how my week panned out

Part 2: How my week actually panned out [PMP #134]

This is the second post in a 2-part series on how I plan my time and update my plan as I go. Click here to read part 1 all about how to conduct a weekly review.

Last week I showed you how I conduct my weekly review. As I discussed, the purpose of the review is to plan your upcoming week. This means that rather than starting your work on Monday and reacting to whatever demands enter your inbox, you can be more intentional with your time and make progress on the tasks and projects that you want to work on.

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You can also watch my video walkthrough here:

Sometimes we get frustrated when our plan fails. But when it comes to planning your time, you’re almost guaranteed to fail every time. The mistake a lot of people make is that they make a plan but when an unexpected event forces us to change the plan, they throw the entire plan out the window.

The purpose of the weekly review is not to come up with the perfect plan. It’s to create a sense of focus for the week. Your plan will change, and that’s okay. Don’t expect your week to go to plan and you won’t be disappointed when the plan has to change (which it will).

The same goes not just for any type of planning you do in life. Whether it’s annual goals or a 5-year plan. Your plan can (and should) be updated as you go.

When it comes to planning your time, you’re almost guaranteed to fail. The mistake a lot of people make is that when an unexpected event forces us to change the plan, they throw the entire plan out the window.Click To Tweet

The weekly review helps you to plan about 80-90% of your week. Leaving some white space on the calendar means you have some time available to add to or change the plan as urgent or important work comes up.

It’s now a week since I recorded my weekly review video. If I go back and look at my calendar, it looks different from the initial plan I came up with.

  • Some clients had to reschedule or cancel their calls with me. This opened up some time on my calendar.
  • I had to make time for some important work that I didn’t know about when I did my review.
  • Some tasks took longer or shorter than expected, so I had able to update the time blocks on my calendar.

Here’s an example of how I had to change my plan:

Plan vs Actual

On Monday, I unexpectedly had to book an appointment to see the doctor (nothing serious) and so I booked in to go at 3:30pm. I therefore had to shift the Monday blocks around to accomodate this change.

Because I’d left some available time in the morning and later in the week, I was able to move my blocks around to make sure I could still fit everything in over the course of the week. In no time at all, I was able to update my plan and react to this unexpected event.

This is why time blocking is so powerful! Even though you’re committing to work on specific tasks at predetermined times, it’s just a plan. You can move and update things as needed. So if an urgent tasks comes up, you can shift some of the blocks you had on today to later in the week.

The most common reason people fail when it comes to time blocking is that they don’t update their calendar frequently enough.

My calendar is constantly in view (it’s one of the ways I’ve set up my computer to be more productive). I use an external monitor as my working screen and I have my calendar in view on my MacBook screen to the left. This means I can refer to and update my calendar in real-time as I need to make changes.

When a chef is cooking, they don’t take salt from the pantry, season a dish and then return it to the pantry. It’s on the counter, ready to use when needed. And it should be the same with our productivity tools.

In summary, when you plan your time, don’t worry if you have to change the plan later. This is normal. The important thing is to start with a rough plan in the first place and get into the habit of changing it as you go. Keep your task list or calendar open on your computer and this will make updating the plan a lot easier. And if possible, try and update your plan in real-time. This is far more effective than waiting until the end of the day (and far less disrupting that you might think).