In a recent coaching session with a senior client, we had an interesting conversation about hygiene. You see, he admitted to me that he had fallen off the weekly planning routine he’d built up with his EA. Before Christmas they had regularly put time aside each week to plan the week ahead. But over the Christmas break and into the New Year they had let it drop, even though they had found it an extremely beneficial routine. I questioned why this had happened.
My client’s response was that they usually put time aside on Fridays, but the last few had been pretty busy. I asked him if he had showered on those Friday mornings. He looked at me funny, but admitted that of course he had. ‘So’, I said. ‘You didn’t compromise on having a shower on those busy days, but you did compromise on your weekly planning routine. Why was that do you think?’.
His immediate response was that if he didn’t have a shower he would stink, and that wouldn’t be acceptable in front of peers, his team and clients. After more thought, he added,
‘So, do you think my effectiveness might also begin to stink if I don’t make time for planning?’
Absolutely. Weekly planning is about work ‘hygiene’. It’s about keeping your schedule clean, your priorities clean, your inputs clean and your thinking clean. If you don’t stop and take time to plan, the quality of your work begins to stink. You work more reactively. You miss deadlines. Things slip through the cracks. You get stressed.
So, if you identify with this dilemma, make weekly planning a non-negotiable. You wouldn’t go to work without a shower, so don’t start your week without taking time to plan.