LYL 2013 Weekly Planning Workbook LG“There is no excuse for not preparing for something that is inside your control.”

- Anonymous

Update: After being asked more times than I can count, today I’m sharing my Full Weekly Planning Process I’ve done religiously for the past 5 years.

This article is meant to be a reference piece. I’ve also included a free Weekly Planning Worksheet download at the bottom, to make sure this stuff is super easy for you to do.

Oh, and keep an eye out next Monday – I’m sharing my favorite tool for finding and deciding on a passion-based career!

For now let’s get into the fun…

“I don’t have enough time.”

Think about that statement for a second. How often do you say it?  How many times a week or even each day?

There is no bigger killer of dreams than those five words. 

But have you ever noticed that the busiest and most accomplished people never seem to say them?

The CEO always has time for that last minute event. Warren Buffett has a nearly clear calendar. Tony Robbins connects and speaks with tens of thousands of people a year, all over the world, and still manages to launch new ventures non-stop. Or even my biggest mentors, who get 100x more requests for their time than I do, always seem to be free for a last minute call or lunch.

The list goes on.

But what set’s them apart?

They have a strategy. Most of us do not.

There’s only one real reason why the big-time successful people seem to get so many of the important things done – and still have time left over (aside from working out, which we covered in our Richard Branson article last month). It’s not because they were born with something special or only sleep three hours a night.

Stop telling yourself they’re special, because they’re not.

They simply have found a strategy that works. And they execute on it continuously. 

Most people go into the week with little idea of how they see their days unfolding. If they do any planning, they write a jumbled list of tasks.

It’s no wonder why much of the world spins their tires on email, Facebook, Twitter and petty tasks and requests, complaining about hating their work and dreaming of a new career, while the Living Legends change the world.

Doing work you love is not easy. In fact, it’s damn hard. Without a process for doing what matters, on a daily and hourly basis, the odds will kill you.

The good news is that with the right process, it’s very possible. Last year I developed Live Off Your Passion to help you create a passionate career. What I didn’t realize is that many of us still don’t think we have the time to give it the attention it deserves.

You can do magnitudes more of what matters than you realize.

But you need a process that gets results.

Nearly every day I get people asking me what my weekly planning process is. So today, I wanted to share it with you.

But I certainly did not invent it. I find very little logic in starting from scratch these days – I prefer to build off of what already works.

About six years ago, I started working with a long-time Tony Robbins coach (likely the best business/life decision I’ve made). They’ve worked together for nearly two decades (like from before most people knew who Tony was). During one of our first sessions she shared Tony’s (and her) weekly planning process.

Whether you like the guy or not, between the 4 million+ people he’s touched in over 100 countries, the best-selling books and the dozens of businesses he’s created, Tony Robbins has a process that works, and  it’s allowed him to help more people than most could dream of. I am one them.

It literally changed the game for me. 

It’s allowed me to launch serious projects in a matter of weeks and months (like Live Your Legend, Live Off Your Passion and the Should I Quit Test – all while running my investment business). Without this process, each of those could have easily taken a year or more.

I’ve used it religiously every week for the past five years, except when I’m out exploring or vacationing.

Below is the process I go through every Monday morning – I’ve made a couple modifications over the years. ;)

The simple purpose is to connect your dreams, outcomes, and desires to the actions you take on a daily and weekly basis.

This goes hand in hand with my Goal Setting and Action Workbook.

Remember, there’s a free workbook download of the full process at the bottom of this article for you to actually fill out each week.

Enjoy!

planning is everything

My 5-Step Weekly Planning Process:

Note: the process is usually 5 steps, but I made it into 8 for explanation purposes…

1. Make Time – Establish a Ritual

The days of diving into Monday morning totally unprepared are over. Reserve a minimum of an hour (maybe 1.5 or 2) each week for your planning process. At first this is as counter-intuitive as working out – but no matter how crazy your schedule is, you will be more effective, confident and calm if you take time before you jump into the storm. Look at your schedule and decide when is your best time at the start of each week. Ideally, make this is the same time every week so you can establish a ritual. For me it’s usually from 8-9:30 on Monday morning. Sometimes it’s Sunday.

Just be sure you do it before you start any of your weekly tasks, and especially before you check email! If this means spending an hour Sunday night, then so be it.

Make it something you look forward to. Put on your favorite relaxing music (mine is usually classical or something meditative). Pour a cup of your favorite tea or coffee. Shut off the Internet. Get away from the world.

Do This: Write down your planning time and schedule it.

2. Connect and Visualize the Big Picture

Time recommended: 2-5 minutes

Take a few deep breaths. Then take some time to look at your big lifetime goals and dreams. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want your life to be about for the next 3 to 10 years? Look back over your lifetime goals and Areas of Attention from the Goal Setting and Action Workbook process. Starting with the big picture allows us to keep our focus on what really matters (i.e. building a loving family vs. worrying about paying your cable bill).

Do This: We’ll get to the little tasks later, but for now just visualize, feel and connect with the biggest things you want to be a part of your life. No need to write anything down.

3. Celebrate Last Week

Time recommended: 5-10 minutes

This is the most important step of all – I absolutely love it. Write down everything from the past week that you’re proud of. Anything and everything positive goes – having a record sales week, getting a rewarding thank you, having a hot date or sticking to your workout. Running a marathon or walking around the block – it’s all sacred.

We rarely take the time to appreciate the things we’ve accomplished, big and small, before diving into what’s next. This leaves us with a constant feeling of dissatisfaction. I guarantee there are things you did last week that you can be proud of. Recognize them. Bask in them. Celebrate it all. That pride turns into confidence, and that confidence snowballs into the week to come.

A couple of mine from last week include: Being a guest expert for Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project, making fun plans for my wife’s birthday, having time to spend Friday and Saturday in the sun with close friends, being a part of Simon Sinek’s latest project (more on that soon), sorting out a new healthcare plan and doing an awesome webinar with Corbett Barr. Seriously, anything goes.

Do This: List at least 10 things – but feel free to write down as many more as come to mind. You’ll often find that once you start, it’s hard to stop. Perfect. This will put you in an unbelievably powerful state for tackling what’s to come. Have fun with it. 

4. Write Down Major Lessons

Time recommended: 2-5 minutes

We learn new things every day. But an education is worthless if you don’t make the lessons a part of your life. Write down any key learnings from the past week: major lessons, meaningful quotes and things that inspire you. I also keep a list of “dream connections”, which I’ll get to more in the Connect With Anyone course, but this is basically a list of people I’d love to connect with and my progress in making it happen.

A big lesson for me last week was: Digital communication is great for trading information but terrible for emotional discussions – leave those for phone or in person. Simon Sinek made this point on our call and it really stuck, so I took note.

Do This: Look back through your notes and ideas from last week and list all the lessons that come to mind. Give them a chance to become a part of your life.

5. Analyze What Didn’t Happen

Time recommended: 2-5 minutes

Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan. Look back on the important things you wanted to accomplish last week. What didn’t happen? Be totally honest with yourself. List them out. Only list the things that actually mattered. For each one, write down why it didn’t happen. Was it for a good reason (i.e. other more important things happened), or was it for a bad reason (i.e. you got sucked into checking emails for 9 hours straight)? What could you have done to avoid this? How will you improve it going forward?

For me, one of my misses last week was: I didn’t complete the outline for my Connect With Anyone course, but it was because creating content related to last week’s webinar was more important at the time.

Do This: Be honest with yourself and list the big things that didn’t happen and what you can improve for next time.

Clarify big outcomes

6. Clarify and Commit to Your Biggest Outcomes

Time recommended: 5-10 minutes

Now that we’ve properly reflected on last week, it’s time to dive into what’s to come. I like to start by quickly reviewing my mission/purpose, values and strengths to get in the right place. I keep a list of all these items on a couple sheets of paper. Now look at each major area in your life  and the related goals (in the Goal Setting and Action workbook, we call these Areas of Attention).

Decide on on a maximum of 6 to 7 outcomes you want to accomplish related to the various areas in your life. This could be creating a personal budget, cooking a healthy meal or having a great meeting with a mentor. You get to decide. Just be sure they get you closer to your yearly goals. That’s the key. So “checking Facebook” would not count.

One of my big outcomes for this week is: writing this article and the free workbook to go with it (you can download that at the bottom).

Do This: Pick a total of 6-7 outcomes max and spread them throughout the week.

7. Schedule Everything

Time recommended: 5-15 minutes

This is the missing link for many people. Everything you do takes up time in your day. Yet most of us create lists of tasks with no concept of how long they’ll take. In fact, I bet if you took your current task list and wrote down how long each item would actually take, you’d find you need about 20 hours for today’s tasks. Ever feel like you never get everything done in a day? This is why. We drastically underestimate how long things take. Since everything takes time to do, we need to assign actual time to the things that matter most to us.

Look at your 6 to 7 weekly outcomes and decide what core tasks will need to happen to accomplish these. Now spread these out throughout the week. Most people can’t accomplish more than 1-3 meaningful things in a day, so that’s your limit. Pick 1-3 “most important tasks” (MIT’s) as my buddy Leo likes to call them, and schedule them throughout the week. Keep in mind any meetings you have or calls you need to make.

Now actually reserve the time on your calendar. I mean actually book a meeting with yourself on an actual calendar. You should see my Apple iCal – it looks like someone spilled a pack of Skittles on it with all the self-appointments for each big task related to my Areas of Attention. If I need to do something important, it gets a place on my calendar. Period.

Do This: If you want it to get done, you have to schedule it. Schedule 1-3 important tasks for each weekday. If you don’t have a calendar yet, then get one. I love iCal because it syncs with my iPhone and is visually really fun.

Here’s a taste of what my calendar looks like most weeks…

weekly planning sample week

8. Fill in the Gaps and Housekeeping

Time recommended: 5-10 minutes

Most of us fill our days with the little tasks – the ones that are easy to do, but also that don’t end up getting us any closer to our goals. These need to get done, but not at the expense of the things that help us accomplish what actually matters. Once you’ve scheduled your outcomes and MIT’s, now is where you get to fill in anything else.

Do This: Look at what’s left on your to do list. Now look at your calendar and see when you could fit the little things in. Schedule these as well. By the end of this process you shouldn’t have any stray to-do lists or tasks.

And also, since nothing happens without help, I like to take a minute or two and think about two questions in the context of my week:

  1. Who can I help this week?
  2. Who could help me accomplish what I have planned for the week?
Write down 1 to 3 people for each.

And as final housekeeping, I like to review my expenses from the last seven days.  I use Mint.com, so this usually takes about 3 minutes to categorize and see if everything looks right. If I put it off until the end of the month, this stuff turns into more of of a mental monster than it needs to be. A few minutes goes a long way.

*A small note on how I track To-Do’s: I use the to-do list program called Things, which has seriously been a lifesaver. I have a version on my MacBook Air, my iPhone and my iPad (yes, I’m part of the cult). They all sync together. I’m able to categorize to-do’s into various projects, easily search them, drag to my calendar, assign dates and keep everything sorted. As soon as I think of an idea throughout the week, I immediately write it down – so I don’t forget it, and so that I don’t have to worry about forgetting it. Don’t estimate how mentally freeing it is to get ideas onto paper. I must have 100 project or lists tracked in Things. Only 5 or 10 are active at once, but everything is recorded in there.

If you don’t have a way to easily keep track of ideas and to-do’s, get one. Things is an excellent option.

How to not fail at weekly planning – a few tips:

So there you have it – the most powerful hour I spend each week.

Once you get a handle on the process, it’s a lot simpler than it looks. But there are a few things that seem to trip people up. Keep these in mind…

  1. Everything takes longer than we think. If you think it’s going to take an hour to write an article, then schedule an hour and a half. In a worst case scenario, you’ll have some free time.
  2. Leave windows of “buffer time”. Do not fill in every second of every day. Unexpected things will always come up. Don’t let them snowplow your week. Give yourself time to take care of last-minute stuff that matters, and to be spontaneous with things.
  3. Know you won’t get it all done. Even with great planning, it seems like we tend to be over ambitious (at least I am ;)). Be okay with leaving a little for next week. It gives you something to look forward to, anyway.
  4. Schedule the most important things early in the week. Given this process, front-weight your most important tasks so that no matter what comes up, at least a few of them will get done.

Everyone has enough time.

There is a reason why the people who get the most done tend to continue to be able to do more and more of what matters.

Many of them also tend to love the work they do.

None of this is a coincidence.

They traded excuses for a process that gets results.

Whether you use this process or any other – please just use something.

There is no excuse for showing up underprepared.

If it’s in your control, then it’s time to start controlling it.

Trust me, you have enough time to do the things that matter.

We all do.

The only question left is how are you going to spend it?

-Scott

P.S. I have something really fun to share with you this Monday. It’s one of my favorite tools/processes for finding and choosing a passion and career path. Good luck with your weekly planning and be sure to keep an eye out for this next Monday. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Download the Free Weekly Planning Workbook -

I know these steps can seem like a lot (I promise it’s simple once you get started) – so to make it easy, I want to give you all in the Live Your Legend community a template to walk you through the process. It’s the same one I use every week. It’s totally free and I encourage you to use this as your template to actually fill out each week.

I just added it to the subscriber-only Passionate Career Toolkit, so to get the worksheet download (both in .doc and .pdf format) just enter your email in the form below.

**Some clarity for those of you new to Live Your Legend: Just so you know how things work around here, every couple months I create a massive workbook or tool in the form of a PDF, Word doc or online test to help you further do work you love, and I make it available totally for free as part of the set of tools every email subscriber gets access to (I call it the Passionate Career Toolkit). It’s a way of me saying thanks for your support.

If you are not a subscriber yet, entering your email below will give you immediate access to our full suite of free tools and you’ll get an update every time a new article comes out, as well as some other exclusive subscriber-only content. Thanks for joining the community and being a part of what we’re building!

*Note: If you’re already a subscriber, don’t worry, you will not be double subscribed. You will just be taken straight to the download page. Enjoy!

Download the free workbook here:

Don’t see a form? Click here.

I hope this weekly planning process is even half as helpful to you as it has been for me!

Here’s to doing what matters…

—–

Images courtesy of TheDreamSky and kevin dooley


Leave a Reply

139 Responses to “How I Plan My Week (My 5-Step Process + free workbook download)”

  1. Katy Mercer says:

    Great article Scott! I actually am a pretty good scheduler of my time but I loved a few of your points particularly most people can only get 1-3 meaningful things done in a day. It’s so easy to schedule way too much and just get frustrated. I also liked the idea of going over the last week and thinking about what you achieved and what went well. When you have big ideas and dreams it’s easy to feel as if you are not making progress when you really are!

    • Scott says:

      Going over the last week is so much fun for me. We forget how much we all accomplish in a week! And I hear you on over scheduling. That’s why this process is so necessary for me!

  2. zimt-peppermint says:

    Hey Scott,
    I just did the worksheet and really liked it. It took me more than 2 hours, because I started getting the little things (<10min) done, but it was well worth it.
    I now have a full planned week going from wednesday to wednesday (I don't have uni that day so it's a perfect get things done day). I think I scheduled a little too much into my week, but I'll just give it a try. The worksheet was a lot of fun to do and helped me gain clarity of what I really need to do.

    So thanks a lot!

    • Scott says:

      So glad to hear it was so helpful – and that you dug right into it. Sounds like you have a good week planned up. Congrats!

  3. Vickram says:

    Scott,

    Its very kind of you to share the process that works for you and expects LYL community to follow suit. Your transparency creates more trust on you.

    The regular tracking / evaluation of goals is my weak link in the Goal Setting workbook. I have deduced that over the last weekend by self-observation and you came up with a process to overcome that… Wonderful man…

    How do you write engaging content (Epic shit :) ) on such a consistent basis ? Really AWESOME….

    Kudos to you.
    -Vickram.

    • Scott says:

      Thank you Vickram. Glad the timing was so good for you on this one. It’s been on my list to write this forever. I knew it was the missing link to the goal setting workbook. Together I hope they will be much more powerful!

      As for writing Epic Shit (thanks for the compliment), the key is to write things that have been deeply helpful to your life and that you’ve seen help others. Do this and the world will generally appreciate it – as it turns out many of us have the same problems ;)

  4. Thanks for sharing the technique Scott. Quick question, how soon did you start seeing/experiencing the effects of this planning strategy? Cheers -George

    • Scott says:

      The first week. Seriously. It was such a dramatic shift from going into the week blind (as I had been doing) that it hit me pretty hard- in a good way!

  5. Once again, Scott. Homerun. Power-packed value in this stuff. Solid ideas and great habits to form in order to live out our purpose. I love stuff like this. Thanks so much. – David

  6. JCov says:

    I love this. I agree with you, my favorite part of this was Celebrating Your Accomplishments. So important and such a good idea to build confidence. I also agree with the fact that we tend to underestimate how long something will take. I am the QUEEN of making lists and I used to write down the times it would take me and it would usually surpass 24 hours. Instead of whittling down my list, I would say, well maybe it’ll take me 1 hour not 2. I know, so bad. I’m better now, but this technique is solid. Thanks for sharing! And piggybacking off of Vickram you always come with the E.S. ;)

  7. Hi Scott,

    If Live Your Legend was an album you’d have a crazy amount of top 10 hits. This post qualifies to be high on the blogging charts and the free download was, typical of you, pretty freakin’ great!

    I’ve already scheduled 8:00 – 9:30 am on Monday mornings in Google Calendar as my planning time starting next week. Oh, and there’s no end date on the meeting with myself because I don’t think I need a trial period to know that this is going to work.

  8. Sabine says:

    Hi Scott
    I finally have to post a comment. I’ve been reading your information for months now and it has helped me to recognise that it is ok to let go of a job I no longer enjoy and am taking time out to figure out my future. You have a magic way of explaining things in a succinct and easy to understand way. I’ve been trying to figure out Tony’s RPM method these past few weeks and you manage to help me understand it in one post. You inspire me to be the best person I can be every day. In my books you are truly a living legend – thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Love’n'Light
    Sabine

    • Scott says:

      Thank you for this Sabine- and I could not be happier for you!

      There are a lot of ways to measure success. Getting a comment like yours is how I measure mine. It means a lot.

    • Khairy says:

      Oh wow! Sabine took the words right out of my fingers! I read this article yesterday on my phone. This morning, I was still thinking about it and decided to come leave my first comment. I too have been reading this blog for a few months, always LOVED the content, and Scott’s writing. But I’ve always been comment shy.

      I’ve been using Stephen Covey’s method for planning my week and my days, but I liked how this worksheet is more complete and celebrates the previous week, never thought about doing that!

      Thanks Scott, for making me realize that my craziness is a good thing, that I too can change the world. Although I’ve always known that I’m meant to achieve way more that I’ve already done, there is never a better time to start than today.

      Just awesome.

      • Scott says:

        Wow- I don’t know about it having a leg up on Covey’s but I take it as a compliment none the less! Thanks.

        And yes, craziness is a very good thing – especially when focused the right way!

  9. Thank you for this great resource. Doing the
    ‘daily disciplines’ makes a big difference in getting what you want out of life.

  10. Team UPW says:

    A great article to help you plan effectively and to achieve the outcomes you desire. The best part of this process is that it helps you identify what is really important and to keep a focus on it.

    • Scott says:

      Huge thanks to the UPW crowd! I was just looking at the California Unleash the Power Within coming this July. Would love to get back to another rock concert with Tony. His work has been invaluable!

  11. Izzy says:

    Scott,
    Thank you for this fantastic article. It is amazing to me how some people are able to to do so much with their time while other peopls struggle to work 40 hours a week and return an email.

    I currently use a process where I sit down once a week for about an hour to plan the next week based on my goals but my process has not included it time for reflection like yours does. I love this! I think it is a great way to make the process substantially more powerful and more enjoyable.

    Really great post!

    • Scott says:

      That little step really does add a lot. Great to hear you were already so on track though Izzy. I’m constantly making little adjustments and improvements like that.

  12. Gerry says:

    What a great article! I’m going to give this a try at the weekend.

  13. BEGOÑA says:

    Hi Scott,

    I loved this article. I usually plan my next week on Fridays so I know Monday’s morning where to focus straight away. I liked your plan because it integrates all the important aspects to be aware of such as your goals and dreams, your achievements, your weekly learning lessons, your thins to improve and your big outcomes. I’m going to do it this way tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this good staff.

    • Scott says:

      You make a good point about Friday. Ideally that might be a better day for me but it’s just harder for me to know when’s the best time Friday. I always know I’ll have time Mon morning. Might try Friday soon though.

  14. Just downloaded the worksheet and can’t wait to start!

    I have a weekly planner that breaks down life vision into goals, steps, and tasks but have never spent time going through something like this.

    Thanks Scott!

    Todd

  15. Hilary says:

    Scott, this is awesome. Thanks!

  16. Everything takes longer than we think…so true! The system I like to use it to plan out what I’m going to do for the next day the night before…I like using todoist.com for managing my tasks for long-term projects and daily stuff.

  17. Steven Luibrand says:

    Great article. I’m downloading the worksheet now and will give it a try. Fun seeing you yesterday.
    Pura Vida,
    Steven

    • Scott says:

      Pura Vida indeed Steven. Great to be out on the water with you this week. Not a bad day for a sail! Would be fun to catch one of your kettle bell sessions one of these mornings…

  18. Scott,

    Thanks for sharing this. Tony Robbins is of course awesomely inspiring. I find it quite fascinating that someone like you – who’s pretty inspiring himself – has used coaching. But then it makes sense, because you recognize that we all do have something to learn, and somewhere to improve.

    • Scott says:

      As far as I’m concerned, everyone needs coaching Dolly. No matter how many things we “know” or think we know, we still cannot always be objective with out own lives. You can’t see the whole picture from inside the frame. Tony Robbins has a coach. Tiger Woods has a coach. The biggest CEO’s in the world have coaches. You never outgrow it!

  19. Very nice way of doing it.

    I have been doing something similar to the planning part for the last 2 years, so this is just what I need to upgrade by adding the review part as well :)

    But the title of your past was just about to make me ignore it (i.e. not read it).

    Don’t really care how Tony Robbins plans his week, I would be more tempted to read how you does it (i.e. a title like “How I plan my week”).

    But anyway, a great post. I’m glad I read it and can refer back to it as I implement reviewing in my system.

    • Scott says:

      Good point Mads. I was actually planning to title it How I Plan My Week but given that Tony first brought the process to my attention, It seemed only right to give credit where it’s due. Plus, it’s always fun to see how the big time Living Legends are doing things. Glad you decided to read!

  20. Hi Scott,

    I do something similar, but it needs improvement and this is great, thanks!

    Will look at this again on Sunday afternoon and plan for next week. :)

    • Scott says:

      I love hearing how many of you have already been doing something similar. Makes me happy!

      • Matthew says:

        Hey Scott,

        I run a blog, which you’ll see my name linking to… would be great to hear what you think of it, as you’re doing such an amazing job here. :)

        I just want you to know I particularly liked the concept of asking “Who can I help?” and “Who can I ask for help to achieve my goals?”

        Absolutely fantastic added nugget of golden info there… I’ve been designing my own review system… and I just recently stumbled on your blog.

        This system is going great and I love it, everyday I’m growing it and making it more efficient… and those 2 questions are an immediate addition!! Thank you!

        I’ll bet people like Richard Branson have the good sense to ask questions like that to themselves daily! As Tony teaches, the questions we ask ourselves regularly are one of the most important factors that lead our focus and actions.

        We definitely get the answers far quicker when we stop to ask the right questions!

        Also, I love that you do a weekly financial review… I have never got in to that habit before… so that is definitely going in to the weekly review. Thanks for being so giving, and sharing info like this on your blog. It’s very inspirational.

        I’ll be back (inadvertent Terminator quote there)

        Matthew. :)

  21. Mike says:

    Great article! Time management is key to me as a father of three with a full time job and a passive income project on the side! But my sites made $100 after being online for only 20 days, so I know this is doable. Thanks for your example!

    • Scott says:

      The first $100 is the absolute hardest – by a long shot Mike. Congrats! And I can only imagine the importance of proper planning, with three kids. Hats off!

      • Chris Kępiński says:

        I have 2 daughters – 7 and 9. I did a little money in the past but it was time consuming so I cancelled it. Now I am at time job and still want to make own business. Time management is a key – without planning you do nothing. Especially when you need to share your time with family and daily job. Btw, I use Any.Do bc it works as Chrome extension and Android app. I recommend it :)

    • Nibras Qaht says:

      Great encouragement for me, as a stay at home mom of three small children, part-time student and a writer. Glad to see that you’re committed to making it happen!

      I was wondering if there are any other stay at home moms of small children (reading this) who have more specific tips on managing their days and staying in positive & productive state all day and especially when they need it most?

      • Steve Walters says:

        Well, uhhh, I’m not a stay at home Mum, but I’m a self-employed working from home Dad. I just read your comment and just had to reply!

        As I am the one working from home and for myself, and my wife’s a full-time HR manager for a UK Car Insurance Giant, by default, I am in a sense the stay at home parent with the most flexibility so I know exactly where you’re coming from!

        For what it’s worth, we have Eva who’s 2 and Joseph 5. Eva is not yet in School so requires constant juggling of weekday care (mon&tues @nursery, Weds&Thurs @Nanny’s (grandma) or me and Fri with my wife).

        Every morning I have to sort Joseph ready for his School Bus by 8.25am then get Eva to her carer for the day by 9am (sometimes she’s with me whilst I work).

        Then I have to get on with all things self-employed during my working day x 5 days a week + nights/early mornings at times (it’s now 2.11am UK GMT) – Joseph arrives home at 3.30pm then I have to get Eva by 5.30pm sort house bits and pre food, my wife’s back at around 6pm / 7pm often I have to collect her.

        1st… Managing Time.
        To help manage that, I’ve tried so many time management softwares/techniques, and often get asked by business owners/clients. The best and simplest for me? scheduling out blocks of time in my Google Calendar synchronised to my Samsung GS2 Smartphone. Even my kids/family routines.
        I just need to practice more self-discipline in prioritising the things that’ll make most impact.

        2nd… Managing Positive Mental Attitude…
        To give you a little background of last 5 years… My wife nearly died giving birth to each of our kids, she was even interviewed by UK leading TV station. You can see our Blog here… http://www.brithtraumaptsd.com Plus, a boy racer hit her car head on collision (joint collision speed of 100mph) with my 2 kids and niece in the car at the time. I had to jog to the scene as my car was off the road at the time.
        … something that we’ve learnt which may help you? after years of specialist counselling and support networks and trying to help others or explain to family… Accept or welcome every aspect in your day and your life as a positive challenge and a positive experience from which you’ve grown in strength. Know that others may not understand nor care to help – helping yourself with your mindset is what is ultimately the best way forward.

        Particularly with kids, management techniques are crucial, I’ve learnt that controlling my demeanour controls the kids and makes for better times e.g.speaking quietly to them to the extent where they struggle to hear you makes them quieten down from a tantrum in order to hear what you’re saying. Psychological persistence with kids works! Be smarter, figure out what each child takes in order to get on peacefully with you.

        Lastly, I/we try to plan in times to look forward to and small bite size treats on a daily basis e.g. a film or TV show, or activity, or going out & about.

        Which brings me back to organising my day. Whilst I’ve got to get better at it, I used to be way worse at PLANNING my day. Even my 3 yr old’s nap time is in my calendar, with food alarmed as a pre-requisite LOL. That seems to manage what used to be a daily whine or mid-day frustration.

        Imagine trying to manage the above whilst being responsible for TAX, Income, Clients, Daily Skills/Knowledge increase, Household chores + more.

        I hope my thoughts above help you Nibras?
        Steve Walters.
        Small Business Helper, Swansea, UK.
        http://www.smehelper.com http://www.efficienate.co.uk (my blog to be)

  22. Stacy says:

    This is gold! I can really see how using these steps can be so effective. This looks like exactly what I have been looking for.

    Thank you! I can’t wait to use the worksheet!

  23. Sarah O says:

    This article came to me like a lifesaver. It’s so frustrating to reach the end of the week with less than half the to-do list crossed off!
    I’m giving the technique a try this week – but I have to allow myself some leeway because I’m a rebel about strict scheduling. Plus I’m notorious for thinking I’ll get things done in about half the time they truly require. My other huge challenge is that I just simply want to accomplish more than is humanly possible in the waking hours available. Perhaps this system will help me work through some of these challenges. I love the idea of reviewing the accomplishments of the past week, and devoting some attention to what didn’t happen and thinking about why and how that could improve.

    I use Things too – and sometimes I find it frustrating because I can’t manually organize the ‘Today’ list. But maybe your system will help with that. Things is awesome for capturing all those random tasks that pop up. But it can get overwhelming when there are so many tasks in there!

    I’ve got a question though: How do all those movers and shakers who use this system have time for spontaneous lunch meetings? Isn’t that time already scheduled? I think there’s some flexibility that must be built into this…

    Thanks Scott for yet another valuable post!

    • Matthew says:

      Hey Sarah O! :)
      I have also gone through the whole “I want to do the whole thing in a single day” syndrome… That’s a common trait of someone who strongly values growth… not surprising then that you’d be hanging out at a high quality blog like this one! :)

      I just want you to know, I actually created a review system myself before I saw this blog… and I’ll bet if you sat down with pen in hand and really thought about how to approach reviewing yourself… you’d probably draw similar conclusions about how to do it…. because we already have access to the awareness we need to see what is happening. Reviewing really is just about figuring out what questions draw out our best answers.

      What I wanted ask you was… have you ever planned something and discovered on the day that something more urgent or important had to be dealt with?

      Or you misplanned it entirely?

      Plans are a guide, and not a rule. But one of the questions I ask myself in my procrastination killer technique (a series of questions I’ve developed to get me more focused) is this… “Is what I’m doing now more important and urgent than what was in my MAP (Massive Action Plan)?”

      That is a very powerful question… if going to lumch actually today IS more important or urgent if you’re honest with yourself when it comes to creating the life you want to lead… then yes you should go to lunch for a spontaneous reason on that particular day. But as you review, you’ll see where you are lying to yourself if at all or rationalizing!

      Cool… I hope you found that useful. Keep in touch if you like by clicking my name above. Do you have a blog at all?

      Keep rocking.

      Matt :)

      SPeak soon

  24. Sion says:

    It feels like waking up, but I need to stay awake instead of snoozing and I will try to use the weekly planning as provided by you. Thanks for that (and all other resources on this website)!

    One question though: with step 8 where you check who you can help and who can help you, do you also schedule those or is that more something for keeping in mind during the week?

  25. David Miller says:

    Hi Scott,
    After my most productive day ever yesterday I wanted to drop a quick ‘Thank you’ for sharing your planning ritual. I added a couple of things into my process:

    1. Scheduled email checking at 11:00 and 3:00, (thanks Tim Ferris) and it eliminated one of my major time drains, and,

    2. While I build my muscle on eliminating being distracted by shiny objects, I’m reviewing some of my ‘things I can do better this week’ challanges so they stay front and centre in my attention and avoid slipping into ‘it was slightly better than last week’

    Have a fantastic day
    Cheers
    David

    • Nibras Qaht says:

      “While I build my muscle on eliminating being distracted by shiny objects.”

      I love the way you put that! It exactly describes what I do everyday to distract from my goals, from subscribing to spammy people & causes, reading interesting articles, uploading pretty pictures for jigsaw puzzles and putting inspirational quotes on my FB when what I really need to do is close my eyes to these blinking lights and shiny objects and COMPLETE MY TASKS! *sigh*.

      Thanks for putting a name to my little neurosis.

    • Nibras Qaht says:

      “While I build my muscle on eliminating being distracted by shiny objects.”

      I love the way you put that! It exactly describes what I do everyday to distract from my goals, from subscribing to spammy people & causes, reading interesting articles, uploading pretty pictures for jigsaw puzzles and putting inspirational quotes on my FB when what I really need to do is close my eyes to these blinking lights and shiny objects and COMPLETE MY TASKS! *sigh*.

      Thanks for putting a name to my little neurosis.

  26. Staci says:

    Unlike some of your followers, I am NOT a good scheduler. Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. And now summer is here! So I have three children to schedule too! I am determined to try this, and to have my teenagers try it, too.

    Thank you!

  27. saltna says:

    Will look at this again on Sunday afternoon and plan for next week. :)

  28. Denise Loughlin says:

    What an incredible tool! Invaluable and one I’ve lookd for a long time.

    I’d write more, saying what a great help this is, but I need to sign off, fill out my sparkly new planner listing updating you on my progress as one of my new goals! Thanks so very much!

  29. RAWMA YSF says:

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  30. Great post!

    Thank you so much. This is gonna really help me with my procrastination and motivation problem :P

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  40. Paula says:

    Real fast (since responding to blog articles is a “distraction” to me)
    I had to say thank you, I am going through this process, and it is amazing how well it works to get my spirits up :)

    I scheduled a date with myself Monday 8:30 (Right after I drop my son at school) Today it is the first day doing it so it is taking a little longer, but I KNOW it is worth it

    Thank you!
    Paula

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