I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

I grew up having an aversion to lists. Maybe I was just a little haughty about my sharp memory, but I took great pride in not needing to write things down. I knew what I needed to do and by when. No big deal.

Fast forward to my first job. I didn't make lists because my boss made them for me and also prioritized them. She was not a gifted verbal communicator, but the lists were very clear and I never wondered what I should be working on. I knew.

Fast forward to my next job. After the first few weeks my boss began asking for my to-do list. He wanted to know what I was working on. At first, I was offended. Didn't he think I was being productive? (I don't think I would have liked his answer.)

I resented the task, and immaturely made it known. He, maturely, did not relent. Over time, a habit formed and I began to rely more heavily on these lists because *GASP* my memory somehow dulled as years passed!!!

Now that I am in my current position and working from home (out of sight and sometimes out of mind from the powers that be), lists and plans have become top priority for a number of reasons:

1. See note on memory above.
2. It has become very fun to check things off my list. (And yes, I've become one of those people who will, in fact, write down something I've already done just to have the satisfaction of being able to cross it off the list).
3. When my boss asks what I've been working on or what I have coming up, I never falter - I can refer directly to my list and rattle it all off. (Much to his delight, by the way).
4. To keep myself on my boss's radar, I can be proactive and send a little update with what I've accomplished and what I'm working on (in case he wants to give his 2 cents. Which he usually does. Much to his delight).
5. I am infinitely more productive and less inclined to assume the deer-in-headlights position on Mondays when we all have that feeling of 'there's so much to do and so little time!'

Over the years I have tried 2 approaches to weekly planning. Both have their charms:

Monday morning planning - First thing in the morning, I write out everything that is coming up and prioritize. As the week progresses, I can check things off and re-prioritize based on whatever info comes down the pike.

Friday planning - Early afternoon, I check next week's calendar and write out all that needs attention and prioritize. The additional bonus here is that it prompts me to actually look at the next week, and if there's anything happening Monday, I still have a couple of hours on Friday to prep.

I've been leaning more toward the Friday planning lately so that I can hit the ground running on Mondays. Plus, as I think of things over the weekend, I can wander into the office and add them to the list.

I'd be interested to hear how you plan your week and why.

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