My 8-step weekly planning process

A few months ago I sat down with one of my team who was feeling stressed and overwhelmed with how many tasks they had on their plate, and how little they felt they were getting done at the end of each week.

When I sat down with them to review how they spent their time, the problem was glaringly obvious…

They weren’t actively planning out how they were going to spend their time each week.

In my experience, most people are reactive in how they approach their week rather than proactive… which is a recipe for overwhelm.

In a world of emails, Slack, meetings, Skype, Facebook, iMessage, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, if you’re not actively planning how to get the most done out of your time, your time will get eaten up with things that are not productive at all.

So how can you get more out of your week, so you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot at the end of it?

Here’s the 8-step weekly planning process I use…

  1. Create a list of everything you want to get done in the week and prioritise it in order of importance
  2. Write a rough time estimate for how long each task will take
  3. Look at your calendar and calculate the amount of free time you have available and then identify which tasks you are going to get done in that time
  4. Review whether you’re happy with what you’re aiming to get done – if not, cancel or change meetings, and rearrange your schedule to make it fit
  5. Schedule in the tasks you want to get done in your calendar (actually set a meeting with yourself) to get the tasks done (tip: if you group similar tasks together, you might find that you get through the batch of tasks faster as well)
  6. Make sure to schedule time to check emails, make phone calls, have lunch, have meetings, and everything else that needs to happen in the week.
  7. Review your progress each week and continually look for ways to get even more done from your week (look at it as a process of continual improvement)
  8. Set a time each week to do this planning (I like to do it on Sundays but Mondays and Fridays also work)

By implementing this kind of weekly planning you’ll find that you’ll get a lot more completed each week.

Why?

Because you’re actively making decisions about how you’re going to spend each day before the day starts. You’re then heading into the day with a focused plan and a positive mindset (hopefully) for what you’re doing to get done. And it’s the a lot easier for you to say ‘no’ to the tasks and interruptions that will hold you back from achieving what you planned.

And keep in mind that even with the best of planning, your week isn’t going to go according to plan… so even if you achieve 75% of what you wanted to, it’s probably a lot more than you’re achieving now.

Try it out for a few weeks and see the benefits for yourself.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Director of Strategy + Innovation | Co-Founder at Web Profits
I co-founded Web Profits in 2006 with the belief that there's always a smarter and better way to do things. We're now a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore, and the United States. I'm passionate about personal and professional growth, and I like to surround myself with people who are as well. I have substantial private board experience, and have successfully launched an IPO.

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I’m the co-founder of Web Profits, investor in a number of different companies, and have successfully launched an IPO. Get access to 95% of my best life hacks.