By Rob and Steve Shallenberger

Before a pilot jumps in the cockpit, he or she will always do pre-flight planning. Pre-flight planning includes researching the target or destination, route of flight, weather, aircraft maintenance records, fuel, and so on.    

Imagine what would happen if a pilot said, “We don’t need to do our pre-flight planning; we’re just going to wing it today!” In the fighter pilot world, that would result in chaos, misalignment, and confusion – not good!   

How many times do people go into their week without a plan and expect a different result than pilots would get without doing their pre-flight planning? Just as pre-flight planning is critical for a pilot, pre-week planning is just as essential when people want to take control of their lives and make sure that they do what matters most. How many times have things like exercise, meditation, reading, or other priorities slipped through the cracks because there wasn’t a plan to actually do them?  

Pre-week planning is far more than just penciling in your important to-do items throughout the week. This focused planning activity is the key to proactively scheduling your priorities rather than prioritizing your schedule. It’s the process that will help a person lead a life by design rather than a life by default.  

What is pre-week planning? 

Pre-week planning is taking 20–45 minutes during the weekend (prior to Monday morning) to schedule your priorities. In our research, 68 percent of people felt like prioritizing their time is their #1 challenge. Most people feel like they’re being pulled in so many different directions and that’s taking it’s toll on their happiness, as well as their mental and emotional well-being. 

So, what’s the solution? People who consistently do pre-week planning call it a life-changing habit. 

Here are the four key steps to effectively do pre-week planning.   

Step 1. Review your vision and long-range goals. Take a few minutes to review your overall vision and goals, then ask yourself what you can do this week towards accomplishing your goals. By first reviewing your vision and goals, you’re looking at them and taking in the 30,000-foot view of where things stand at least one time each week. This puts you in an elite statistical number of people — only 1 percent of people regularly revisit their vision and goals.  

Step 2. List your roles. Identify the five to seven roles that matter most to you (personal/self, manager, parent, spouse, etc.). This approach helps you plan your week through the lens of what matters most in each role, rather than just thinking about your professional role. It also empowers you to have a balance of success stories across each area of your life.   

Step 3. Set action items for each role. Whether you call them action items or weekly goals, the bottom line is that you have a personal brainstorm with yourself to determine what actions matter most in the coming week for each role. Imagine how powerful that is to sit down each weekend for a few minutes and identify specific actions that matter most in each of your important roles. It could be as simple as planning a date night, sending a note to your son or daughter, making time for exercise or meditation, scheduling an important client interaction, and so on.  

Step 4. Schedule a time for each action item. Whether you use a weekly planner or an electronic calendar, this step is when you assign a time on your calendar for the coming week for each action item.    

These four simple steps allow you to schedule your priorities rather than prioritize your schedule. That’s what differentiates it from every other planning process out there.  

What’s the impact of pre-week planning?   

A person who does pre-week planning accomplishes an average of 20 to 30 more activities/tasks during the week (with less stress) than someone who doesn’t. Over a month, that equates to an additional 80–120 activities. In a year, that equates to an additional 900–1,200 items that are important to you!    

On paper, those are just numbers. Yet, every one of those numbers represents a meaningful activity that you’ve accomplished in your life. It could represent exercise, a gesture of kindness to your spouse, an important activity related to your job, taking care of a client or team member, or spending quality time with a son or daughter.  

Imagine the cumulative impact of maintaining the habit of pre-week planning for the rest of your life. By making pre-week planning a habit, you empower yourself to consistently do the things that matter most in your life. Pre-week planning will help you show up for yourself and others, thereby significantly increasing your personal well-being and happiness! 

For a free pre-week planning template, visit

**Originally published at Addicted2Success