Where Should You Do Your Weekly Planning?
Audio Player Links: S1:EP7
Clicking on the links below will fast track you to each specific part of the show.
Ask Your Weekly Planning Question
& Become Part of the Show!
Episode Show Notes: Where Should You Do Your Weekly Planning?
Is there a secret place that you should do your weekly planning at, should you do it in a bunker, at a coffee shop in your backyard by yourself with a big group of people?
What, Shane, is the most optimal time and place to do my weekly planning?
And where should it happen?
Welcome back. Previously on Episode five of This Week's Plan. We covered a question that burns and a lot of people's mind.
They ask me all the time, they say, well, when should I be doing my weekly planning?
I mean, when is the best time to do my weekly planning?
So if you miss that, make sure you go back and catch that, because we answered that with five possibilities for you, five possibilities of when you can do your weekly planning.
I share with you my favourite and I share the one that I detest the most, the one that turns me off the most after many years of horrible trial and error. So if you if you need to understand that, go back to that episode. If you want to find out what my favourite and my least favourite is, you'll get that there as well.
And in that episode as well, I also encourage you to try out a social experiment and see how it goes for you.
Where is the best place to plan my week?
Where should I be planning my week out?
I got you covered today. We have three possible answers.
The first is clocks and calendars.
Everything happens in clocks and calendars.
Number two, we're going to talk about the digital landscape and digital planners and where you should be planning in there.
And number three, we're going to cover the analog old school style planners. Yes, people still write with ink on paper. It is true.
First question for you, though, is vanilla or sundae?
Are you a vanilla ice cream type of person? You just love to sit down with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and just enjoy it and savor it. Or are you a sun kind of person where you want three or four different types of ice cream and toppings and whipped cream and you just load it up with anything possible that would fit in the bowl?
The answer to that's going to tell you:
Are you a person of variety or a person of consistency?
That is going to give us a clue to answering where you should be doing your weekly planning?
The physical place of where you should do your weekly planning largely depends on you.
You can do it at your desk. You can do it at a coffee shop. You can do it in an airplane. You can do it on the back of an envelope or a napkin. You can get all high tech and fancy. The key out of all of those options is to make the space work for you.
I'll say that again, make the space work for you.
Let's dive into number one; clocks and calendars.
Let's all agree for a minute that all productivity, all personal professional effectiveness comes down to clocks and calendars. There's nothing you do in this world that isn't found in a clock or in a calendar. Think about it. The unit of time in a specific block or for a duration of time exists in a clock that clock measures five minutes, ten minutes, an hour, three hours. And it just keeps going on and on.
And we are all blessed with the same equivalency of twenty four hours a day on this earth.
The second unit of time is in a place. It's the place that something happens. A specific container a day, a half day, a week, a month, a quarter, a year. We're really familiar with that. Now, the big challenge is that some people feel that this is a constrictive and restrictive process. They want to be free.
They want to wake up in the morning and do my day as I want. That's one way to live. And that works for some people that have the luxury of that.
Other people need containers. They need spaces and places to be productive, to be highly effective, to be creative and to actually get something done that's worthwhile.
The power goes to the person who makes sense of all of this.
The power goes to the person who in advance says, I intend to do this, I want to create this, I want to solve this and goes out and accomplishes it.
You'll probably end up in this situation running into more scarcity of time. If that's the case for you, it typically means that you have to prioritize differently and you have to become a better negotiator of clocks and calendars.
It's really what it comes down to. But when you do that, my friend, you will gain new levels of freedom.
That is really exciting because then you will be able to feel free that on a Thursday afternoon you want your afternoon to go a certain way. You want to stop working at a certain. You want to go play, you want to work out, you want to go somewhere, and that freedom will be given to the person that effectively manages and understands the dimensions of clocks and calendars.
Number two is our digital places and our digital spaces.
What I want you to think about today is keeping everything in one to three digital places.
You may say that is incredibly tough. I have slack, Base Camp, Asana, Trello boards, Outlook, or Gmail. I use 10 different note programs. I carry a binder full or a bag full of notes around with me all the time.
How on earth are you proposing that I do this? I'm going to tell you that my digital places is Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft OneNote.
Now I'll tack on a bonus. I have my email, my calendar and then I have my capture device for my notes, which is largely Microsoft Onenote. It's simple and it's effective.
I never use the tasks function in Outlook. I stopped using this about eight or nine years ago because I realized that that was just plain silly. If you want to know why I think that, send me an email and I will be happy to have that conversation with you.
But it really is because our brain processes things in a certain way and we have to understand how our brain moves through things in a logical order. And tasks don't easily fit into clocks and calendars because a task is just a little line and a little computer program somewhere, and it sits in the back of your brain and it irritates your brain.
Clocks and calendars is where your brain makes perfect sense of things and says, Great, I know that at one o'clock on Thursday afternoon I will be doing the X, Y, Z thing. I know on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. it's time to do the one, two, three thing.
Your brain loves that. You love that. Other people love that because it creates dependability. The big thing about digital places is that it's there to clear your mind. The goal of this process is to clear your mind, free it up, get all the junk out of it, get all the nominal stuff out of it.
We want to free our mind for big tasks. We want to create space in our mind for deep work. To really settle in. To do the work of thinking, creating, problem solving, and analyzing. That's what your brain is made for. It's not made to hold 37 things that you got to do five years from now.
The wins are made and accomplished and gained by not storing stuff in your head and by actually using your brain for what it was designed to do.
It's the idea to action planner.
I have a bonus thing that I use called the idea to action planner. It's a simple Microsoft Excel tool that I had custom built for us and our Dojo Members to help make this weekly planning process better and easier each day.
That's where I put a lot of my work ideas when my brain says, I want to do the sales thing or I want to do this thing for my dojo members. Also, include personal initiatives. That gives my mind a lot of peace of mind and it gives me clarity.
And it also gives me space to then go and use my mind for the things like right now creating an episode of This Week's Plan for you. OK, so that link will be in the description for you wherever you're catching me.
Number three is go analog.
Go old school.
Yes. Grab your fountain pens, grab your pencil and paper, or whatever works for you. I'm a fountain pen guy. I love fountain pens. They're my favourite because it just tells my brain that when a fountain pen is pulled out and it's put on paper something serious and something important is about to happen. And I get excited about that.
Have you ever had a professional 90 minute deep tissue massage?
Where the massage therapist just turned you inside out and and you almost felt more pain coming out of it than you did going into it.
But in the next 24 to 48 hours, man, your muscles felt amazing. If you haven't had that, go try one sometime in the future.
But if you have, you know what I'm talking about. And the reason why we do those deep tissue massages is to release those hard knots in the muscles, and the lactic acid build up. It allows fresh blood to come in and cleanse out those areas and then flush those areas out so that the muscles and ligaments can be more productive and be stronger going forward.
How often do you massage your brain?
I'm not saying massaging your head, I'm saying your brain and writing with a pencil, a pen, a writing instrument in your hand on paper. To me, that's the equivalent of massaging my brain. It's where free form thinking can happen. It's where ideas can happen by scribbling.
I've had a lot of great ideas happen to me just by by creating shapes and lines and figures on the page. While I'm thinking through something, my brain's saying, yes, we're actively engaged. If I'm clickety clacking and I'm tapping it out on a keyboard, it might be a data transfer from my brain to the device digitally. But that analog old school pen to paper has some magical properties that helps your brain. I mind map.
I'm a huge mind mapper. I really encourage you if you're not a mind mapper to go try it.
People ask me what's the best mind mapping software?
I have a list and I'm happy to give that to people. But I don't use mind mapping software. I use actual hard core mind maps and I do my weekly plans on own map. I do a weekly plan on a tiny half sheet of paper because I know if it goes past that, if the map has to be bigger than that, certain size of paper is too much for the week for me.
And then I take that and I transfer that on. I'll get into that later on in season one here. But what you want to be thinking about is building a bridge.
You want to build a bridge between the analog properties and your digital properties.
What I want you to do is pick a digital or an analog place.Have everything together where you start your planning. It's all about clocks and calendars. When I do my planning, I have my email and calendar open along with my notes. Those are the three things that need to be in the room.
Do what you can to stay consistent when you do your weekly planning.
If the physical place matters to you, then that's important. So some people say, oh, I do better planning at the office. Great. Go to the office, sit at your desk, close the door, turn on some jazz music, classical music, heavy metal, whatever fills your boat and then whatever sets the environment for you that you can be creative and you can think and get into a flow. Set up that environment.
Other people say, I need distraction. I need to be sitting in a coffee shop. I need to be somewhere where there's external white noise because that helps me think better. Great. Go find that environment, put yourself in there and then go back to last week's episode and pick which day when you're going to actually do the weekly planning because that consistency is the key.
Next is the don't list.
Don't ignore communication with others.
Meaning if you do all your planning in an old school traditional paper analog planner, then you do have to build a bridge to the digital world. You do have to make sure that in today's world we live in a linked world. My calendar is online, you can access my calendar. All I have to do is give you the URL. You can go to my calendar and find out all the times that I'm free.
But that means that I have to go into my calendar and block off times that I'm working on projects so that I don't accidentally get a meeting from Bob or Mary saying, "I want to meet you Thursday at 10 a.m." And guess what?
Thursday at 10am is in my paper planner to work on This Week's Plan podcast recording. Now that creates a conflict and that's not great. And we're going to talk about that next week a little bit more about why those conflicts can really affect you.
If you're in an analog planner and you're going to move to a digital planner, all you have to do is just go create the blocks in the digital calendar so that those blocks are protected that match up and sync up with your analog calendar.
Now, it might take an extra five or ten minutes step in your weekly weekly plan, but it's worth it. And you can't ignore that.
Don't lose critical information.
Make sure that if you're carrying around critical stuff in your notebook. The next two tools that I use that are really important is the scanner and the camera. There's stuff that if I'm working on it in a paper format and it's loose or it's even maybe even in my notebook, I might take a picture as a backup for a reference point, or I might scan something through that good old printer scanner sitting in my office.
And so that that automatically then emails to me or it automatically dumps it into my one note or wherever I want it to be digitally. And I now know that I have a backup.
So that's an important strategy.
At the end of the day, please, please don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Simplicity is the winner.
Simplicity is the gateway to to consistency.
Consistency is the gateway to stacking up more points and more wins so that you accomplish more.
Here at This Week's Plan, we're all about fitting in the right things into this upcoming week.
I want to remind you of an awesome opportunity we have created something here at Samurai Innovation called the No Fail Planning Methods program.
It's a course and I'm going to give you eight no fail planning methods that will compliment your weekly planning.
It will make you a stronger, better, more productive person, a productive professional who wins more.
It's complimentary. It's on the house. Make sure to claim your access by visiting NoFailPlans.com.
Activation time, my friend.
Where do you feel most creative and productive?
Where is that physical place you feel most creative, more productive, is it that coffee shop or is it in the library or is it in a silent room or a special bunker or hideaway location? Plan there. Plan consistently.
I introduced you to the idea of a bridge between the digital and the analog world. Build that bridge this week.
What part of your bridge is missing?
Don't wait three weeks to fix it. Fix it this weekend so that you get the win. You get the gain. You get the benefit and growth. Fix that this weekend and set up an online notepad or sync up your online notes. Just because I use Outlook and Onenote doesn't mean you need to use those tools.You might use Gmail and you might use something else for your note taking. And that's OK. You might use Evernote, you might use some of the other fine systems that are out there just as long as it's simple, it's accessible, and you understand how to use the tool.
Fix it this weekend and create a win for yourself.
The next one is, what can you cut out?
If you've had three or four different things going on and maybe two or three note taking things. You have to really ask yourself, is that helping you or is it hurting you?
And if it's hurting you, just cut it out for a few weeks. You probably won't miss it.
Make sure you send me in your questions.
I want you to be part of the show. All you have to do is go to This Week's Plan dot com. You'll see a nice little black box there. And when you fill in that black box, I'll get your question. Make sure it's comprehensive.
I had a few questions that were sent in. They were not really easily understandable. People didn't include their name correctly. If that's the case, it gets deleted. It hits the trash can. Just send me a legible question. Let me know who you are, and I'd be happy to feature you on a future episode where your question makes the most sense.
Today's question comes to you from Mariana who is a local Calgarian.
She's a local Dojo Member. I'm always excited to meet local folks. Mariana asked me, "My biggest challenge is related to prioritization. How do I decide what to work on in my limited time available?"
It's a great question that comes up all the time. Mariana says, "If I work on one thing, I feel guilty about not doing something else on my priority list."
Mariana, I want you to think about today's episode.
We've talked about clocks and calendars. My challenge to you is to take everything that you want to do and just assign it to the clock and calendar.
Does it have a duration of time? Does it have a place that it needs to be done? It's a simple question, but it will really cut through a lot of the confusion.
If somebody wants you to be in the same place at two times now, we have to negotiate. We have to figure out a way to say, "Listen Bob. You want me at 10:00 a.m. Sharon wants me at 10 a.m. We've got to do something here. I can't be in two places at one time."
You have to be bold enough to be able to go negotiate that. A lot of people miss the prioritization because prioritization is not a set it and forget it thing.
It's not that you just do it once and then it's it's item number seven for the rest of the week or the month or the quarter. That prioritization will shift. When you get when you get into a flexible state of mind where you realize that those priorities are always evolving, shifting and changing, then it just becomes a lot easier to understand that negotiation is part of the game.
And then knowing where your clocks and calendars everything sits, that will help you out better.
Coming up next week, we're going to ask you what do you include in your weekly plan? We're going to start getting into the recipes and the ingredient list of a great weekly plan. You will learn what should be in there and how do you do all that. Be on the lookout for that next episode of This Week's Plan.
Forge ahead this week with the confidence to scale your tools down a little bit. Build a stronger bridge between your digital world and your analog world. It will serve you better.
You will be become more productive. You will then be able to help the people around you become more productive. You will push over a lot of dominos of productivity.
I'm excited to be with you on this journey.