It’s frustrating to get to the end of a week and feel like you haven’t really gotten anywhere, even though you’ve been working your tail off. All too often, it’s not that we haven’t been working hard — it’s that we’ve been working on things that don’t align with what matters most.
To make sure that this week’s efforts are building a bridge to a better future for yourself, give yourself 30 minutes to work through the following steps:
- Review this month’s goals or priorities. Doing this helps make sure this week’s effort pushes forward higher-level goals or priorities.
- Choose this week’s priorities and projects. At this point, you’re not putting tasks to time — you’re anchoring your priorities and goals.
- Review this week’s schedule. Two common pitfalls with weekly planning are 1) letting your schedule drive your priorities or 2) overcommitting due to a lack of awareness of available time. This step helps prevent (1) and the previous step helps prevent (2).
- Adjust your priorities and projects, as needed, to get to 5 or fewer priority projects. Most of the time, looking at this week’s schedule will prompt additional tasks and actions needed to have a successful week. You may need to do a project cage match.
- Allocate your remaining time to your priority projects and necessary admin. Many people underestimate how much admin time they need and how far a few focus blocks can take them. Time blocking helps with both.
Bonus: as your work changes, update your weekly plan. Often, the most sensible thing to do is to defer/punt projects as you go since the Sunday/Monday versions of ourselves chronically make commitments that the Thursday/Friday versions of ourselves can’t deliver.
This post is the first part of a series of “atomic essays” published on Twitter.