Welcome! Today, I’d like to share some more wisdom on how to plan your work week to best thrive as an entrepreneur. I have been testing different personal and company organizational methods for the past 5 years and want to help as you attempt to make the most of your time. If you are like me, you end your day wishing that there were more hours to spare for continuing on your projects.
It’s difficult to organize your life when there is so much to do…
The biggest problem that I have found with being organized as an entrepreneur is that there is always an endless number of tasks that you could be doing at the same time. More troublesome, when you don’t take the time to organize your tasks, you can end up wasting valuable time in limbo.
I have a solution that stems off of the great advice provided to us by Stephen Covey in 10 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the key habits that he discusses is to start with the end in mind. I had the pleasure of reading Covey’s work in my first years as a business student and his words have stuck with me through the years. I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t read his work to add it to your reading list. In this post, I’ll teach you how to start with the end in mind each week and organize your life to reach full capacity and output.
If you find this column useful and want to learn how to apply its methodology to strategically planning each day of your work week, read my complementary column on organizing each day of your work titled Effectively Organize Each Day and Best Utilize your Time.
Start by creating a routine…
It has been documented by hundreds of writers that a secret to the most effective and productive individuals is the routine that they follow each day. Look at the leading tech founders and you’ll find a set routine that they have been following for years as they have grown their companies and personal brand. Do you have any routines that you follow strictly? If you do, you’re off to a great start.
To get my new week off on the right foot, I begin my work week on Sunday evening before retiring to bed for some reading. I grab my work notebook, a pen, and my iPhone – mainly for music and my calendar. I open to a new page in my notebook and I create a simple outline of what I am going to create. To make it easier for you, I’ve broken it down into 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Schedule and note your meetings
The first area that I organize for the upcoming week are any meetings that I will be having. I like to schedule these first because they are the most time-sensitive. I open my iPhone calendar, which I have linked to my work email, and I quickly see which regular, repeating meetings I already have. I think back to last week and ask myself if there are any other meetings that are pertinent to the goals we have set for the company. I jot those down and assign a particular time limit to them.
Already before going into work on Monday, I have a good understanding of what meetings I will be leading or contributing to. At this time, you can also eliminate meetings if your schedule has become too crowded.
Step 2: Identify task related projects and team work
Now that I know how much time I am spending in meetings, it’s time to dive into task-related activities within the projects and teams I am most closely involved with. As the CEO of the company, I find myself involved in most growth aspects of the company so it is of utmost importance that I know how I am contributing to each throughout the week.
At this point, I write down every project or team that I am going to be involved with in the upcoming week. Knowing that I’ll be adding action steps, I leave 4-6 lines between each heading.
Step 3: Create action steps
Spending time within each header and forming realistic action steps is one of the most helpful parts of this method. I like to create an overarching goal that I want to achieve for each heading and then write action steps that will make that reality come true. Again, starting with the end in mind. Let’s look at an example.
Main Goal: Schedule 5 interviews for the front end web development position- Re-post the front end web development job with our key partners to increase applications for the week
- Re-post the front end web development job with our key partners to increase applications for the week
- Read and filter through 5 applicants each day
- Send 1 promising application to the executive team each day
- Email the top 5 applications to set up a phone call interview
I spend time going through each header until I have a strategic plan for the week.
Step 4: Identify key personal goals
While the main purpose of your weekly agenda is to organize your upcoming work week, I also find it useful to add a section for personal goals. In this section, I focus on errands, appointments, and exercising.
Bonus Step: Quantify your time
If you’re a numbers person and are feeling up to it, you can go through each line that you just created and assign an estimated time to it for the week. To know if you planned too much or if you have extra time, tally all of your estimates up. If you have less than 40 hours, add more tasks! If you have more than 60 hours, you may need to better prioritize next week.
By following this methodology and creating a weekly strategic plan, you walk into work on Monday a step ahead of your coworkers – unless they read this post as well. You’re ready to tackle the week and your excitement for what you have to achieve helps to avoid the sluggish feeling most people get on Monday. You have a purpose.
To best utilize this method, I recommend referring to it each morning and throughout the day to remind you of where you should be focused. I also recommend that you refer to the map when you are creating your plan for the following week. You can see where you excelled, where you fell short, and how you can adjust your weekly goals to be more productive.
If you took my advice and created your own weekly strategic plan, share how it worked for you and what additional best practices you discovered in the process.
If you’re interested in getting another set of eyes on your week’s strategic plan, email me at Connor@ConnorGillivan.com. I’m more than happy to review your work and provide feedback on where you may be able to improve your plan.