Planning and preparation are essential for getting things done, especially those things you really want to do.
Time management experts seem to be in two camps about when to do what.
One camp says to start your week by:
1. Cleaning off your desk
2. Clearing out your emails
3. Checking your calendar/planner to see what’s coming up
4. Review what you did last week to be sure something urgent doesn’t need to be done first
5. Write out your to-do list for the day
6. Prepare what you need to accomplish the tasks on your list (gather equipment, files, phone numbers, for example)
7. Sketch out to-dos for the whole week.
8. Do something hard as soon as you can after all this other stuff is done. This is now called eating the frog. If you get the worst, most unpleasant or most important task done every morning, it will set you up to have a great day. Read more about eating the frog in Brian Tracy’s book:
The other camp says to do most the above at the end of your week.
It wouldn’t hurt to do it both times. Especially if:
1. Things pile up on or in your workspace on your days off
2. Emails gather like dust bunnies on your days off
3. Your memory isn’t what it used to be, so you need to check your calendar/planner again.
4. You can probably skip the review either at the end of the week or the beginning of the week.
5. To-do list could be done either day—your pick
6. Same with preparation
7. When you arrive at the beginning of your week and have your to-do list all ready, you can begin quicker, fresher
8. Don’t leave anything hard, if you can help it, for the end of the week
One note about email. I do suggest checking it both end of work week and again at the beginning. Anything urgent should be handled right away no matter what day it is. And if you don’t check the beginning of every day, some of the work you planned to do may no longer be necessary. Definitely something to keep on top of.
This may seem a little overwhelming to do twice a week, but once you get into the habit of doing each thing, it won’t take long, and you’ll be glad you did.