Whenever I talk about planning with people, I tend to start broad, but eventually we get down to the meat of it — planning out your week.
Weekly planning, just like any other kind of planning, isn’t nearly as difficult as people make it out to be, but there’s one thing that became a total game changer for me in 2018 when it came to planning out my work weeks — a weekly workflow.
What is a weekly workflow? Well, I’m glad you asked.
A weekly workflow is a system or plan for how each work week plays out. It designates what type of tasks are assigned to what days of the week, thus ensuring that everything in your business gets done and making it easier to decide when those things get done.
It’s sort of like an “everything with a place and in its place” approach to task management.
THE LOVE & SPREADSHEETS WEEKLY WORKFLOW
If you’re not sure what this would actually look like in a business, this is my weekly workflow for Love & Spreadsheets:
Mondays are reserved for internal business tasks. These are the days I focus solely on my own business and handle things like my Monthly Duty Day, content creation and management, and special projects. This is actually a shorter work day than most, so it’s a block of completely uninterrupted time, free from calls, lunches, and any other distractions.
Tuesdays & Wednesdays are reserved for client work. This is when the vast majority of my work for my recurring and one-off clients happens and these also tend to be my longest work days. I’m very protective of my time on these days and, with the exception of standing appointments like monthly Tuesday’s Together, I don’t make any plans on these days — business or personal. That means no client consults, no lunches or coffee with friends… these are strictly butt in chair, get the work done kind of days.
Thursdays are for calls and collaborations. This is when I schedule any of my consultations, check-in calls with clients, calls with other creatives or collaborators, and the days that I reserve to work on any special collaborations I have on tap.
Fridays are overflow days, or basically “whatever didn’t get done earlier in the week” days. This means that sometimes I have a ton of work to get done on Fridays and I really have to rein in my ready-for-the-weekend brain to get stuff done. But sometimes, when I’ve had a great, well-focused week, it means I get to knock off early and have a three-day weekend!
WHY YOU SHOULD CREATE A WEEKLY WORKFLOW
Now that I’ve shared what a weekly workflow is and what mine looks like… it’s time to answer the big question — why should you create one for yourself?
IT REDUCES DECISION FATIGUE
By this point we all know that decision fatigue is a thing in pretty much every aspect of our lives, and it’s a problem that’s especially potent in business.
When you’re in charge of the whole business there are tons of decisions you have to make day in and day out. Your decision-making capabilities are limited, and if you’re constantly spending them trying to decide if you’re going to work on such-and-such task this day or that day, you’re depleting those energies that you could be spending on the super important stuff!
By creating a weekly workflow, it’s one (or fifteen) fewer decisions you have to make each week. Instead of trying to decide when you’ll work on a blog post, when you’ll knock out that client project, and when you should schedule a call with a potential collaborator… everything has a designated “place” that makes scheduling those things easy as pie!
Another reason a weekly workflow is so valuable is because it helps keep things from falling through the cracks.
When you sit down and identify when client work happens each week, when collaboration happens, and when your internal business tasks happen… you ensure that there’s time and space for everything on your to do list.
Depending on how many different things you’re juggling, it can even be helpful to add a monthly component to your weekly workflow.
In my own business, for example, Mondays are reserved for internal business tasks, but each Monday of the month is designated for a different one. The first Monday of the month is for Monthly Duty Day and some other admin and planning things, the second Monday of the month is for content writing, the third for content management, and the fourth for special projects.
By setting up this monthly component to my weekly workflow, I never have to think about when content is getting written, when I’ll have time for Monthly Duty Day, or how many projects I can take on at any given time… it’s just a matter of dropping each task into its respective bucket (or day) and doing it when the time comes.
We all know batch tasking is great for productivity and a weekly workflow is like batch tasking in extreme form.
By designating each day of the week for various types of tasks, it gives your brain more time and space to get in the groove.
When you set one day for all your calls instead of scheduling them in between client projects, you spend less time transitioning in and out of call mode and more time focusing on the work at hand.
When you spend one day a week focusing on your own business instead of your clients, you have a better grasp on what’s working, what isn’t, and how your business direction is lining up with your overall vision.
Imagine sitting down on Sunday night and 10 minutes later having your entire week planned. Then imagine getting to the end of the that same week and stepping into the weekend with confidence knowing everything you planned on Sunday is done.
Give the weekly workflow a try and I think you’ll find that to be a reality more often than you ever thought possible.