By now, most people are aware of the importance of a weekly plan. The old saying ‘if you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will’ resonates pretty true, especially living in a society that continually seeks to steal more and more of your time, whether that be technologies that profit from your screen time or working for a company that seems to think endless meetings are the answers to their problems.
I noticed my time starting to slip through my fingers once I finished university. Since then I’ve crafted and refined a system to help me focus on the absolute most important things in life, in this article I’ll share this system, but first, we should go over the two key concepts the system uses
You may already be aware of timeboxing, popularised by Cal Newport in his seminal text, Deep Work, among many other productivity thought leaders. Timeboxing is a tried and tested technique to ensure, on a daily basis, first things get done first. Timeboxing is a simple concept to get going with, all you need to do is map out your day in hours, and, at the start of the day, dictate what tasks you are going to fill those hours with.
Timeboxing is incredibly effective, but I found on its own, not enough. You also need a way to ensure the tasks you plan for a day are aligned with long term goal you want to achieve, enter the OKR
OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) were pioneered by John Doer, who literally wrote the book on them, Measure What Matters. Simply put OKR’s consist of a few high level, quantifiable objectives, such as ‘Get 500 medium followers’ with a number of smaller key results for each objective like ‘post 4 articles every month’
Bringing OKR’s and Timeboxing Together
I’ve found that by setting quarterly OKR’s and having a system in place whereby my daily and weekly timeboxed schedule are aligned with my key results, I can make sure each hour of my day is spent working on what really matters to me. If this system sounds appealing read on for a step by step guide on how to set it up.
Step 1: Document your OKR’s
I do this every quarter and use Notion’s OKR Framework:
You’ll want to update the progress of your OKR’s every week, also make sure all your key results are stored in a single table like the one below, this is vital for the next step
Step 2: Make a Weekly Plan, That Links to OKR’s
I use Notions table feature to create a template for my weekly plan. Every Sunday I sit down and decide what I am going to do in the following week. The key difference of using this with OKR’s is that each task that you assign yourself for the week can be linked to a specific quarterly key result you want to achieve, using Notions relational database feature.
Step 3: Make a Weekly View
With Notion you can create multiple views using the same table. I added a board view which shows all my weekly tasks on a day by day basis. I then just drag the tasks into the day that I want to complete them to get a full weekly plan.
Hopefully you have found this guide useful, understandably this may seem over the top and needless effort for some, especially if you are consistently working on big tasks (such as developers) but if you sometimes find yourself at the end of the week thinking all you’ve done is urgent tasks, but actually not anything important, this might be a helpful way to ensure you are working on the things that are most important for you!
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