If you are a busy executive, you probably spend some time planning the week ahead. Most of us have a Friday or Sunday ritual that helps us get our head around what the week in front of us has in store. Unfortunately, because we are so busy, most of us don’t spend enough time on our weekly plan. There is an irony here, as this is exactly the reason we should stop and spend time planning – because we are so busy!
I have worked with several executives recently helping both themselves and their EA to design a powerful weekly plan. At the senior level, if there was one lever that I could use to boost productivity, it would be a solid weekly planning process shared by both an executive and their EA, or indeed their team. But it needs to go beyond the one-dimensional planning that they are used to.
Weekly planning serves several functions. It firstly gets you up to date. It is a time to review anything that is outstanding or incomplete, and make decisions on how to move these things forward. Secondly, it is a chance to get organised for the week ahead, and ensure that your time and attention is well spent on the right activities.
Thirdly, it should allow you to look ahead and anticipate what is coming down the track at you. Lastly, and most importantly, it provides time to reflect on the bigger picture and plan time for the important activities that are going to make a real difference.
So, if you want to reduce your stress levels, increase your focus and get set for a truly productive week, try a 4 dimensional planning process:
- Look back at last week and get up to date
- Look forward to next week and get organised
- Look ahead several weeks and anticipate
- Look up at the big picture and make sure you are working on the right stuff