Friday really is key to any success I experience week to week. I used to plan on Sunday evenings. However, I often found myself forgetting things over the weekend, my family resisted “meeting” on a Sunday evening, I would be tired etc… Then I read an article suggesting using Friday afternoons for planning. When I worked full-time outside the home, Friday afternoon was perfect. However, now that I am self-employed and work from my home, I find Friday mornings to be far more effective.
Why Friday planning? Planning the following week on Friday helps me release all the little “reminders” running through my brain. I get them written down on my master to do list or on the weekly page. Second, anything critical I have failed to take care of can be handled Friday mid-morning or afternoon.
Am I always able to Friday plan? No. There are occasions when I am forced to schedule a client, have a meeting or a family event arises. When that happens I try to leave some time on Saturday morning to do what I would normally do on a Friday morning. Truth be told though, more often than not I can keep 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. or so open for planning.
What Does Friday planning entail?
- Go through email making certain I have written down tasks, printed or saved any attachments/documents I need, filed correspondence I need to keep in an email folder, place critical communications requiring action the following week in my @ToDo email folder, and delete everything else possible.
- Process any papers that have stacked up in the Miscellaneous file box. Yes, even an organizer stacks papers. Processing these papers is very similar to the process for email. Anything requiring action the following week is hole punched and placed in my PlannerPad organizer.
- Sit down with iphone calendar and PlannerPad monthly calendar to “sync”. I do not typically carry my planner with me everywhere (although it is usually in the car). I use my iphone calendar for scheduling monthly events/appointments. However, since I am a paper person, a visual person, and driven by lists, I transfer information to my paper planner.
- Review the monthly calendar and transfer meeting/appointment times to the appropriate weekly pages and add to the weekly lists specific tasks that are necessary to complete for that meeting/appointment. For example: If I have a board meeting coming up I note the board meeting on the appropriate week. I then back track to the previous week or week and half and note tasks like: send out meeting reminder, draft agenda, make copies of documents…
- Every other week I also go over my master to do list marking off any items completed and making certain I have not let go forgotten.
While this may all sound a bit overwhelming to you, I challenge you to try. I promise about three weeks into it you will find yourself staying on top of tasks, minimizing the amount of paper stacked, etc…
Friday planning sets me up for success Monday morning. Sunday I can relax, rest, practice Sabbath. Sunday evening I can glance at my weekly pages and know that my plan of action is in place. Come Monday morning I can jump straight into work.