W elcome to the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge, week 2! Yep, the TBT week starts on Fridays. Why? Well, it has a lot to do with this week’s rule, Rule #2: Plan on Fridays.
One of my fundamental tenets of time management is that most people, and particularly people with a lot going on, need a designated weekly planning time. A week is the cycle of life as we actually live it (is Tuesday a typical day or Saturday? Both happen just as often; a week contains both.). A week is long enough to take a holistic perspective, but short enough that the plans you set will likely be doable.
Planning should not just be about figuring out what you have to do. When you look at a whole week, you can figure out what you want to do too. I suggest people set priorities in three categories: career, relationships, self. What would make this feel like a really good week? Just 2-3 items in each is plenty, but figure out where these can go.
You should also figure out what you need to do for the next week. A lot of this will already be on your calendar, but you might need to add things. You can be judicious; this is also a good moment to remove something that isn’t the best use of your time. You can solve any logistical problems and spread out anything big (deadline on Wednesday and a busy day Tuesday? Carve out time Monday to work on it too.).
Finally, make sure you have something you’re looking forward to! Not only is this good for mental health in general, it will motivate you to stick with the planning habit.
As for Fridays? If you have a weekly planning time that works for you, and it isn’t Friday, you don’t have to change But! Friday has a lot going for it:
- It tends to be a slower day, and a lower energy day. If you’d just be sliding toward the weekend, why not use what could be wasted time to plan?
- It’s during business hours. If you plan on Sundays, and you need to set an appointment or a meeting, you might not get a response (well, you will if you’re setting a meeting with an employee…but do you really want to be that boss?)
- You can use all of Monday. If you plan on Monday morning, you won’t start executing on these things until later on Monday. If you’re drifting toward the weekend on Friday, well, we’ve really shortened the workweek! Plan on Friday and you can use that Monday morning start-of-the-week energy for making progress (It’s also a great time to work on speculative or long term projects…before everyone else sorts themselves out for the week).
- You can enjoy your weekend more. If you work a M-F week and don’t plan until Sunday or Monday morning, you might spend part of the weekend wondering about what’s coming your way. If you leave Friday with a plan, you can relax.
If you’re a Friday planner, I’d love to hear about it: when you do it, if it works for you, etc.
I don’t have favorite rules, but alongside giving yourself a bedtime, I really think this one can be life-changing. When people ask me how I manage my life, I always give a shout out to a holistic weekly planning process. It’s not all of it, but it is a big part of making the juggle possible.
Doing the “Plan on Friday” rule once will be helpful for sorting out the next week. But when you observe a weekly planning time, week after week, life starts to feel a lot more tranquil. You start getting potential crises under control before they happen. You think about long term goals, and start putting more steps toward long term goals on your calendar, so that when you get to upcoming weeks, many good things are already there. This makes planning swifter — and more fun.
In other news: If you’re doing the official TBT Challenge, you got a link today in your email to my Zoom “office hours” next week. Hope to see a few folks there!