Plan your most productive week ever
As The Celebration Project makes up just a small part of my working life alongside my regular day job as a marketing consultant, I am absolutely bowled over by the recent success of the new Weekly Planner. People just love the layout and the Fiesta range watercolour decoration. It’s for sale online on The Celebration Project shop, on Amazon and eBay, on Facebook and in person if you are local to me or we are at a fair.
Why did I choose the Weekly Planner as one of the lovely products to create? I believe it’s all too easy to run around all day in a routine of work and not really have any idea at the end of the week what’s been achieved or any time to spend with family and friends, time to just do nothing, indulge in some hobbies and reflect on the good things in life – how little or big.
The Weekly Planner Design
My phone probably has more apps on it than any sane person should but I’m not a big fan of the calendar app. It’s fine for appointments but in my opinion doesn’t really replace having the whole week spread out in front of you with space to write notes, email addresses and lists.
I find it useful to see the week as a whole and to have space to not only include appointments but also to slot in time for preparing and following up on meetings. I even know some people who book down-time in the day for exercise, relaxation, a walk or time to indulge in a hobby. In our busy routines it’s often too easy to be in work mode 24/7.
The Weekly Planner pad has 50 A4 pages. Fifty pages only as we all need at least two weeks a year with nothing formally scheduled. I chose premium quality paper so that it lasts the rigours of a whole week on my desk and also ink doesn’t bleed or ghost (technical term for showing through to the back!). So it’s 120gsm rather than printer paper which is usually about 80gsm.
The pad has a card back so that when you are down to the last few pages there this a firm surface behind to rest on and protect your desk.
I tear off last week’s Weekly Planner sheet and pop it behind this week’s so that I can refer to it as needed.
If you are sharing your with the family or housemates then it can be secured to a pin board or popped up on a metal surface such as a fridge with a couple of magnets. We’ll be making some magnets early next year with The Celebration Project logo on them.
Using the Weekly Planner
Here are my tips for using the Weekly Planner effectively.
Time to Plan
I spend about 20 – 30 minutes on a Sunday evening planning the next week. I review last week’s sheet and highlight any task which need to be carried over. If you have a lot of things to get done in the next week it helps writing each one on a post-it note and them putting them into some sort of order.
I like to divide them into:
- Urgent and Important (do first)
- Non-urgent and important (do second)
- Urgent and unimportant (do third)
- Non-urgent and unimportant (either scrap or reschedule as life’s too short!)
Once you have decided on the priority of your action points you can move on to filling in your Weekly Planner.
Top 5 Goals
Once I have added the date to the top right of the Weekly Planner sheet and the dates next to each day of the week, I write my top 3 to 5 goals. Some may be carried over from last week and may come out of the urgent/important post-it note activity.
Goals are turned into projects which are going to take several hours to complete, may rely on research and collaborating with others and may not be day and/or time specific. For example a goal might be ‘book weekend away’ – this requires a chat with whoever you are travelling with, research into hotels and travel, and a few emails. If it’s a last minute trip then a specific deadline is probably a good idea but for holidays several months ahead the deadline is pretty flexible.
Examples of goals are:
- Write report for meeting with XYZ client
- Prepare for birthday party on Sunday
- Ring round for quotes for building work
- Finish Christmas shopping
Whilst you could be fancy and apply the SMART principles to these goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely), I would be much more fluid about your goals and tasks. After all just taking a few steps each day will get stuff done and writing them down will make it much easier.
Days of the Week Columns on the Weekly Planner
On the left hand side of the planner are the days of the week. There are two columns which can be used flexibly. If you have lots of appointments each day, I would use the far left column for the morning and the middle column for the afternoon and evening. If you have few appointments they can all put in the left hand column with the time and the middle column can be used for notes, emails and telephone reminders.
Tasks column on the Weekly Planner
Once I have my appointments and goals completed I am in a position to fill in my tasks. I start with the routine ones which occur each week for my clients as I can copy these over from the previous sheet. I then add in tasks such as invoicing, paying bills, ad hoc work and home related jobs such as buying presents, sending cards, ordering marketing materials, writing blog post, etc, etc.
Finally, I like this quote from the Lifehack website:
When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re at home, be at home. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-steps-plan-your-week.html
When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re at home, be at home. Read the full Article