ZTD 3: Plan

First a catch up: April was the month of Clarify and I’ve completed my move to an analogue system, both at work and home. It has been really helpful to have only my “next actions” in one notebook. Having moved the things I can’t move on right now to different notebooks, my process is a much slicker operation. I’ve installed the same thing at work now and I’m really happy with the results – much better mental clarity and faster decision making.

So next is Plan. Oddly, this isn’t something I need to actually do at home, as I don’t do enough stuff that isn’t just a habit. If I change habits then I may try to plan it but really this is something I want to do more of at work.

Probably because it was on my mind, I actually did a very short sketch at the beginning of last week of what I wanted to achieve this week. And during my weekly review I reviewed this plan and actually found, to my surprise, that I’d managed to complete what I had in mind for last week and even a little bit more. I was really happy!

Now, not every week is going to be like last week – last week was a great week but actually built on some of the failures of the week before. And part of the review process is likely to need a degree of critique of “what went wrong” or “what could I have done better” and actually a learning process. I’m going to include these in my weekly review as much as I can.

So, from the book, here’s the idea:

  1. Review my projects list. For example, for the month of May I actually have a presentation to prepare to give at the end of May, so that will be one of my “big rocks” . There will always be other work to do, so I will come up with 1-3 of these big rocks for the week. I will try to create one for the month as well.
  2.  Schedule some time. I’m not a fan of blocking time off in my calendar unless I absolutely have to, so I may have a more free form type of week. As per GTD, I only put things in my diary that absolutely must happen that day. My criteria is that if I had to leave early for whatever reason, what would I have to delegate to others to do. If it could wait until tomorrow then it stays in the next actions list.
  3. Define MITs: these are the 1-3 most important tasks for the day. They are usually pretty obvious to me from the day before, but I will be writing them down to be able to review them weekly.
  4. Complete – self explanatory. Get them done!
  5. Review: This will be relatively new for me, so I look forward to it. It might be useful for me to keep a word document with the conclusions from these reviews.

If you already have a version of this plan, how do you do yours? How does it differ? What changes did you make as you went along?

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