As clients who have worked with me will tell you, I believe in practicing what I preach. I’m a working parent living through the pandemic, who has struggled with time management and productivity this past year just like everyone else.
So when I get to coach people through their time management challenges, I’m always sharing strategies that I’ve seen work in my own life and for my own business.
Last week I got to do this during my free Weekly Planning That Works masterclass. This masterclass was a huge success. It was a 90-minute working session, during which everyone on the call was able to create their own customized plan for the upcoming week (and beyond).
Weekly Planning That Works is a six-step process, but I think the first step is the one that most often surprises people. (It’s also a step that anyone who knows me well can attest I love to practice in real life!) If you weren’t on the call, here’s step one for creating your flexible plan for the week:
Review what you accomplished over the last week, and what went well.
Yup—the first step for planning the week ahead is looking back at the past week. It sounds counterintuitive, which is why clients often tell me they forget to do this until I prompt them. Making a habit of doing this one simple step can be a game changer for your approach to time management.
Celebrating Wins Is Good For Time Management and Productivity
Remember, I practice what I preach. So every month, when I meet with my team, the first question I always ask is, “What went well this month?” Everyone on the True Focus team takes a turn to share their personal and professional victories since the last time we met. We take a few minutes to celebrate each other’s successes, even the ones that don’t directly relate to True Focus.
This practice isn’t about feeding our egos. It’s about acknowledging what we’ve already done and what we’re capable of doing next. It’s about approaching whatever comes next with positive energy. This is especially critical during the pandemic, when everything already feels so negative and discouraging.
Picture sitting down at your desk to face a really challenging piece of work that you’ve been dreading. If you dive in with an attitude of “This is going to be terrible, I can’t do this,” you’ve already set yourself up to fail. You’re expecting the work to be difficult and beyond your abilities. How long will it be before you’re bailing on the task and distracting yourself with something else?
Now imagine that when you sit down, the first thing you think about is the tough project that you crushed last week, or the new client you landed. Looking back on those recent successes should remind you of how skilled and capable you are to tackle whatever comes your way.
Use Your Calendar as a Record of Past Successes
What if your mind goes blank when you try to recall what went well last week? This came up during the masterclass, when someone on the call said they couldn’t think of anything they had recently accomplished.
Being unable to come up with examples of things that have recently gone well doesn’t mean nothing has gone well lately. It just means you don’t currently have a planning system that lets you see the whole picture.
When I got that question during the call, I talked about using your calendar to trigger your memories of those recent successes. This is just another way that making weekly planning a habit pays off.
Planning out your calendar for the week ahead allows you to see what’s coming up and make sure you’re giving yourself enough time off from work.
It also means you’ll always have a record of the past week to quickly run your eyes over. If you use your calendar to create a plan you can follow for this week, next week you’ll be able to glance at it and remember exactly what you accomplished.
As I look back over the last few weeks of my calendar and think about what has gone well, my masterclass is a big one. It was so gratifying to connect with such a big crowd of people who were ready to make a change and get serious about planning.
I’m getting ready to take that help to the next level, with my Jump Start Your Productivity home study program. This five-week program is for you if you’re sick of scrambling to get everything done. Jump Start will help you set up your day and week for success so you can take control of your time and create the peace and balance you crave for your life. And because it’s on a virtual platform, you can participate in the course whenever it’s convenient for YOU.
Here’s to a week full of accomplishments worth celebrating next week!