Setting goals is an important part of achieving success. But what do you do once your goals are set? Good planning ensures that all your projects are accounted for and that you get the ball rolling on your most important priorities. In today’s article, I’ll be sharing the planning process and workflow that I use on a weekly basis. Let’s jump in!
My planning process is divided in 4 steps : Capture, Review, Plan, Do. Let’s take a look at each step.
The capture step is probably the most important part of my planning process, and a founding principle of the Getting Things Done methodology. It consists of writing down each tasks and projects as soon as they show up. This allows your mind to stay free from retaining information constantly and to be able to see all your todo’s in a trusted system. While on the go, I use the Todoist app on my phone to jot dot my tasks, as well as Google Keep for notes and project ideas. At home, I use my trusted Bullet Journal to write it all down in different collections. I wrote a dedicated article on my capture process, you can check it out here.
Every Friday, I sit down at my desk and review my uncompleted tasks and projects during my vital weekly review. I read all my tasks lists, look at my areas of focus mindmap and make sure that every roles and responsibilities are under control, check my projects list and write down the next actions I need to take in each of them. This review process allows me to make sure that no stones remain unturned and that nothing falls through the cracks. I know everything that needs to be done, and all that’s left to do is decide what to do and when.
Once all my tasks are accounted for and properly reviewed, I create my weekly plan. I start with a spread in my Bullet Journal that I tweak according to my needs. Here’s what my current weekly spread looks like :
Each day is split into two columns, morning and afternoon. On the second page, I’ve got space to write down my meals, errands to run, the current projects I am working on and tasks I want to get accomplished both personally and for Productive Happiness. I’ve also got a social media tracker for the blog.
To fill out my spread, I like to follow the ”Big Rocks” principle. First, place your big rocks, the things that are primordial to your week, your big commitments and priorities. What’s left can be filled with tasks that are less important but still pertinent. My main big rocks are my appointments. The first thing I do to fill my weekly spread is look at my calendar and write down my appointments at the right moment in my weekly spread.
According to David Allen, your calendar should only be used for time sensitive items, such as meetings or events. That’s how I like to use mine also. Here you see 3 exams that I have to take this week and a doctor’s appointment. The rest of the week is free to work on my most important projects. Up top, you see a few boxes in the all-day section of the calendar. I use this space for my editorial and social media schedule. Every Facebook and Instagram posts are planned in this section, as well as the topics for my next blog posts. I like to plan those a month in advance.
Once my appointments are marked down in my weekly spread, I’m down to my next big rocks, my most important projects. I look at my projects list and decide which ones need my attention the most this week. I write those down in the Projects box of my spread. Then, I write down the next actions that need to be taken for each one of them and decide when I can accomplish them.
I also look at a recurrent tasks list that I’ve created where I wrote down the things that always take place on certain days, such as my blog posts on Tuesdays and grocery shopping on Saturdays. I mark down everything that’s relevant to this week in my spread.
Now that my appointments and big projects are marked down, I look at my schedule and fill the blanks with my less important tasks. I’ve got a running list of all my tasks in order of priority in Todoist. Then, I plan my meals for the week and write down the errands that I need to run. My spread is now filled up! Here’s what it looks like :
My week is now completely planned. All that’s left is to actually do the things that need to be done!
My days always start the day before. At the end of the day, I look at my uncompleted tasks and at my list for the next day. I make sure that I am clear on what my top priorities are for tomorrow by looking at my Todoist dashboard. The software sorts my tasks in order of priority from top to bottom as shown in the image below :
Making clear on my goals the day before allows me to start the day laser focused and ready to jump into action mode. The first thing that I do after my Miracle Morning is to setup my daily spread and get working on my most important tasks. Those are marked by a star for priorities and an exclamation point for urgent tasks, or things I absolutely need to get done. Starred items are done first, and then I try to get as much of the other tasks done as possible, or I migrate them at the end of the day.
So there you have it, my whole workflow and planning process! If you’d like to know more about one of those steps, or if you’d like to learn how I use Todoist in more details, let me know in the comments below! To get more articles like this one directly in your inbox, signup for my mailing list here.
See you next Tuesday!
To go further :