If I had to choose one piece of productivity advice, it would probably be weekly planning! I talked about weekly planning and daily adjustments almost a year ago, but I’ve had some questions recently from friends about how I actually do my weekly planning process, so I thought I’d share it here.
So, back to school . . . This has always been one of my favorite times of year, so probably not that surprising that I ended up as an academic :-). Since the public schools in Albuquerque start August 12, and my university classes start August 19, I basically consider the beginning of August the end of summer and the beginning of back to school prep.
As I’ve mentioned before, my larger scale unit of planning is the semester, and I’ve discussed how I make my semester plan for Fall and Spring. At the end of each semester, before making the plan, I also conduct an end of semester review, looking at what went well and what didn’t, and what I want to focus on or change in the following semester. I’ll share my Summer plan at the end of this post (yes, I plan summers too!), but before that I thought I’d discuss how I do my end of semester review.
As a tenure-track professor with small children who also teaches Highland dancing, I sometimes find it challenging to fit everything in, especially as there are so many parts to all of these that it’s easy to lose track of. As a professor, I have research, teaching, and service time to fit in, and each of these also has multiple components or projects within it. For example, with teaching I also have to account for prep, grading, meeting with students, curriculum development, and so on. For research and service, I have multiple ongoing projects, that can also require coordination with other people. As a dance teacher, I teach classes and also have to do administrative items like tracking payments, emailing students, planning lessons, and so on on a weekly basis. I also have larger projects, such as volunteering to run several dance competitions a year. Finally, with children, in addition to fun family things, there is a significant amount of chores/paperwork etc to divide up with my husband and do my share of.
While I use my semester plan for the big picture, the key to my current strategy for managing the details is weekly planning and daily adjusting, so I thought I would describe this system in this post. After all, I like to read about other people’s planning systems for ideas, so maybe you’ll want to read about mine?