Planning a week’s work

Each week, I know I have a set amount of work that needs to get done. Some of it I expect to be ad hoc – clients sometimes call out of the blue with jobs that have a short turnaround – but for the planned work, I need to make sure I hit my deadlines. Here’s how I plan my week.

I’ve tried lots of electronic systems for planning. And if my calendar, which is 100% online, disappeared I’d be totally lost. But short term planning for the week is easier on paper for me. I can add tasks, cross off completed jobs, and update it as I go without having to open another app or mess around on my computer.

This sort of planning, for me, works much better on paper than online.

The main tool is a weekly planner. I bought mine from the local Kmart for a couple of bucks. Unlike a paper diary, the pages aren’t dated so I can use the same pad of planners for different purposes. We use a similar system for menu planning which drives our shopping list.

At the start of the week I fill in all the things I know I need to do for the week. These days, that includes four stories per day for Lifehacker and a couple for Macworld.

This week, I also have some other writing work for corporate clients, a newsletter to do at the end of the week and a number of errands to run. All of these are on the planner at the start of the week.

I use a pen to write them on and a highlighter to cross things off. I like the highlighter as it stands out and gives me a visual cue that things are getting done. That’s important to me. I’m a fairly visual person so seeing things checked off is important.

I also like to block off quiet time for myself and admin time. I really hate doing the monthly tax statement and reconciling bank accounts but they are necessary evils until I’m rich enough to be able to pay someone to do that for me!

How do you plan for the week? Do you use a longer planning horizon? Have you found an effective electronic system that is faster than this? I’d live to hear from you in the comments.

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