You’ve heard sayings like “The best offense is a good defense”, right? Here’s a new one to add to the list: “The best daily plans come from weekly planning.”
To achieve any significant goal, you need to look beyond the day-to-day cycle of actions and reactions and make a larger plan. These five steps will help you get more out of your weekly planning sessions, and then extend the benefits to your daily life:
- Review What Matters Most
Your life should include the things you value. Time with family and friends, developing your hobbies and interests, and building your career to support it all—these actions succeed when they draw on your deepest motivations. Tasks imposed from outside this core set of values are the tasks you’re most likely to delay or ignore. As you begin your weekly planning session, take a moment to review what matters most to you.
- Evaluate Last Week
Evaluate the balance between each area of your life, how you’re spending time on work, relationships, and personal development. Did you take on too much this week? How could last week have been more successful? Do you need to delegate more tasks? These questions and others like them let you shape your task lists for the coming week.
- Check the Master Task List
Take a look at any goals you’re tracking on your Master Task List, and review the results from last week. Your Master Task List should have all your recurring tasks for the week listed, such as your carpool schedule or routine weekly work meetings. With all these written down, you won’t double-book yourself when drafting your daily plans.
- Complete Your Weekly Compass Card
Completing a Weekly Compass Card is a great way to focus on what matters most.
Each card has a space for you to list all the roles in your life, from friend to parent, from co-worker to volunteer. Beneath each role, there is space to list out the goals and tasks you need to accomplish this week in that role. As the name implies, completing the Weekly Compass Card helps keep outside demands and personal distractions from pulling you off course as you work toward your goals.
- Schedule the “Big Rocks”
It’s a classic object lesson: you can’t fit big rocks into a jar full of sand, but put the big rocks in first, and you can fill up the space around them. Keep this principle in mind as you commit tasks to your planner pages. At this point, you have your Master Task List and Weekly Compass Tasks ready to schedule. Once those are in, you can plan your other important and fulfilling activities to round out your week.
As you develop strong weekly planning sessions, your life will have a new sense of perspective. A good weekly plan helps you see past the daily grind to where life’s milestones await. And that perspective makes all the difference.