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Increase Your Productivity: A Simple Process for Planning the Week

Recent posts have shared how to increase your productivity by prioritizing the big rocks, defining your values and goals, and prioritizing and planning based on your key roles. We also shared a simple tool to improve your work/life balance. This post will share a simple process for planning the week to ensure you increase your productivity on the important goals in each of the key roles in your life.

A Simple Process for Planning the Week

Here is the simple process I’ve been using to plan my week for at least the past ten years.

A tablet with a weekly planner on the screen and a hand with a writing stylus.
  1. Begin with a review of your annual goals and measures of success.
  2. List your Roles on a blank sheet of paper, beginning with your most important role.
  3. Identify at least one weekly action or goal for each role or project.
  4. Refer to your plans from the previous week:
    • What did you not accomplish that remains a priority?
    • What is the next step for items you did accomplish in the previous week?

Here are a few example roles and weekly plans that might appear in a weekly plan:

Role:Weekly Plan:
PersonalExercise on Monday-Wednesday-Friday
 Daily stretching
SpouseLeave work early Wednesday to make dinner for family
 Make reservations for the family vacation
Work ProjectSubmit the Progress report by Thursday
 Hold performance review meeting with Joe

Look to identify at least one weekly goal in each of your roles. As the week progresses, refer to your weekly plan at the beginning of each day. Cross off the items your complete (and feel the pleasurable release of endorphins!) as you make progress. Add new priorities with the appropriate role or work project. If you find you are completing work that isn’t a priority on your list, then you need to review our tips on priority setting.

When to Do Your Weekly Planning

There are a few times each week that most people will find are best for planning the week. We suggest setting aside time in your schedule at both times, doubling your chance that at least one of the times will work!

Most of the Personal Kaizen community works a normal Monday to Friday work week. We suggest thinking of Monday as the first day of your week, making the best times to plan your week either Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Planning for the week on a Sunday evening works in my life as an entrepreneur, but may be a drawback if you work a typical corporate job. The Sunday planning will distract you from your weekend family time. It may also add unnecessary stress and screen time. If this sounds like you, it may be wiser to schedule 30 minutes of planning time on Monday morning, either before you leave for work or just after you arrive. If neither of these times are possible for you, at least mentally complete the process above during your morning commute.

Making Weekly Planning a Habit

We want to help you make weekly planning a habit! To do this, we’re going to use tips from Rule 9 of the Personal Kaizen 10 Rules for Life.

Follow these tips:

A woman drinking from a mug while holding open a journal and breakfast on a cheeseboard in the background.
  • Select an Anchor: What are you already doing on a Sunday evening or Monday morning that you can combine with planning? Can you add this to your bedtime or breakfast routine? Scheduling a planning meeting when you arrive at work may also work for you.
  • Simplify the Behavior: Make planning easier by having your goals, roles, and plans from the previous week available when you do your planning. When you begin this habit, we recommend you only plan one weekly accomplishment for each of your roles.
  • Determine how you will Celebrate success: The final step in the ABC’s of building a new habit is celebrating the successful completion of the habit. For example, if you do your planning in the morning, celebrate the completion of your planning with your first cup of coffee.

Let us know how you do with making Weekly Planning a habit using our simple process for planning the week! Please share your experience and the best practices you use when planning the week in the comments below.

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