Weekly planning. It’s something that many of us might not be familiar with. Especially if we’re having to deinstitutionalize ourselves from the academic and/or corporate world. But the thing is that planning is a vital element to be successful in self made career.
So let’s see what Tony has to say on the matter:
“I Don’t Have Enough Time.”
When I was first getting started with LTD, one of the first CDs I ever heard had a Diamond talking about how people have a top few excuses about why they don’t want to start The Business. The number one reason was this phrase.
The CD continued, “There is no bigger killer of dreams than those five words”.
But the truth is, everyone that has ever lived has had the same amount of minutes in a given day and in a given week. Lack of time never stopped Picaso from painting, it never stopped Steve Jobs from creating and building Apple, and it sure hasn’t stopped Tony Robbins from connecting with tens of thousands of people (yearly) from all over the world.
So the question is… how do they do it?
When it comes to time, they have a strategy. Most of us don’t. In fact, I’m still learning to keep an ever more productive calendar and this is why I wanted to share the strategy with you.
The first thing to do is stop telling yourself that busy people are special. They’re not. They simply have found a strategy that works for them. Then they execute, adjust, and execute again.
Most people go into the week with little planning going into what their week looks like. At best, they have a jumbled list of tasks.
I fear, however, that many of us were taught to act this way. From day one in Kindergarten, we’ve been told when it’s time to stop something and then move onto the next task. Those who went to college had even more of this ingrained into our heads.
This is one reason doing something you love is not easy. We’re not used to setting our own schedules.
If you’re wanting to do something on your own, you need to have a strategy, otherwise you’re going to sink back to default which is waiting for someone to tell you to do something.
However, you should realize that the strategy that successful people have is not just for them. You can learn it too.
5 Step Weekly Planning Method
So below you’ll see the overview of the different steps. While we note that many execute, learn, and then execute again, there are 3 other important steps.
1. Commit To Success
2. Be Present
3. Reflect on the Past
4. Plan the Future
5. Fill in the Gaps
So let’s dive in.
1. Commit To Success
It all starts with the Routine
When you’re committing to success, there are two vital parts you need to take note of. First and foremost is the actual point in the week in which you do the planning that we’re going to be laying out here. Personally, I like to do it on Sunday. Sundays have always felt so “Ugh, here comes another week” most of my life that I want to replace that feeling with a “Oh snap. Here’s the stuff I’m looking forward to doing this week!”
However, if Sunday doesn’t look good for you, then perhaps the first thing on Monday might be better?
Either way, you’ll need an hour to do this. (Possibly up to 2 hours if you’re just beginning your journey and aren’t in a groove yet!) Also, make sure you do it before checking emails or any other weekly tasks.
Action Step 1: Write down your planning time and schedule it. That’s the first thing you have to commit to each week. Committing to yourself.
2. Be Present
Building the Framework (Visualizing the Big Picture)
So, as I’ve said plenty of times on NI before, you always want to start with the end in mind, right? When you get there, how will you know? What does success actually look like? Where do you want to be in the next 3 to 10 years? What do you want to be remembered for? Think of these items as your framework for what you’re doing. Without the foundation, whatever you do this week won’t be anchored properly.
In fact, it might help to put this in some sort of visual aide so that you remember quickly it from week to week.
Action Step 2: When meeting with yourself, reconstruct your goals and framework to get there. This first step should be relatively short. 2-5 minutes at most.
3. Reflect on the Past
What Were Your Wins?
First part you can look forward to is celebrating your wins. People rarely take the time to appreciate the things they’ve accomplished before diving into what’s next. Personally, I know I’m horrible with this. Learn how to be proud of things you’ve done. Learn how to give yourself a compliment – a good grade.
Here’s something that was a win for me last week: I was able to edit all of the first AoL podcast using a software I didn’t know much about. Had a awesome Fizzle meeting with Maria and Jon Ridge. Talked about a business opportunity he’s excited about. Also looked into becoming an online tutor. I feel that tutoring and teaching is a great way to connect with people.
Action Step 3a: Take 5 to 10 minutes listing 5 to 10 wins that you had this week.
What Did You Learn?
Sometimes a win isn’t actually a win. Sometimes it’s something your learned. What major things did you learn about? Any quotes you want to share? Or how about things that inspired you? Or possibly found out about people you’d like to connect with? You need to keep track of these things!
Something that I learned this past week: It doesn’t matter how many people are signed up for an event. If it’s free, there’s a good chance they’re not going to come. I had 4 other people besides Jon, Maria, and myself listed for the Fizzle Meetup. None of them showed. Would be interested in finding out why.
Action Step 3b: Take 2-5 minutes going through any notes, shares, and ideas from last week. List all the lessons that come to mind.
What Didn’t Happen?
Finally, here’s the part that many dread in their day to day life. Funny enough, though, it’s actually what most of us have to deal with when it comes to reviews at our careers and even in school. So the reason we hate it so much is because that’s what we’re used to is bad news in our reviews.
However, we should only care about the things that actually mattered. Don’t worry about the small stuff.
The stuff that went south – did it happen for a good reason (maybe other important things happened?), or was it a bad reason (getting sucked into social media debate that lasted on and off all day long?). What could you have done to avoid it? If you see yourself going down that path again, what can you change?
Something that didn’t go my way last week: I wanted to record another one or two more conversations for the podcast. However, due to weird technological issues, I wasn’t able to get either. Looking forward to recording them in the future. Also wanting to go through some of Pat’s newbie stuff so I can remember how bad he was so I don’t feel so terrible myself!
Action Step 3c: For 2-5 minutes come up with a list of things that didn’t go right and what you can do to improve next time. For bonus points, you can start taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong – even a meteor strike.
4. Plan the Future
Determine Outcomes for the Week
We’ve already looked at where we are by thinking about our goals and developing the framework to get there. We also have quickly looked at the past. Now it’s time to look at what’s coming down the pipeline.
A good amount of outcomes to do on a weekly basis is probably 5 to 7 items. If you’re thinking of the Relationship Pillar, maybe you could start that new dating site profile. Or if you’re looking at the Health Pillar, perhaps something like getting a gym membership might be a good goal. You get to decide how big or small they are. Whatever they are, make sure that they’re propelling you to your long term goals. So surfing Reddit all day might not necessarily be a great decision.
A big goal for me this week is to get this post out on time. I’ll be having some connectivity related problems this next week and I just want to make sure that before I don’t have access, that I get it posted.
Action Step 4a: For 5 to 10 minutes, make a list of 5 to 7 outcomes that you want to get done for the week.
Schedule Everything You Want to Get Done – Seriously.
This step is one I struggle with. I have issues with scheduling. However, everything I do takes up time in my day. However, while most of us realize this, we typically don’t try to do anything about. I would guess that if you took all of those 5 to 7 outcomes that you just listed that you’d probably need a lot more time in a day then you actually have.
This is the reason we feel that we never have enough time in a day. While we might just make a list, most of us usually underestimate how much time something is going to take. Since everything takes time, we need to assign actual time to those items that matter the most to us.
Action Step 4b: For the next 5 to 15 minutes, look at your 5 to 7 tasks you just listed in Part a. Spread those out throughout your week while doing only 1-3 per day. Now actually reserve the time on your calendar. The key is assigning real time to each task.
5. Fill in the Gaps
Make Room for your Miscellaneous Items for the Week
So you have your outcomes and then broke them apart into smaller manageable daily lists. Next, you have to fill in other stuff. Have a meeting you need to go to? Put that in. Have a mastermind that you’re a part of? Put that in. Taking classes from Fizzle? Get those in there.
By the end of this process, you shouldn’t have any stray lists or tasks in your head or on stickies around your desk.
Also, while you’re at it, you might want to take a little bit of time to touch base with some people this week.
Ask yourself two questions:
- Who can I add value to this week?
- Who can help me get done what I have coming up?
Do both of these weekly as I can tell you that you can’t keep all your good ideas in your head. You’ll forget by morning (even if you don’t you’ll definitely forget by the weekend!).
Action Step 5: For the last 5-10 minutes, look at what’s left on your to do list*. Now looking back at your schedule. Think about where you could fit these little tasks and connections in. Schedule all of them!
*A multi platform tool that will help you organize your to-do lists is Trello. You can use Trello on your desktop, laptops, mobiles – whatever.
So here’s the deal, even with this strategy, you might have some small questions in getting everything in that you want to get in. So let me see if we can predict those:
Q: Everything keeps taking longer than I expect! What can I do to make better predictions?
A: As Frank Forte would say, “The Analytical in me thinks that if you believe you’ll take an hour to make a blog post, you better schedule it for an hour and a half or two”.
Q: So, I got behind on day one. I had everything planned out just like you said. Now what?
A: Did you have buffer time? If you planned on having a 45-60 minute conversation, did you leave the extra 15 minutes of buffer time? They might have wanted to talk longer.
Q: So, I put in buffer time and I still am not getting everything done I want to. Now what?
A: You’re just going to have to be ok in not getting everything done this week. Nobody’s perfect.
Q: I find that by the time I get to some important tasks in the day, that my energy is giving up to do them. How do I get them done?
A: If you find yourself not having enough energy to get things done (I’m a night owl naturally, I don’t have that problem), you might want to get everything done at the first part of your day. You can even take that another step and do all your important tasks at the beginning of your week.
That’s It. There’s my strategy. Now, what are your hacks?
Think I’ve missed anything? Is there anything you’d add or need cleared up? Let me know in the comments below.