Who Should Be Part of Your Weekly Planning?
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Episode Show Notes: Who Should Be Part of Your Weekly Planning?
Who takes up most your time during the week?
Which relationships do you need to give the most attention and time to nourish this week?
I have one major question today that I'm going to give to you, and it will change the game for you in terms of looking the way you look at meetings, how you process meetings and which ones you ditch and which ones you keep.
Welcome to This Week's Plan, where we help you transform possibility into reality.
We help you accomplish the right things each week so you can enjoy a more balanced life, both personally and professionally. Join in as we share real world battle tested strategies and techniques to help you center your focus, accelerate your results and improve your momentum to avoid being overwhelmed. This isn't just about making it for you. It's about fitting in all the right things. Now here's the host of This Week's Plan Shane Fielder.
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Who should be a part of your weekly plan?
That's a question I get asked from people. Should we be doing weekly planning or group planning and all these kinds of things?
And the answer is no.
This is time for you and you alone.
The goal of your weekly planning is so that you can get to a better level of effectiveness, greater level of efficiency in your weekly planning so that you can actually fit in all the right things that you need to do that will move the needle ahead for you.
That's what we really want.
Who do you naturally allow onto your schedule?
What is your criteria whether you accept a meeting from someone or whether you reject it?
Do you even have a criteria?
If you have no criteria and you just let people insert themselves into your calendar and you're the kind of person that just says, yeah, well, just let me know whenever you want to meet. That's not strategic.
That's allowing people to monopolize and take advantage of you and your precious time that you have. I would rather see you have a criteria as to where and how you accept somebody onto your calendar. You would give them particular blocks of time and give them options. We're going to talk about options in a few minutes here in this episode.
One of the things that really kills a lot of productivity is meetings.
One of the things that I want to give to you today is what I call the AB scheduling mechanism. Now, what does that mean?
Pick two days day A and day B. They could be Wednesday, Thursday or Tuesday, Wednesday. It doesn't really matter. But you must group these two days together.
What we want to do is schedule is many meetings that are comfortable on day A. Please make sure that if you're going physically from place to place, coffee meetings, giving yourself the ample amount of travel time, set up, time post meeting or tear down time. Give yourself a buffer period at the end of the meeting in case the meeting runs ten or fifteen minutes over the scheduled allotted time.
Give yourself time in case the other person you're meeting with is five or ten minutes held over or maybe they're a little bit late.
You don't want to be in a panic mode where you're just going from meeting to meeting and you have zero flexibility. Again, look at your day, look at the number of hours on that date and schedule accordingly.
Now, here's what we're going to do with day B. Day B is your follow up project day. This is the day that you're going to get back to people and you will start developing a reputation of consistency and people will be really excited because they know when they meet with you the next day, you're going to follow up.
They're going to have an email back from you. They're going to receive the information or the documents or a package is going to be couriered over to their office with everything that they asked for. And that's going to build credibility with you. It's going to build the relationship in a real positive way.
It's also more economical from a set up and energy perspective because you can put on your best outfit. Imagine how you will fee going into your meetings with your best suit or your dress on that you feel most confident in. It's economical because then it's easy for you to plan the wardrobe.
On day B, maybe you're kicking back in the office and it's jeans and a casual shirt day because you're just working on projects and taking phone calls and things like that. You're not in presentation mode.
That will make you feel more productive and comfortable on those B type days. I really encourage you to try this out, because when you group your meetings or gang them up together, it creates a level of efficiency.
I had a client a few years back where he was meeting two or three people every day.
The challenge for him is that he had to go into the downtown core area of his city, but he lived in the suburbs, which meant train ride in and out, and it was really wearing him out. Finally, we started talking about why we don’t group all your meetings together on one day. I asked him what day would be great for him.
He said Mondays would be fantastic. Great. So, we set up seven to eight meetings on a Monday. He had lots of time to meet with the people he needed to meet with. Some of those meetings were just him dropping by and dropping off some samples of the business or some literature or a quotation that was requested.
What was great was when he was dropping those samples off, he would ask if Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith was in and if he could speak with them for two minutes?
He would personally hand a sample or brochure to them while introducing himself. It really was a great relationship building time for him. But now, on Tuesday, he was back in the office sending invoices, quotations, follow up information, putting packages in the courier, the Mail. And people were really excited because they said, wow, this guy has a great level of follow through.
He started developing more consistency. Guess what? His productivity and his efficiency went through the roof. His sales increased. He developed better quality of relationships just by implementing this AB scheduling mechanism. The best part of this is that you can too.
The next question is, who are you going to renegotiate with this week?
There's a natural ebb and flow to the calendar into business and life.
What looked appealing to have a meeting with somebody this week when you made that meeting two or three weeks ago, maybe that's not the right thing for you this week, and that's OK.
So, you got to take the mindset that somebody is going to need to come on to your schedule this week, but someone's going to have to go off of your schedule this week.
And either you're going to initiate or they're going to initiate because you're here at This Week's Plan. We are going to initiate. Who are these people that you're looking at the calendar and you're saying, gee, I got to meet with that guy on Wednesday afternoon?
It's the first time I really want to work on the X, Y, Z project or report. Call that guy or email him and say, look, I've got some something that's come up. I need the time on Wednesday. Can we renegotiate to another day?
Don't leave the person hanging.
Don't ask them to come back to you and make them do all the work.
That is a reactive mode for you. I want you to be more proactive and I want you to go in with two to three options, at least two to three options. One is never an option for anything and asking someone to pick something in a vacuum or avoid is really unproductive and unfair for both of you. Go back to this guy, phone him up and say, listen, I know we had a Wednesday afternoon meeting.
It's just not going to work for me. I have another project or commitment. Now, if it's internal stakeholders, you can maybe talk about that. And they may understand that if it's an external party that has no idea what your projects are all about, then you can say, I just had something come up. Is it possible that we can move from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning at 10:00 am or Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm?
Or could we even go the next following Monday morning at 10am, which would work best for you?
And it makes it super simple because now he's looking in his calendar and he says, oh, yeah, the Monday morning would be great. And you breathe a sigh of relief because Monday morning is totally wide open for you. That's next week's plan. There's no issue. There's no conflict. You're both really happy.
And guess what?
He also has ebb and flow in his schedule and he'll really appreciate the courtesy and the consistency.
OK, the mega question that I wanted to ask you that I talked about at the beginning was look at your commitments in your calendar this week. Look at the things that are stencilled into your calendar, the dates, the projects, the meetings, look at your personal life, look at the events, the soccer nights, the swim meets, the dance recitals.
Look at the date nights that you have planned and even look at the nights where you just planned some rest and recovery for yourself.
Do you have pool night or pool league or bowling league on Thursday nights or something like that?
The key question is:
If you miss this event or meeting, will you regret it?
What level of regret will you have if you miss the quarterly financial meetings at work?
Will you regret missing date night?
How much regret will you have if you miss your son or your daughter's event at school?
The next question covers a natural consequence of missing this meeting.
How high is the consequence if you miss the meeting?
Nobody's perfect and everybody's human. Everyone is imperfect (and that's OK).
We may miss something once in a while. We don't want to make that a chronic, consistent habit. Ask yourself while you're looking at your calendar, will I regret missing this event/meeting?
What is the consequence to missing that?
Who is non-negotiable in your calendar this week?
Who are the untouchable people and meetings that just cannot get moved in your weekly planning?
The people may be because it's an important opportunity for you to track down. It could be that, you know, your CEO or your VP or your director or your boss or another person that you've been working on a project with has requested you to be at a certain presentation or meeting. And it's non-negotiable. Like it just has to happen. So, who is that person?
But then who are the people in your life who are non-negotiable? Do you have a husband or wife or a spouse or partner or boyfriend girlfriend? That that's non-negotiable. Date night has to happen and building that relationship and nurturing that relationship has to happen.
Again, your children, their activities, their school life, and their post school life, is that non-negotiable? Who are those people? Because those are the people that you need to wrap in boundaries and protect and build those boundary muscles of saying yes or no.
You can look back in This Week's Plan. Earlier on in season one, I have an episode called The Automatic Yes and the Automatic No. And it's really great because that will help you get into the details and more specifics of how to do that.
It's time to activate something critically important in your calendar, and that's emergency time slots. And so, again, emergencies never plan themselves on your calendar. But again, I encourage you to keep 20 to 30 percent of every day having some white space on the calendar that if something does come up, you can tackle it, you can take advantage of it.
What if it's an opportunity that emerges?
I had a client many years ago and she phoned me at ten thirty in the morning.
I remember it clear as day. She said, we've had this situation come up. Here's a situation and I don't care what time you're in my office this afternoon, but you will be in my office. I said, give me a moment. And I looked at the calendar and I said, "How's 1:30pm?" She said, "I will be here". I went to the meeting.
We dealt with the situation. It was fine, but there was a situation where that was non-negotiable. I had to go down and meet with that client at that particular time. And she gave me she gave me a full open calendar. But it was non-negotiable and a high consequence of I didn't make that meeting that afternoon.
You will likely come across those same situations.
Do you have enough time in your schedule for emergencies that may come up from time to time?
I want to encourage you this week to inject a little extra free time into the schedule so you have that flex time to move things around.
I want to remind you to be part of the show.
Go to ThisWeeksPlan.com and there's a black box that says submit your question to be part of the show. I look forward to answering your question.
Andy from Texas submitted his question and it's a great question.
Andy says, I need to use my calendar more effectively. Scheduling things other than appointments and meetings is really important. I have open times of my calendar that seem to get filled by important things other than scheduling open time for his team or his client engagements.
Should you fill all the gaps in my schedule or should you leave some stuff with flex time for projects that you can be working on?
This a great question Andy. Really what Andy's asking is, "should I have my calendar just be for meeting time only or how do I use my calendar to have meeting and project time in there as well?
Meetings and projects all go together. Your calendar is the way you get things done. My advice to you is to just look at time is one continuum. I mean, whether you're at a meeting from 10 am to 11 am and then from you get back from the meeting at 11:05 am and you're back at your desk, and now it's time to switch into Project ABC mode and work on that for half an hour. It's your time. It's your life. It's your business. I encourage you to start blocking things out.
Now, hopefully today's episode has given you something to think about.
Can you group those meetings and those activities in blocks of time?
One of the things that this makes me think about is when I think about going back about 15 years ago and I had a job and one of one of my functions as a manager at the company was to do payroll. Payroll had to be submitted by every second Friday morning by 8:00 am.
I would block off from 7 am to 1 pm every second Thursday. And those were I definitely needed about five or six hours to move through 100 people's payroll and make sure their timecards and everything was all correct and accurate before I submitted it to the accounting team to get that done.
But then I realized, hey, all my clients and my staff and stuff became accustomed to the fact Shane's off the grid and not available on Thursday mornings. And very rarely would I get a call for a meeting on a Thursday morning. Every second week that I didn't have payroll, I just put project time and I just block that entire time off. That was the time that I would work on research for a report, put a new report together, investigate something.
I never met with people, but I was just doing hard core desk work during those five or six hours and it became a productive flow for me. So that's one way to do it.
But the other way is to group your meetings in one part.
Can you have meetings in the morning and then follow up on project time in the afternoon and then maybe the next day?
It's project time in the morning and then meeting time in the afternoon. Now, it's not a perfect situation and you have to sort of the artistic side of you balancing that.
But the thing is, what should be on your calendar first, as Stephen Covey used to say, is the big rocks. The most important things that have a high, consequential nature, if you miss them or you don't get them done, those things should go on the calendar first. As we talked about today, those non-negotiable people, they should be on your calendar first in some form, and then you have the discretionary time that's left over.
You can have different meetings. You can add in different projects and things like that, and you can leave some of that 20 to 30 percent of the time as free time. Andy, I hope that answers your question. If it doesn't just send me an email back and I'd be happy to create a further dialogue with you. For the rest of the readers, make sure you send me your question, because I love answering them.
In the next episode of this This Week's Plan, we're going to be talking about imperfect action, because now we've gone through so far a bunch of fundamentals for the kind of the building blocks to creating successful weekly plans.
Season one is really all about the foundational basic elements, basic core techniques that you need to profit from creating a proven weekly planning format for you.
In our upcoming next episode, I'm going to be excited to get into imperfect action and what that's all about and how that can be the next step or the next evolution for you and your weekly planning. I want you to forge ahead this week with courage to say no to things that aren't going to work for you.