I’m back today with another instalment in our series on productivity tools for leaders. Today’s idea is a very simple, yet powerful, way to optimize and manage your workload. Take time at the beginning of the week to plan out your next seven days.
Plan out your week
This strategy is a natural transition from the strategy I shared with you in our last video in this series – blocking your schedule. At the beginning of your work week, look at your calendar for the week and complete the following steps:
- Decide how many work hours in total you have available. In most cases, it is eight hours per day for five days, so 40 hours. But yours may differ.
- Then determine what items have already been scheduled into your work week – meetings, events, other fixed commitments. Block these in your calendar.
- Now schedule in 10% of your available total hours available for strategic projects (high impact/hard to implement tasks). In the situation where your work week has 40 hours, this will translate into four hours. Block these in your calendar.
- Then schedule in 10-15% of your available total hours as “office hours”, times when you will be available to your staff for any questions, concerns or discussions. Again, in the situation where your work week has 40 hours, this will translate into 4-6 hours. Block these in your calendar.
- Leave the rest of your calendar open for the inevitable crises and unexpected priorities that seem to come up at the last minute.
Now, be prepared. Despite your deliberate and thoughtful planning, stuff WILL come up that will throw your great plan off kilter. BUT, the ACT of planning at the beginning of the week will still put you in a better position to manage your workload than if you did nothing at all.
Adjust this strategy to fit how you work
Planning at the start of the week is not set in stone. Some leaders I know have been very successful in implementing this process at the end of the week for the following week. If that works better for you instead of at the start of the work week, then absolutely, do it then. But do it! It is amazing how this one small action can help you manage your workload so much more efficiently than not.
Since the start of the year, I’ve been sharing a variety of tools specifically to help leaders in getting stuff done. Here are links to some of my recent posts:
- Difficulty getting stuff done? Block your schedule
- Trouble overcoming procrastination? Use “the salami technique”
- Or just access the whole series here: Productivity tools for leaders video series