How to do a weekly planning session

Clockwise Office Hours How to win your week before it starts with a weekly planning session

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Every first and third Wednesday, our Head of Community Anna Dearmon Kornick hosts a LIVE deep dive into a different time management topic. Then, she opens up the floor for your questions and coaching.

This week we learned how to win your week in 30 minutes or less by adding a weekly planning session to your routine.

Use a weekly planning session to combat decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is the feeling when the more decisions you make, the worse you become at making decisions. We make thousands of decisions each day. 

We start each day with a limited amount of “decision making fuel.” As we make decisions throughout the day…

  • What should I eat for breakfast?
  • What should I wear?
  • Should I schedule time with my boss to review my work?
  • What font should I use for this report?

… our amount of fuel reduces. This is why so many bad decisions occur at night: impulse shopping, late night snacking, watching too much TV, etc. 

Your weekly planning session is to make a lot of decisions at once, at the beginning of the week, instead of throughout the week when your decision-making fuel reserves are more unpredictable.

A weekly planning session is the single most important routine you can do each week because it enables you to:

  • Combat overwhelm
  • Catch communication breakdowns
  • Set boundaries
  • Identify obstacles
  • Win your week before it starts

What is a weekly planning session?

A weekly planning session is a weekly routine that includes planning your week ahead and making decisions in advance.

Michael Hyatt’s Weekly Preview and the Getting Things Done Weekly Review are two popular frameworks for a weekly planning session, proof that there’s no one “right” way to perform your weekly planning session. Instead, find a routine that works for you.

What should a weekly planning session include?

To create an agenda for your weekly planning session, begin by thinking through the past week.

Ask yourself:

  • Where is the friction in your week? When did things feel hard, and what could have been planned in advance? 
  • When did you feel frustrated? This might be a personal or a professional moment, but again, this is what we want to avoid by planning for it.
  • What are your recurring trouble spots? For example, if you know you’re not a morning person and you struggle to rush out the door, how can you make simple tweaks to help make your morning run smoother?
  • What are the common communications breakdowns? Think through your personal and professional relationships. Where did you encounter confusion or miscommunication?

How to design your weekly planning session

Create an agenda

What will you plan? Examples include deadlines, time blocks, travel time, meal planning, grocery order, workouts, walks, study time, carpool, kids’ activities, finances, goal review, reservations, childcare, and relationship building.

Working through your planned agenda in the same sequence every time helps you form a routine, and avoid skipping a step.

Gather your tools

​​What do you need to plan your week? Examples include your laptop, planning notebook, journal, fitness meal plans, grocery list, significant other’s schedule, kids’ school schedules, sports schedules, financial spreadsheet or app, goal list, pens, highlighters, or sticky notes.

You’ll avoid distraction by gathering everything you need before you get started, and you’ll increase your ability to plan all the fine details by having all the information needed to make decisions upfront.

Decide when you’ll plan your week

Put your weekly planning session on your calendar. If you want to maintain a weekly planning session, but need to be flexible about when you plan, consider using Clockwise to schedule your weekly planning session as a flexible meeting. This will enable your weekly planning session to shift as needed without it leaving your calendar. 

Decide how you’ll make it fun

​​What will keep you motivated to maintain your new routine? Examples could include playing your favorite music, eating your favorite snack, grabbing a fancy coffee, planning with a friend alongside you, rewarding yourself after, enjoying some ice cream, or putting an X on a habit tracker.

Q&A

When should I have my weekly planning session based on my energy levels?

In Office Hours 7 we learned how to zero in on our biological peak times. You should try to pair your peak energy level with your most important work. When you do your weekly planning session is going to depend on the unique rhythm of your week. If your Friday afternoons provide an opportunity to plan the week ahead, try Fridays.  If planning on Sunday helps you kick off your week feeling calm and prepared, try Sundays. You might find that Monday morning or even Wednesday afternoon could be the best time for you. What’s most important is to be consistent. 

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