210 [Part 4] The 4 Levels of Planning
Welcome to the final part of the 4 levels of planning...weekly planning! This episode unlocks the mystery of weekly planning and unveils the differences between weekly and monthly planning. I smash the myth that continuous list-making equates to effective weekly planning and equip you with practical strategies to boost your productivity.
Weekly planning takes those vague monthly intentions and transforms them into actionable tasks with set dates and times. We're not striving for a jam-packed schedule; we're ensuring balance by scheduling white space to absorb unexpected tasks. The real game-changer? The introduction of a weekly checklist that keeps recurring tasks on track.
When it comes to weekly planning, a question I get a lot is "What about all the stuff that pops up during the week?" I cover that in a short blog post here: https://www.megansumrell.com/blog/3-planning-systems-to-stop-overwhelm-in-its-tracks
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Aka get my (never-before-shared) cheat sheet of what you need to do when doing annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly planning.
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Well, we made it friends.
We are here for the final episode, the fourth episode here in our four-part training series called the Four Levels of Planning. So if you missed the first three, you may want to go back and listen to those before we jump in here today. Today I'm going to be deep diving on weekly planning. I'm going to be focusing on what goes in your weekly plans, what makes it different from monthly planning, and then also be kind of talking with you about what weekly planning isn't. Yeah, listen up for that one, friends, because I think some of you may be doing a style of weekly planning that isn't actual planning. So let's go ahead and jump in.
Welcome to the WorkLife Harmony Podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram, at Megan Sumrell, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. All right, friends, we made it, we are here.
This is the final episode of our four part series. All around the four levels of planning. We've covered annual, we've covered quarterly, we've covered monthly and now, here today, we're going to be taking a deep dive on weekly planning. So again, when I think about that airplane analogy, at this point, right now, we are like on the runway, zooming, getting ready to take off. All right, we've checked in with the tower, we know our exact plan, we are building this, we are ready to roll. And if you want to think about our blueprint analogy, we've got it drawn, we've colored it all in and now we're coming in and adding all the fine detail and the finishing touches, along with the plan of how this is all going to come together.
Okay, so first, let's start things off, as I did, with the monthly planning on where do we conduct our weekly planning. Okay, so it's either going to be paper or digital. For me, again, obviously, I use the top planner. So my weekly planning, this is my command center. My weekly planning is done on the weekly planning spread.
If you are an electronic calendar user, you will go right into your Google Calendar, ical, digital, whatever and you want to have your week at a view. Notice I said, regardless of whether or you are a paper or a digital user, you want to make sure that your weekly planning is being done on a week at a view. All right, we're not doing this one page per day. Okay, now, what is different from our monthly planning to our weekly planning? Again, when you look at the checklist that we built for you here if you have not downloaded the four levels of planning checklist, go ahead and grab that megansumrell.com/4levels, the number four and then levels You'll notice there isn't much new here, from weekly to monthly planning. What is different, though, again, is level of specificity and detail. Now, there are a couple new things that you'll see, and we'll touch on those in a minute that go into your weekly plan. But first, what I want to talk about is what are those difference of detail and specificity that goes into your weekly plan versus your monthly plan?
So in the last episode, when we were talking about monthly planning, I gave several examples of where you may be making notes for yourself on hey, either this week I want to make sure I have the time to get these things done, or sometimes even we might make a note on a specific day that we think this might be the day that we're going to work on something. Well, now, when we create our weekly plan, we are now actually putting down specific dates and specific times to ensure that everything that we want to get done this week can actually happen. So on my monthly plan, I might have a note on a given week that this is the week that I want to. I think I gave an example of maybe doing a pantry clean out or a decluttering of some sort. So maybe that's. I've made a note for myself that I want to do it that week. Or that's the week I want to write my newsletter for my business. Well, now in our weekly planning I'm going to look at the realities of my week and say, okay, well, when exactly can I get this done? So now it turns into maybe Tuesday, from 10am to 12pm. I am creating the appointment on my calendar to get that specific task done. All right. So now we're actually layering in with a lot more specificity. When am I setting aside and committing to the time to get the work done and the things done that I want to have done this week? All right.
Now there's a subtle thing here with weekly planning. The way most people do planning is they have a calendar with their appointments for the week, the things where they're committed to other people, right, maybe it includes a meeting, maybe it includes going to the dentist, maybe it includes taking a child to an activity, and then they have a huge list next to it of all the things that they desire to get done this week. And their mode of operating all week long is anytime they have a minute looking at the list and going which thing should I do right now? That is not weekly planning, because there's no planning there, right? It's nonstop list making and nonstop decision making. So I just want to make sure again to highlight, when I talk about that level of specificity, we're not operating off a weekly task list. A task list is not a plan. We are looking at our calendar and our current commitments and understanding what time do I really have, so that I can see clearly when I need to be working on specific things.
Now, side note with this, what we don't want our weekly plan to do is be jam-packed of one thing, boom after the other, from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed. We do not want to book every second of our day with things that are on our list of stuff that we want to get done, because when we do that, what happens? When something happens to derail our plans, an emergency pops up, life happens, maybe something takes longer than you thought. Right, what happens is now it's this wicked domino effect of everything getting affected after it. So I don't want you thinking that a weekly plan means that you are going to be go, go, go, go, go. Part of what goes into your weekly plan is white space or open time, or sometimes I call it buffer time. So when we're creating our plan for the week, we're actually making sure that we're protecting and preserving time on our calendar to be able to absorb changes that come at us during the week new things that come up or emergencies or things that take longer than we need to. So the new stuff that is going into our weekly planning really results around our weekly checklist.
Now I talked about a monthly checklist when we were talking about the monthly planning. Well, similar to that with our weekly planning, most of us I don't think I've met anyone yet that doesn't have a list of some sort of things that they want to or need to do every single week that if they don't write it down or put it into their calendar, they might forget about it or they might run out of time to get it done. All right. So this can whether it's personal or work. It can range from getting emails written, creating content, making things, stuff around the house, maybe reports that needed to be generated. One of the things online is digital photo organization every week. Right, my weekly checklist is actually pretty long, but a lot of the things on there are things that happen in 10 minutes or less. So when we're creating our weekly plan, we're looking at that checklist as a reference and then again, with the specificity, deciding when exactly in this week am I going to get these things done.
Now notice, when we tackle weekly planning this way. What I'm not saying is that every single week, monday morning from nine to 10 am, you're doing the same tasks. Nope, because we don't know, one Monday for me looks completely different from the next, so how it's going to look every single week might be completely different. So the real differences here with our weekly planning are the specificity of now layering in specific dates and times and now bringing in that weekly checklist. Now, the other part that we're getting specificity on as well is that time for ourselves. I talked about that in the monthly planning. Now on the weekly planning, just as you're blocking off specific dates and times to get things on your list done, we're also blocking off specific dates and times for personal time, for downtime. All right, we're not in a race here to see who gets more done. To me, that is not necessarily winning.
Now, one question I get over and over and over again when it comes to weekly planning is this what about all the stuff that pops up during the week that I don't know about when I create my weekly plan? Now, I have done a lot of training on that. I'm not going to use our time here today, but I do have a link below in the show notes to a blog article that you can go read that talks about what I call these pop-up tasks and strategies for absorbing them into your weekly plan. Okay, I wanted to just bring that up here in the episode because, in case you're thinking, megan, how the heck can I plan out my week when there's a lot of unpredictability and things that I don't even know? Well, that's part of the system and the process that I teach for planning okay is knowing how to absorb those and get those into our weekly plan. So I do have that resource there for you.
Now, if you want to see weekly planning in action or I'm actually showing how I'm moving from that list of stuff to a detailed weekly plan I have that covered for you in my app. If you have not downloaded the Pink Bee app, it's all one word, it's in both the App Store and Google Play. I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and grab that to unlock all of the detailed training. It's a one-time fee of $1.99 US. That's it. It's not a subscription or anything like that and you will be able to see exactly how I create this weekly plan. So you're going to see the specificity. You're going to see that checklist come in. You're going to see how I layer in that personal time, all right.
So in this four-part series, the purpose of this was really to help you understand the what when it comes to four levels of planning, meaning what type of information goes into annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planning, and then at what level of detail, and then how they all work together, how they tie together. All right. The next part is learning the how, mastering what those planning systems look like. There's a system for weekly planning, there's a system for monthly planning, there's a system for quarterly planning and there's a system for annual planning. So if you are ready to learn how to master that, I've got great news for you. At the time we are recording this again, our annual Plan, a Palooza event, is coming up here October 24th, 25th, 26th of 2023. This is your opportunity to master annual planning. Live with me all right Now. The top program is an ongoing, available asset for you where you can learn weekly, monthly and then we kind of do quarterly planning in both. So if you are ready to learn the how of all of this, make sure you come check out megansumrell/plan and grab your ticket for our Plan a Palooza event. Thanks so much for spending your time here with me and happy planning.
Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Pink B app. It's one word, the Pink B. It is jam-packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.