch England beat Croatia 😉
It was like a jigsaw puzzle trying to realistically fit these things in. I had to move a lot of stuff around. I also had to recognise that I wouldn’t be able to do as much in one area of focus as I had originally wanted. I had to go back to the earlier parts of my weekly planning and downgrade expectations.
This type of high level scheduling and compartmentalising is hard. But, it’s critical to ensuring you have a realistic and focused plan in front of you for the week ahead.
I’m now looking forward to a productive week, and then mapping out next week.
If this sounds interesting and useful, have a look at how I plan my week in detail. If you have any questions or help, get in touch. I’d be happy to help out if I can.
P.S I’m working on putting this (and a bunch of other life planning strategies) into a 6 week course / coaching program. If you want to know when it’s available, sign up for updates below.
P.P.S Here’s me and Fearne enjoying the good life in Cyprus!
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