The most common objection I hear to writing a weekly plan is that it never works because something always gets in the way. It’s always impossible because “life’s just not that simple” or “no two weeks are ever the same”. The problem is that people see a plan as some kind of timetable written in stone; a strict set of rules for them to adhere to. And when something comes up that needs to be done and it’s not on the plan or something unexpected happens the whole thing gets discarded.
But a good plan isn’t rigid; it’s flexible and adjustable. A good plan is a basic structure which enables you to work efficiently and stay focused on the things you really need to get done. It will help you get the most out of your day/week and stay on track no matter what happens. So, for a really effective plan you should follow these simple steps:
Plan your week on a Sunday. Planning on a Sunday night (or any time on Friday afternoon or during the weekend) means you can hit the ground running on a Monday morning.
Prioritise your workload. Know exactly what MUST be done that day/week and what can be moved if it needs to be. Choose the top 3 things that you know are the most important that week.
Time Block. Assign chunks of time to each task (or each category of tasks – such as social media planning) so that you can focus on one thing for a substantial period. Make those time periods as big as you can so you can really get to grips with the task at hand.
Include all your regular meetings and activities. It’s no use planning to do 2 hours of marketing from 1-3pm if you always have to leave to do the school run at 2:30. Putting the main events in will mean you don’t double book your time. (Remember to include travel time – unless you can fit in a motivational audiobook or client call while you’re in the car!!)
Make it personal. Don’t plan to write blog posts at 6am if you know you’re not at your most creative in the morning. Plan your time to suit you and how you work best. Otherwise you’ll get frustrated and achieve less than you could.
Review your plan daily so that you know it’s still relevant and working for you.
Be Flexible. Most importantly don’t give up on the plan! If something unexpected happens then just adjust your time blocks accordingly. If you’ve prioritised your tasks effectively you’ll know which actions can be safely moved to the next week and which ones can’t.
At the end of the day a good plan is a framework to get you focused and help you get the most out of your time. But a good plan should also be flexible, personal and work with you too otherwise it simply won’t be effective!