Having a good weekly plan is the center piece in becoming a good time manager.
By effectively batching tasks, setting deadlines, priorities and getting an overview you will greatly reduce the time you waste during the day, giving you more free time to spend on more pleasurable activities.
1. Write down all the tasks you do in a week.
List every recurring task you have, everything you do each day or week. For example; Checking your email, reading the industry paper, Monday staff meetings, sales prospecting, coaching and so on.
2. Assign estimated times for how long each task takes.
Naturally the time a task takes varies; checking your email for example will sometimes go very quickly and at other times might take hours.
But setting an average estimate will make it easier to make your weekly plan.
3. Create 7 sub lists one for each day of the week.
4. All the tasks that need to be done a specific day/time add them to that list.
For example if you have a staff meeting every morning at 10 a.m. put that on the Monday list, if you have a yoga class every Friday put that on your Friday list and so on.
5. Go through the rest of the tasks on your list and start portioning them out to the specific days.
Use your time estimates to balance your days so that you don’t have disproportionally hard days.
6. Go through your daily plans and try to batch tasks and create continuity.
If you can, try to put the same type of tasks on the same day so that you can get it all cleared. For example prospecting for a salesman can be done Mondays, a CEO could try to put all staff meetings Mondays or Fridays and so on. The more you do this the more time you will save since every time you start and stop a task you waste time. By planning your week to give you as few switching between tasks as you can.
7. Balance your days so that the tasks assigned will take a reasonable amount of time to complete.
Remember to take into account your energy levels when doing this, some people are very tired and slow at work Mondays but faster later in the week, for others it is the opposite. Don’t try to force yourself to do as much on a slow day as an easy day, instead put more activities on the days where you know you have a lot of energy.
8. Create boxes of time fear each task or create task groups
For example tasks X,Y and Z will be done between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. while tasks A and B will be done between 10 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. and so on.
This way you will know what you should be doing every minute of every day and you will have the ability to see how an unexpected event will change your plans. If you have to move your time table up 1 hour because of an unexpected meeting, that is okay because you still have a great overview.
This is the technique I use when creating my weekly plans and it has worked wonders for me.
What you can use together with this is creating a monthly and/or a yearly plan to support the weekly plan. Since all tasks don’t need to be done weekly it is often a good idea to add this layer.
We will be covering monthly and yearly lists more in the future.
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