“I love it when a plan comes together,” Hannibal Smith smilingly said in the 80s hit show A-Team, watching a huge bright explosion in the background. While most of us can’t relate to being a hard-ass mercenary soldier who basically blows stuff up for a living, the feeling of accomplishment when a plan goes the way you want, is something most people yearn. And the thing you need to achieve it? A plan. And that requires weekly planning every week.
By definition, weekly planning is the activity you do every week for yourself and for your team to get the most important work done. It is a way to organize your day to day and keep an overview of your short term plans.
There are many templates and methods for weekly planning. In Weekdone we use the PPP – Plans, Progress, Problems method that works well with Quarterly Objectives and Key Results, that we use for long term planning.
Using PPP for Your Week
PPP is a very simple way to handle one’s tasks. Each week, you need to set 3 – 5 plans that you want to finish. These are not knucklehead stuff, but the important things that move you towards your long term goals. When you finish a task like this, you can move it to the Progress category. If you run into issues, you’ll put them under Problems.
Implementing PPP on a team or company level will make sure that team leaders always have a quick overview of what everybody’s working on and how a manager and peers can help.
Benefits of Weekly Planning
Most readers probably don't need convincing that having a plan is good. Still, here are the boons you get from spending time planning your week. Every week. And all these benefits will double and triple, if implemented in a team. As in a team the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts.
Having a great plan is a key to doing great things. Here is our list of reasons you should spend more time planning your time and making sure you work on the right things.
1. Planning Makes You More Productive
Being productive doesn’t have to mean, you’re always working like many people think. It’s more about doing the right things, focusing your energy on what matters and reaping benefits from that.
2. Weekly Planning Helps You with Work-life Balance
Planning your time effectively means you can plan more free time as well. And that’s more important than is possible to stress. A study by Duxbury and Higgins in 2007 found that 1 in 4 Canadians report that their work responsibilities interfere with their ability to fulfill their responsibilities at home. But it’s more than that. Work life conflict has been associated with numerous physical and mental health implications. So, if I’d want to be overly dramatic I’d say, “plan your week or die.”
3. Weekly planning Teaches You When to Say “No”
Having a plan every week helps you understand what aspects of your work are useful and productive in the long run and what parts contribute very little to your overall success. It’s the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule that states that “80% of success comes from 20% of work.” If you have a written plan that you can look back at every week, in a few months you start understanding better what is this 20%. And you can start reducing your load by not doing tasks, not accepting projects that won’t help you move forward.
4. Weekly Planning Makes Sure You Know What’s Going On
At work, we usually have millions of small tasks that demand our attention. So many, at the end of the day we hardly ever can easily remember them all. Sticking to written plans helps us remember those tasks week later as well.
5. Weekly Planning Teaches You to Share
Sharing your plans and progress with your team and managers helps to improve the company as a whole. That’s why it wise to use weekly planning software like Weekdone with your whole team. When plans are public, people know what you are working on and it’s reasonable of them to distract you with their own problem.
Google uses this sort of public goal setting with Objectives and Key Results. The idea is that when everyone knows what everyone is working for, people understand their and their company’s work better. And that increases engagement and teamwork’s quality.
Weekly Review in Weekdone
Weekdone allows you to set your plans with the PPP based weekly review. This method has many extra benefits for both people sharing an office and team that do their work remotely.
The most important benefit is the ability to always have a quick overview of what is going on. As a leader, you can take a quick look and get an overview of everyone’s reports and see, where the problems are, what are people working on and how well things are progressing. And for employees, the main benefit is the simplicity and ease of the system.
As an example, using weekly planning myself, I spend about an hour every Friday, reflecting on my week and making plans for the new one. And on Mondays, when we have a team status meeting, I know exactly what I need to accomplish. And so does my boss.
Weekdone also helps connect your weekly plans to your overarching quarterly goals. To make sure what you are doing is actually helping you achieve your targets.
Watch about how weekly planning can organize your goal setting with OKRs in the video below.
“I love it when a plan comes together,” not because I enjoy the feeling of success too much (well, I do, but still) but I get my thrills getting there with as little stress as possible. Being good at your work doesn’t have to mean endless days and stress filled weekends. It means executing a well-thought out vision and doing it without much fuss.