The brutal reality about how work (dis)organization affects performance
When I was studying for my school exit exams I was doing a real plan – what subject, what topic, what hour, how long.
Unfortunately, this changed when I became a mother. Suddenly, I haven’t owned my time anymore! I wasn’t able to predict how long I would sleep, how my son would behave during the, and so on.
Soon after I started to neglect many things, from tidiness to relationships. It was a tiny disaster. And all that only because I was just so disorganized.
It became an even bigger problem when I stepped up my career path to a team leader position at work.
When I was just a recruiter – it was ok.
My leadership began in January 2018. At the time I also started to conduct workshops, still having only 40 hours of working week. I quickly found out just could not make it.
My frustration was raising day by day – why others can succeed, and I can’t? (I was always rather a good student, and rather top-performing, so it was something hard to learn and accept I’m actually not doing great).
First step for a smart weekly planning
It took me some time to discover that my poor planning skills and excellent procrastination were the problem.
I’m at the very beginning of the way to be perfectly effective and I want to share with you a simple method that helped me, and also my team, to jump into a quick and smart weekly planning routine.
One of the requirements I faced as a leader was weekly planning with my team. That’s where he whole idea was born. At the time I was trying hard to do it, but it was not effective at all. We were writing down the priorities for the upcoming week using bullet points. It was very general, not specific, time consuming and difficult to control.
That led me to a simple conclusion. It was obvious I need a tool that will support me. So I created it!
Weekly planning in one simple table
When I had the “aha moment” about how can I define my work by writing down a few fundamental activities, it all became clear that I need a table to do my planning. And I believe that this method will be helpful for anyone who has many projects with repeatable tasks.
1. Table which shows my tasks for upcoming week.
At the beginning of every week I analyze the situation in my projects. Then decide what I need to do to succeed. I put an ‘x’ in a place to mark what I want to do during this week and paint green the tasks that I completed. When the week ends I mark red those that I did not and I paint yellow all tasks that I completed, even though I didn’t plan to do so.
2. Table after review. Yellow areas appears with ‘x’ as I did something extra, something I did not plan to do.
The results of introducing weekly planning
Why it’s helpful?
- it helps me to focus on my priorities. It’s really simple to distract myself during the week, but anytime I feel confused about what should I do next, I check the table
- It is a great tool for my leader to monitor my progress and to see how much I can do during the week,I have a chance to do a tiny retro after the week when I see many red’s or yellow’s – what was the obstacle, what helped me do more, why I’ve changed my priorities,
- After analyzing many tables from past weeks (I don’t delete them) I can assess on average how many things I’m able to do during one week.
If you want you can read more on how my teammate Marta, introduced the table to her workflow and how it boosted her effectiveness.
I can’t see disadvantages so far.
If you find it useful – feel free to use it. You can find an excel sheet to copy here, but it’s also very easy to do in doc, on paper, anywhere.
What do you think about this? What are your methods to boost your productivity and stop procrastinating?