Posted by: fathersez | January 6, 2008

How I plan or overplan my year, month, week and day

We all have our own systems for time management.

Some of us have checklists, some use diaries, some use electronic whatchamacallits, some just balance everything in their heads. 

I used to make use of diaries but now I use an Excel calendar, and a daily list. I find this system to be so much more efficient. My system is built up like this: 

a)  Year Template 

I have built an Excel calendar for a year. I call this “Year by Week Template”. 

             
Day Main Weekly Goal Monday Tuesday
Date     (Date : A= Blank) (Date: A+1)
             
           
             
           
             
         
             
             
           
             

This is done with a column each for Monday – Sunday, hence representing a week. Since they are in Excel, the columns can be as long as I want them to be.  

The weeks in turn are replicated 52 times to represent a year. 

The dates are all connected by formulas. Since I do not know the date of the first Monday of each year, I leave the date blank. The date for Tuesday is linked to Monday by the formula : +(previous cell) + 1. This formula is copied till Sunday, and the Monday of the next week linked to the Sunday of the week before, etc.  

Day / Date Main Week Goal Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

  

Day / Date Main Week Goal Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

I have 52 of these. It’s actually quite easy to do, since after doing one week, we copy down and it becomes 2 weeks. These two weeks can be copied into 4 weeks, and then 8 weeks etc. 

And when we key in the date for the 1st Monday, the dates for the rest of the year get filled up. 

b) Filling up the Big Rocks 

This “Year by Week Template” is filled up with the “big rocks”, i.e. dates of the children’s birthdays, our wedding anniversary, other key dates like insurance expiries etc.c)   Starting 2008 by Week 

Sometime around October or November 07, I saved the “Year by Week Template” as “2008 by Week”. So now I still have the “Year by Week Template” and another copy named as the “2008 by Week”. 

I key in the date for the 1st Monday for the year, and the Excel formula fills up the rest of the dates automatically. For 2008, 31st December 07 is taken as the 1st Monday of the year. 

d) Now the 2008 Rocks 

I note the school holidays and other special events, if any, in this 2008 by Week file. This file now becomes my diary for the year. 

e)  Weekly Planning 

Some time is set aside on each Friday to plan the week ahead. Things to do are noted in the respective day of the coming week.  Each week, I also go through the plans that have been made to achieve the goals set for the year. Anything that needs to be done during the particular week is updated in the weekly schedule. 

Each week I print this weekly schedule and use it as my base for my daily planning. Some items need to be repeated, weekly or monthly. For example, balancing of bank accounts etc. These are just copied and pasted in the week or month ahead.  

f)    Daily Planning 

I prepare the daily list for any day on the evening before. Since it is basically a copy of the particular day from the weekly list, this exercise takes less than 5 minutes.  

The daily list is handwritten and I cross out things as they get done. If I need to follow up on something, say a couple of weeks later, it is immediately updated in the particular date of the 2008 by Week file. Things not done just get carried forward to the next day. I do make an effort to settle the “biggest rocks” for the day. 

g)  Long Range Reminders 

We all have long range items, like expiries of driving licenses, passports etc. These are listed in a special section in the 2008 by Week and get carried forward yearly as the case may be. 

I have used this system since 2004, and I have hardly tweaked it, since then. Perhaps those better versed with technology may have easier systems.

But this has worked for me.

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Responses

  1. Great system. I purchased a Covey planner insert that cost $40.00. Your system does the same thing for free and you do not have to worry about where to store last year’s planning pages.

  2. Thanks for dropping by.

    I suppose there will be some problems for all the paper products since so many of us will want to go paperless.

    I stopped using the preprinted planners because of the tremendous ease of transfering, editing, or adding items on Excel.

  3. I came across your inspirational site by typing in “plan my year”…..
    inspired by the concept of leaving tangible legacy the most valuable being how to thrive, succeed, survive, be happy in these changing times….. more valuable than money in the bank- it is more enduring and provides self development rather than just provide for transient needs or desires.
    ahem….
    Can you explain step by step how to set up this time management system. it sounds like a great system but I only have hands on experience with excel
    (i.e. i never formally learned excel but have just used it when pressed into it by need)
    i went onto microsoft tutor but realized it will be a real project, perhaps you could kindly provide the steps?
    Thanks and God bless


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