Get Valuable Time Back by Planning Your Week in Rhythm

By Jessica Wishart

Time management

dateTue, Jul 13, 2021 @ 11:02 AM

There are never enough hours in the day. I can't seem to keep up with it all. I'm constantly fighting fires and don't have time to focus on strategic initiatives. I'm missing time with my family or staying up late to try to catch up on work.
team meetings
If you can relate, it may be time to take a step back and put some planning time into your weekly routine. If that sounds crazy—taking more time out of your already packed schedule to plan—then hear me out. Picture the most productive person you know—someone who publishes a new book every year, someone who has an impressive job and manages a growing family, or someone who is otherwise killing it in your eyes. That person has the same number of hours in their day that you do. Brene Brown has 24 hours every day; the same goes for Elon Musk, Lin Manuel Miranda, Richard Branson, and every other person in the world. All you have to do is figure out how to spend that time so you feel productive and happy, too.
By "planning your week," here's what I mean:
  1. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour at the end of the beginning of the week. 
  2. Review your goals. What's the status of each one this week? Are you projecting that you are on track to achieve it?
  3. Review your tasks. Have you completed anything this week? Do you need to move anything around? Do you have time set aside on your calendar to complete any upcoming tasks for the week? Any roadblocks that could interfere with your ability to get those things done?
  4. Reflect on the week. Take a few minutes to write out your victories from the week; celebrate your successes and savor the positives. Clearly document the few things you must get done in the next week. Notice I did not say to transcribe each appointment on your calendar into a list. Looking at all the inputs (your goals, your tasks, your personal commitments, your regular routine, and meetings on your calendar), what are the 3-5 most important priorities for the week?
Once you get into the discipline of doing this practice each week, you will see some real, concrete benefits:
  1. You'll feel less stress and anxiety. If you've ever lain awake on a Sunday night with random thoughts of all the things you have to do swirling in your head, making a concrete plan to tackle the week on Friday before you leave for the weekend can work wonders for your mental health. You don't have to worry, because you have a plan for getting it all done.
  2. You'll be able to focus. Taking a short period of time to plan and prioritize will clarify what's most important and make it easier for you to get the important work done and save the small things for later (or delegate or not do them). If you've ever spent a day just responding to emails and phone calls and other people's urgent needs, you know you feel that you've worked all day and accomplished nothing. Carving out time each day for your important work ensures you spend your time on high-value activities.
  3. You'll get more done in less time. Slowing down to go faster actually does work. You'll spend less of your workday wondering, "What should I do now?" and more time moving from one high-value activity to another. It can feel overwhelming to look at a mountain of work and wonder where to start; setting the plan in advance takes out some uncertainly and allows you to dive in on a key task to help you build momentum.
team meetings
Here are some tips for making this habit effective and sticking to it:
  1. Plan your planning time. Put it on your calendar at the same time each week and protect it. Your weekly meeting with yourself is just as critical as your weekly meeting with your team or your boss...maybe even more critical.
  2. Be realistic. Don't try to plot out every minute of your week. Leave buffer time in your schedule for those meetings that run longer than you thought, unexpected personal calls, time for lunch, or a quick break away from your computer. Even when you are intentionally planning your week to spend time on the most important work, you do still have to answer emails and deal with things that pop up unexpectedly, so put time in your week for that, too.
  3. Do what works for you. Some people I know have elaborate color coding systems and multiple apps to manage their workloads. Some are happy with broad strokes and would get completely bogged down in the details. A lot of what makes you happy and productive is specific to you, so experiment with different techniques and find what works. Just commit to revisiting your progress on your goals, updating your tasks, and planning your week at the very least.
Finally, here's why you should plan your week in Rhythm:
  1. See the forest for the trees. In Rhythm, your goals are connected to your team's goals and your company's long-term strategy. You can easily see what's important and why to help cut through the noise.
  2. Stay aligned with the team. If you're sold on the benefits for you as an individual to plan your week, think of that magnified by each person on your team doing the same thing. You'll be aligned on the most important work each person is focused on and can quickly see progress on each person's goals. This is especially true for teams who work together on important goals and spend a lot of time communicating updates that Rhythm lets you see in an instant.
  3. All in one. You don't have to track goals in one system, manage tasks in another, and plan your week in a paper journal. You can effectively plan your week with just Rhythm and your calendar. That's it!
I hope these insights will help you feel less stressed and more productive. The simple and powerful practice of planning your week can make a huge difference in your life, If you don't believe me, that's fine! Just try it out, and see for yourself.
Learn How to Run Weekly Meetings like a Pro
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images