Implement Your “Planning Period”

Posted March 7, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

When it comes to Career Girl’s “Using Time Wisely” category, the incredible advice of time and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam has been a staple. This article is no different, as she writes for CBS about “The Most Important Hour You’ll Spend Today.” What is that hour? Your planning period.

Laura says:

Think back to high school. If your school had six periods a day, chances are your teachers taught somewhere around five courses apiece. The extra hour of the day? Contractually, it might have been a planning period — a time the teacher could figure out lesson plans apart from her “on” hours in front of students. If doesn’t always work, but the goal of a planning period is to create regular space for thinking of things before you do them.

In her article, Laura gives you a few great ideas on how to incorporate a planning period into your regular schedule. Here, we’re giving you a few more. Try these tips to plan for success:

  • Make Sunday “Productivity Sunday.” Now, we’re not just saying this because it’s always productivity Sunday on CGN (you’ll find articles every Sunday from our productivity expert Melissa Foster). Sunday, especially Sunday evening, can be an incredibly powerful time for planning your week. You might do laundry and decide on your outfits for the week. Perhaps you’ll spend some time with your weekly to-do list so you can hit the ground running Monday morning. You could also make Sunday cooking day and make your lunches for the week. Whatever you decide, use Sunday to your productive advantage.
  • It doesn’t always have to be an hour. Setting aside an hour to plan each day may seem daunting, so go ahead and back up from that expectation. Instead, set aside the first 15 minutes of the day, or take 5 even. In that time, match your to-do list to your calendar. What can you realistically get done in the time you have available between meetings or commitments today?
  • Plan by the month! We all set New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s also important to set those same kinds of goals each month. So if planning daily sounds daunting, at least make sure you’re setting monthly goals. These kinds of goals will make it easier to look at your daily and weekly to-do lists, because you ultimately need to match those monthly goals to the ways in which you’re moving the needle each day and every week.

Teachers are some of the hardest working people on the planet, but they always make time to plan. You should, too!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."