If you're living a busy life, you're not alone. Most people feel like they're going 100 miles an hour during the week, with very little time to think about anything other than the work at hand. This can be a dangerous routine. If you don't know where you're headed, it could lead to trouble. The best way to maintain focus and correct direction is to make a weekly organization appointment with yourself. Scheduling an appointment to review the week and to plan for the next week is a great way to ensure your success.
Be intentional and write out what you will review.
As part of your weekly organization process, make a list of the items and areas you need to review on a weekly basis. It's helpful to review your overarching goals every time you start your review process. Was what you did in the previous week in line with what you want to be achieving? If not, you may need to see how you can align better with what you want to achieve. Go through your list and review your important areas of emphasis. Be aware of what you're accomplishing and how much progress you're making.
As you review, what's important is measured.
It's easy for us to maintain an ambiguous approach. If we don't know specifically how we are succeeding or failing, it's easy to think that we're doing okay. That approach, however, doesn't give us the results we need or deserve. We need to be able to measure what we are doing. If we are wanting to put money in the bank for savings, it's not good enough to say that we're going to put money away when we have some extra cash available.
Instead, if we have a goal that we're going to put $100,000 in the bank to save for a rainy day, and that we will put 15% of our monthly earnings away for that goal, that's a measurable goal that can be easily tracked. This includes anything with cash, but it also includes those things that can be “checked off a list”. If you need to complete repairs on the house, list them out and measure how much progress you're making on your repairs every week. As Peter Drucker, the famous business professor, wrote years ago, “What gets measured gets managed.”
Don't make the process difficult or complicated.
You don't need to overwhelm yourself with a lot of details. In fact, you want this weekly organization process to be simple and easily understood. Avoid trying to cover every goal and detail that you have. Working on goals requires a special day set aside for that work. Instead, you need to narrow your goals and objectives to what you need to accomplish for the week. There's nothing with the idea that you need to work on your “stretch goals” that are difficult to reach. However, don't be overwhelmed with a lot of stuff that will distract from what you need to get done. The rule of thumb is this: you should be able to tell others about what you will get done in the same time you would present your “elevator pitch” – which is 30 seconds or less.
Reward yourself when you meet your weekly goals.
You need to reward yourself when you do well. Your mind and body need to feel that relief and thrill of achievement. You need to feed into that healthy addiction. Pick what you enjoy and what would be healthy and beneficial for yourself for doing a great job. Give yourself some kudos, especially in writing.
Maintain written records of what you're doing with this weekly review.
You want to write things down and track progress as you go along with your weekly organization process. If you have a journal, it helps for you to write down the various achievements you accomplished in this process. It also helps determine what you will be doing this coming week. Maintain notes and tracking documents in a good software program, such as Evernote. Keep everything in one central place so that you can easily go to it when you need to review what you've done and what you plan to do.
Make this time a regularly scheduled day and time.
Don't just do this process “when it works out.” Schedule a specific day and time and shut out everything during that time. Make sure you have all of your resources on hand. Then go through the process. As time goes on and you complete the work every week, you'll find that it goes faster and smoother as you figure out the patterns. Make sure you don't skip key areas of the process, including the review of what's important and what you're trying to accomplish.
Just like a ship on the ocean, or a jet plane on a long trip, you need to have a plan for where you're going. One little bump can throw you off course. If you don't realign your direction with your plans, you'll stay off course. Consistently check your current direction and performance against your plans and you'll find if you're aligned or not.
What works for you on your weekly planning sessions?