Tranquility By Tuesday #2: Plan On Fridays

Tranquility By Tuesday #2: Plan On Fridays
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During the reading Tranquility By Tuesday* book, I almost blew through the second rule, which is Plan On Fridays. I told myself that I already planned my Monday-start week on Sundays. Why on earth would I want to make it two days earlier?

The Case For Planning a Week

In the first part of the chapter, Laura Vanderkam goes over why you would want to plan at all. I’m going to assume that if you are reading this blog, that you understand why you do that little productivity cornerstone.

But she also makes the case for planning a week at a time. The real benefit to doing this is to give yourself a way to fit in a reasonable amount of tasks and projects.

I have found this to be good, even if it just blocking out the calendar so you have an idea of what is coming at you. But there is benefit in planning when you are going to tackle your personal stuff, too, not just being aware of the appointments.

Friday Planning

When I first saw the title, I assumed that she was going to say that you had to plan the Saturday immediately following. No, the actual plan is that you are planning the upcoming week and the weekend following it.

I do this with menu planning and it works well, but I didn’t think about applying to other planning.

Laura Vanderkam’s case for Friday planning is that you’re winding down the work week. No one starts anything new at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Why not use that time so that you can hit the ground running on Monday?

My Resistance

My resistance to this rule was that it usually took me a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to go through the projects (Trello), tasks (Remember the Milk) and calendar (Google) to make a plan. I didn’t want to give up my Friday evening for something so mundane as planning!

And I never planned my week at work. I go to work, I work on what is the project of the minute, I attend meetings and go home.

Work Planning

I told myself I was going to give each one of these rules a fair shot. So I started with work planning. I laid out all my meetings on a grid, and…

Well, the next thing I did is email my boss and say, “Do you realize that 45% of my time is spent in status meetings for the 5 managed projects you have me assigned to?” And those meetings were ones, where every single day I said, “I have nothing to report. My tasks are post-implementation.”

With the work planning, I was able to show that my work was being negatively impacted by the sum total of the meetings. The project managers (all four of them) pushed back. “It’s only an hour once or twice a week.” But they didn’t realize that it was an hour or two for multiple projects, and that adds up.

Personal Planning

This took a bit of doing. I knew that I shouldn’t be spending two hours on planning every week. So how did I change this?

The first thing was to completely overhaul and simplify my task system. I rethought my workflows and the flow of information into Remember The Milk and adjusted it accordingly.

I tried planning on my Google calendar, but things got confusing quickly. So I made a simple Excel form that I printed out, and now I do the planning on that piece of paper with markers.

I mark off my set appointments, and then I figure out where my project work is going to go. I make sure to leave space to exercise as well as take care of the house.

The Results

I have started to plan my weeks at work. It’s a great thing in that last 15 minutes before signing off on Friday.

I’ve moved my personal planning to Friday, and I find that it is giving me more freedom to think about what I am going to do during the week. I have been exercising more regularly, cleaning the house, and working on my projects.

Definitely a win!

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