3x Your Productivity with this Weekly Planning Guide | Vanessa Loder | Skillshare

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3x Your Productivity with this Weekly Planning Guide

teacher avatar Vanessa Loder, Women's Leadership & Mindfulness Expert.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Weekly Planning Guide - Overview


    • 3.

      Visualize Your Goals - Step 1


    • 4.

      Recharge - Step 2


    • 5.

      Celebrate & Appreciate - Step 3


    • 6.

      Just Say No - Step 4


    • 7.

      Major Lessons & Inspiration - Step 5


    • 8.

      Failure is Feedback - Step 6


    • 9.

      Giving Back & Connecting - Step 7


    • 10.

      Feed Your Soul - Step 8


    • 11.

      Focus - Step 9


    • 12.

      Daily Goals & Review - Step 10


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About This Class

Do you want to get more focused and have a simple system to help you prioritize what's most important while carving out time to recharge throughout the week? You can 3x your productivity and set yourself up for a successful week with this incredibly effective Weekly Planning Guide. 

Join leadership and mindfulness expert Vanessa Loder as she shares her secret to getting more done in less time, designing your ideal week and making space for your top priorities - including YOU!

This Weekly Planning Guide is based on the neuroscience behind behavior change and incorporates techniques to harness the power of visualization and connecting with your soul’s desires as you map out your ideal week. It’s been road tested by hundreds of Vanessa’s high performing clients at organizations like Google, LinkedIn, Salesforce and Stanford Business School and improved over the years based on their feedback.

This short class is jam packed with proven strategies and tools. You’ll learn how to:

  • Visualize your goals
  • Focus on your Top Outcomes each week
  • Chunk it down to daily tasks
  • Celebrate and appreciate your accomplishments
  • View all failure as feedback
  • Schedule self-care
  • Review and adjust

This class is perfect for high performing leaders, executives, creatives and anyone who wants to get more done in less time, without feeling exhausted or depleted in the process. As you follow this template to list your top priorities each day, you'll increase productivity and cultivate greater focus. By proactively scheduling self-care, and celebrating your accomplishments, you’ll learn how to increase your energy and recharge your battery every week. At the end of this class, you’ll have a weekly system to help you stay on track, feel better about your ability to get things done, and get even more accomplished. (YAY!)

If you want to feel better and get more done - join me!

Meet Your Teacher

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Vanessa Loder

Women's Leadership & Mindfulness Expert.


Hi, I'm Vanessa - I'm so glad you're here!

I'm a women’s leadership and mindfulness expert, keynote speaker and energetic sparkplug committed to helping you expand what’s possible for your life.

Here's a free 30 Day Meditation Challenge to get you started - Join Today!

My work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, the Huffington Post and Glamour Magazine. You can learn more by watching the Tedx talk “How To Lean In Without Burning Out” below. 

**If you liked the Weekly Planning Guide, get the full Soul Planner HERE

My Story:

After working on Wall Street, I got a Stanford MBA and was a successful investor in Silicon Valley. I climbed to the top of the ladder, only to realize…crap! Wrong... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hi there, my name is Vanessa Loder and I'm so glad you're here. Today, I'm going to be teaching you the absolute best tool that I've ever learned to help you dramatically increase your productivity, and I came to this tool because I have been an overachiever my entire life. I graduated from an Ivy League school, worked on Wall Street doing investment banking and then private equity. Got my MBA from Stanford. Basically got to this point in my career where I was successful, and yet I would lie in bed at night with my mind just racing, thinking of all the things I didn't get done that day and all the things I had to get done the next day, and I remember thinking, this is success, this feeling of constantly running to catch up to all my things I have to get done. I became really interested in the neuroscience behind behavior change and mindfulness, and I started studying all of these alternative healing modalities and productivity tools and tools to lower my stress and anxiety just for myself, and I ended up changing so dramatically that I quit my job and decided I wanted to dedicate my life to bringing these tools to other people, particularly to people in the business world and to creative entrepreneurs. That's what I do now, I absolutely love my job. I get to lead corporate workshops and do keynote speaking for companies like Google and Salesforce, PG&E, LinkedIn, and Stanford Business School. I've even given a TEDx talk on how to lean in without burning out. Because I'm so obsessed with this question of how can we be successful without feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and burned out? That is exactly what I'm going to be teaching you today. With this weekly planning tool, you're going to learn how to increase your focus and prioritize your top tasks each week while finding time for self-care and activities that are going to recharge your battery. I can't wait to get started, and your class project is going to be you taking yourself through this weekly planning process and filling it out for the upcoming week, so join me in this class and let's do this. 2. Weekly Planning Guide - Overview: So let's get started with the weekly planning guide. I'm going to be giving you an overview. Now, this weekly planning guide was inspired by Scott Densmore at Live Your Legend. Then I've adapted over the years as I've used it with successful leaders at companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Salesforce, and dozens of women in my online programs and in-person retreats have given me their personal feedback, and so I've taken it and made it even better. So it's now even better than it once was. It's a very specific 10 step process for you to set yourself up for success in the coming week and to ensure that you use your time as effectively as possible. I have one client and who's now a dear friend named Suzanne, who told me, "Vanessa, I'm obsessed with productivity tools and journals." She said, " I've bought every single planner, journal on the market I've tried them all, and the weekly planning guide is by far the best one I've ever come across." She loved it so much we actually collaborated to create an annual planning guide together. Let's go through what this is going to entail your class project, I recommend setting aside 20 to 30 minutes to do this each week, ideally on a Sunday night or maybe Monday morning. So you're going to want to go ahead and print it out now, and set aside at least 30 minutes to complete it together. Takes a little longer the first time you do it, and then you'll shorten it as you do it each week. Once you complete this weekly planning guide, you're going to get more done in less time, and you'll find even more time for yourself and for the activities that matter to you. The best part is that there's some things built into the planning guide to help you feel better about everything you're already doing. There's even a section where you get to plan some self-care for you to make sure that you're recharging your battery every week. So let's dive in. 3. Visualize Your Goals - Step 1: Step 1 of the weekly planning guide is to visualize your goals. That is right here on the guide, it says visualize. I'm going to tell you a little bit about what is visualization, some of the research behind it and why is it so important. What I have found is that if you want to be really successful in life without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted in the process, the key to that is to harness the power of your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind doesn't think in language, it thinks in images and pictures and symbols. One of the best ways that you can be more effective and more productive is to get crystal clear on your goals and then visualize them. Here's the crazy thing about our brain. Our conscious brain that we like to think is running the show, processes information at a rate of about 50 bits per second. While our unconscious intuitive nervous system processes information at a rate of 11 million bits per second, 50 versus 11 million. What does that mean? That means that 95 percent of all of our brain activity is not actually conscious. Research has repeatedly shown that visualizing and connecting with our best future self makes us happier and more optimistic and helps us to call the people and resources into our life that are going to help us achieve our goals and dreams. In case you aren't clear on visualization or you think I don't know how to do that, I want you to try this now, close your eyes. Just humor me, close your eyes for a moment and see a red bird in your mind's eye. Can you see it? You can open your eyes now. Great job. You just did a guided visualization, it's that simple. That's all it takes, it's imagining something in your mind's eye. Visualization is a powerful tool for linking up your conscious and your subconscious mind. One study of basketball players show that one hour of visualization is the same as seven hours of physical activity. All Olympic athletes know this, they use the power of visualization. If you look at Lindsey Vonn before she goes down to ski mountain, she's always doing this with her hands in the air, right before she races down the hill because she's visualizing every single turn before she gets down to race. All Olympic athletes, so many of them use the power of visualization and yet corporate athletes don't harness this incredible tool. What we're going to do first is have you visualize some of your goals. What I recommend is you think of a goal or an outcome that you want in your life or your business, then you set a timer and you spend anywhere from 2-5 minutes visualizing that goal. What you want to do is you want to find the images and pictures and symbols that represent the goal for you and that give you the greatest feeling in your body of having achieved that goal. Here's a very concrete example, one of the women I coached and worked with from one of my programs, she had a goal of becoming a partner at this investment firm and making a certain amount of money. I said well, what's the image that represents that goal? She's like, ''I don't know'' and I said looking at a copy of your W-2 is not that exciting, something that's going to get you to feel the emotions in your body. I said, do they have a celebration at your firm like they do in all the movies when you become a partner at a law firm and all the other partners are in the conference room and they call you in, you think you're going to be in trouble and then they have champagne and they're like, ''Congrats, you're a partner.'' She's like, ''No, they don't really do that at my firm. There's no celebration.'' I said well, what symbolizes this goal for you and we're brainstorming together and all of a sudden she said, ''Oh, the parking space.'' I was like what? The parking space? She said, ''Yeah, the parking space. Vanessa, when I become a partner I get my own parking spot.'' Parking in downtown San Francisco is horrible, I hate it, it puts me in a bad mood every morning and when I get to be a partner, I'm going to just be able to slide right into my spot right by the elevator, it's going to be so easy. Even as she was talking about the parking space, her whole energy went up and you could tell how much she felt excited about this. That was the image that she would visualize to symbolize her goal of becoming a partner. What you're going to do for step 1 is you're going to come up with some images and symbols that represent the goals that you want to achieve. Now, I do this weekly planning guide every week and so sometimes I might visualize a long term goal, sometimes I might visualize what I'm going to be doing in the coming week like let's say I'm giving a big keynote talk on stage in front of hundreds of people, I will visualize it days before and imagine myself on the stage, feel how I want feel in my body, I'll see my audience, maybe I'll see them laughing if I want to be funny or whatever. The more details you can get in your visualization and the more emotions you can feel in your body, the better. I also have a bonus activity if you want to create a goal board or a vision board to represent your goals then you can do that too. Go ahead and get started by coming up with some images and symbols that represent your goals. 4. Recharge - Step 2: Step 2 of the weekly planning guide is Self-Care Planning. What you're going to do is you're actually going to proactively schedule off your self-care. What a radical idea. The reason why so many people get overwhelmed, exhausted, and burned out is because they don't take care of themselves and do anything to recharge their batteries. I'll be talking in another skill share class about a lot of the research behind the brain. But it turns out that our brains are most productive when we work in pulses. When you have a concentrated amount of time where you're focused on something and then you take a break and then concentrated amount of time and then you take a break. Very important that you recharge your battery throughout every day and every week. What I will often do is I'll work really hard in the morning for a few hours and then I'll go to the gym and I'll exercise and even have a steam room, which is really nice. I'll steam and then I'll get back to work. I know not everyone has that luxury. Maybe you're at a desk job that has more Face Time. But there's I guarantee there's a way that you can schedule more self-care, even if it's just taking 10 minutes to walk around the block when you first get home at night, rather than jumping right into your evening. What you do for step two of the weekly planning guide is you're going to look ahead at your week and you're going to actually book your self-care. You're going to block it off on your calendar and if there's anything, you might do the research on what days do you want to maybe go to the gym or do you want to take a long walk with a friend. Can you reach out to somebody and see if they're available to meet you for coffee or a drink or to go on a walk. You're just going to ask yourself, what is going to recharge my batteries the most? Then you're actually going to schedule that. I recommend having daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual self-care goals. What I like to do is every eight weeks or every quarter I will do a bigger self-care thing. Maybe I'll go to the spa for a day and have a whole day of visioning for my business and celebration. Then the other thing is, whenever you have a big project at work or something stressful in your life, that is often when most of us let go of all the self-care because they're like I don't have time, I don't have time, I'm so stressed. But that is actually the time when it is the most important for you to have activities that nourish you and replenish you between these intense bursts of effort, otherwise you will definitely burn out. For me, when I have a really busy week where I have a lot, I need to get done. If I will at least try to build in micro- moments of self-care, doing little things to help replenish a short walk or a good conversation with a friend, those kinds of things and then what I do is when that sprint to the finish is over. If I'm giving some big presentation or talk on stage in front of hundreds of people, the next day or two days after, I will schedule a massage or something bigger to give myself a reward and to also recharge my batteries because I know that I'm going to be depleted from that last week of effort. If you have something big going on, then you definitely want to build in time, some downtime in advance. Even if it's just 10 to 15 minutes, it's really important that you block it out on your calendar because otherwise that time is going to get taken away. It'll just be filtered into other activities. Step 2 of the weekly planning guide is to block off your self-care and to be thoughtful about what is going to recharge your battery and make sure you build that into your week in advance. You're going to be amazed at how much more energy you have when you start to build things into your week that bring you more energy. Go ahead and do that now if you have time for doing the weekly planning guide as we go, you're going to want to take a few minutes right now, look at your week ahead and block off time for self-care. 5. Celebrate & Appreciate - Step 3: Step 3 of the weekly planning guide is to celebrate and appreciate. We spend so much time focusing on what we didn't get done, and that actually causes us to feel blah, inefficient and it zaps our energy. When you focus on what you did get done in the last week, all of a sudden, you'll be amazed at everything you've accomplished. So what you're going to do for Step 3 is you're actually on the weekly planning guide where it says celebrate and appreciate, you're going to write down 10 things that you're proud of from last week. I just did this. It took not even two minutes, about one minute. So you're going to think of 10 things that you're proud of from the last week. The thing that I love, love, love about this step, every single time I do it, I'm not exaggerating every single time. When I have to list 10 things, maybe the first three I can remember, think of big things I did that I'm proud of, but there's always by the end of the 10, there's something that I go, "Oh yeah, I forgot. I did that too last week." I'm left with this sense of "I got so much done." So it's a really great way to give yourself credit for all that you're already doing and to feel like you've accomplished a lot, and it's going to keep the momentum and the energy moving forward for you. Now what I like to do is I actually get my calendar out, and look at the last week to see some of the things I did because typically, I forget how much I've actually gotten done. I also like to put in some personal things. So on this one a lot of these are work-related, and then the fifth one I said, "I celebrated my best friend. I took her out for her 40th birthday." because I was really happy that I was able to make time and space to make that a priority. I might said things about spending time with my kids, I took my son to get his hair cut, it's nice to put some personal things on there as well because it honors your values and what matters to you. You're going to take a few minute, not even one or two minutes to list out 10 things you're proud of, and then afterwards, I invite you to just inhale and exhale three times while thinking about something that you appreciate about yourself, or about your life. The more that we can cultivate appreciation and gratitude, the more good you'll feel and the more energy you're going to have. So go ahead and do Step 3 now. 6. Just Say No - Step 4: Step 4 is one of the best productivity hacks I can possibly teach and it is this; Just say, no. You would be amazed how much more productive you'll be, if you can actually take things off your plate by outsourcing, delegating, postponing, or just not doing something at all. So many women that I work with and support come to me and say, "Vanessa, I feel overwhelmed, I've taken on too much, I can't handle it all and I feel exhausted by it." If you're someone who feels this way, one of the best solutions that's going to help you be even more productive is to let some things go. To delegate them or outsource them, If you have a hard time doing that for whatever reason, whether it's because you want people to like you or you want to prove yourself or you feel anxious about not having something to do all the time, one thing you can do is write yourself a permission slip. I got this tool from Bernie Brown is one of my favorite tools, all you're going to do is you take a post-it note like this and you're gonna write, "I give myself permission to", and think of it like when you were a little kid in school and you got a permission slip to go on the field trip. Only you're going to give yourself a permission slip to not do something in the next week.This can actually free you up to feel like "It's okay, I got permission now. I don't have to do that." I just give myself a permission slip to not make homemade muffins for this event I'm going to this weekend. I'm in charge of snacks and I was going to make these really good homemade muffins, but you know what? I'm making these videos for you instead, and I don't feel like doing both, that's going to be a lot. It's going to be more productive at my work if I can let go of some other things that are potentially not necessary. Take a moment and ask yourself, what can I delegate or outsource or take off my to-do list entirely for the next week and go ahead and just say no now. 7. Major Lessons & Inspiration - Step 5: Step 5 of the weekly planning guide, is major lessons and inspiration. We are always learning and growing, but if you don't take the time to pause and ask, "What was the major lesson that I learned in the last week?" Then you're not going to notice it or integrate the lesson that's already available to you. It also helps to keep track of inspiring ideas, people or quotes that come your way, that you want to keep in the back of your mind. What you're going to do now, is you're going to write down any key learnings from the past week or major lessons, meaningful quotes, things that inspire you and people you'd like to meet. I just did this really quickly. It's funny because there's an author who had been meaning to reach out to and connect with, and I had forgotten that was important to me until I thought, "All right. That was one other person that I wanted to meet." Then I also had an interesting insight that there were some things I delegated to one of my assistants last week and I didn't give her enough notice, so she really wasn't able to do it in the way that it needed to get done because I told her at the last minute. It's like, "Major lesson. If you want to delegate this type of thing, you need to give like 48 hours notice so that the other person can do it in time." Go figure. So this is a great place to write down just anything that you've learned, any key lessons from the past week and then quotes or people that inspire you that you'd like to meet. Go ahead and do that now. 8. Failure is Feedback - Step 6: Step 6, failure is feedback. We are all bound to make mistakes or wish that we did something differently. Instead of beating yourself up, or stay in a rut, feeling bad about it, what you can do is ask yourself, "What didn't happen this week, or what can I improve on next time?" In Step 6, what you're going to do, this is all about using failure as feedback, you're going ask yourself, " What didn't happen last week, or what can I improve for next time?" Then, you're going to fill that in right here, and I just did that myself. What I realized is that, I didn't allocate enough time for this new course that I was working on, and I tend to be a bit of a time optimist. I always think, "I'm going to get done in that much time," and then it takes that much time. My lesson, what I learned from that mistake, is that I need to put more buffer into my schedule and not be quite such a time optimist, and assume that I'm going to get this entire thing done in 45 minutes. Instead, maybe doubling or tripling the amount of time it's going to take, when I block off my calendar for these types of activities. There's a great affirmation that I use whenever I mess up in life, or I do something like, that was not how I wanted to show up, or that's not how I wanted to do it. The affirmation is, I learn from my mistakes, and then I move on. Or you can say, "I learned from the feedback," And then move on. Whenever I noticed that I've made a mistake and I'm beating myself up, I tried to shift into the affirmation, I learn from my mistakes, and then I move on. You just want to get the lesson, and then move on. That's what this step is going to help you do. Go ahead and fill that in now. Failures feedback. What didn't happen, and what can you improve next time? 9. Giving Back & Connecting - Step 7: Step 7, giving back and connecting. This is a really awesome form of networking that feels much better than typical networking. What you're going to do is you're going to ask first, who can I help? Who can I benefit from reaching out to? Who is someone that I can help out this week? So you might want to ask yourself, it actually helps to make that noise out loud. Who can I help out this week? You're going to list one to three people and then you're going to ask yourself, who would I benefit from reaching out to this week? You will also list one to three people. I personally usually I do this around work stuff, but sometimes I do personal things as well. So one of my daughter's friend's mother just had surgery and I've been meaning to send her flowers. It's important to me and I've been thinking about her and yet it keeps slipping my mind and so I put that on as one of the things of who else can I help this week? That was my first one. Send flowers to Cindy. Then I have a couple other that are more work-related. So go ahead and take some time to list three in each of those categories, and then schedule when you're going to reach out to those people. So go ahead and do that now. 10. Feed Your Soul - Step 8: Step 8 is to listen to your intuition and to do some things that are going to feed your soul. So I'm actually going to combine both of these in step 8 as I'm describing it. So the first one says soul whispers and this is, I teach a whole program called "create work you love" for women who want to find work that they love. In which we talk a lot about how do you connect with the softer voice of your soul rather than the loud voice of the ego. So how do you listen to those intuitive feelings or those gut feelings that you have about what you're meant to be doing in the world? How do you find your soul's purpose? What I have discovered is that we often get these little gut feelings to do something or to reach out to someone, and I call those soul whispers. So if you've had a gut feeling about something, or if you want to just spend a couple of minutes and ask yourself, what is going to move my business, my career, and my life forward the most? Just notice, does a certain person's face pop into your mind? Did you get an idea to write an article or to do something? That is what I call a soul whisper. So you're going to just tune in with your intuition, your gut feeling, and see if there's anything that comes up as, maybe I'm meant to do that. What I teach in the "create work you love" program is once you start to hear your intuition and follow it, magic happens. You'll have all these synchronistic events and coincidences. It's almost like the universe has your back and the people and resources that are meant to support you will just show up. It's wild. So this category is for you to record any curiosities, or synchronicities, or gut feelings, or intuitive ideas that you have and then take action on them. Then over here, it says, "Feed your soul". For me sometimes, this ends up overlapping with my self-care planning. So for example, I might get a massage. That's going to feed my soul, and it's also self-care planning. But other times it might be, I want to dance to some good music while I'm working in my office. So think of three ways that you can feed your soul this week and you're going to write those down now. Then take action by scheduling at least one of them if not all of them. 11. Focus - Step 9: Step 9, focus. This is when the rubber meets the road. We're really going to get to your top priorities. In step 9, under focus, you're going to list your top outcomes for the week. What are the top three priorities for the coming week? Now, I used to write for Forbes as a contributor and I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs. Hands down the number one thing that they most attributed to their success, well there are two things, there were themes that kept coming up. One was resilience, like just not giving up and other was they would limit their to do list. I have a whole other skill share class I'm going to be teaching on your to do list and the power hour. Definitely check those out. But the key to being incredibly productive is to be ruthless about your priorities, because the world is always going to come at you with demands and requests. We get so many e-mails every day, we can feel inundated with them. It's incredibly important for you to take a step back before you start your week and decide, what are my top three priorities for this week? To be ruthless about it, and make sure that you get those three things done. What you're going to do now is you're going to list your top three priorities for the coming week and be as ruthless as possible. You have to limit it to three. Go ahead and do that now. 12. Daily Goals & Review - Step 10: Step 10, daily goals and review. Now that you have listed your top outcomes for the week, your top three priorities, you are going to chunk it down to the top one to three priorities for each day and you are going to decide that in advance. What I recommend is that you do it the night before, so that each day you have it already decided. Some people like to do the whole week in advance. Some people find that your schedule changes so much it is not that helpful on Sunday to decide what you are going to be doing on Thursday because maybe something is going to happen in between. You can experiment and see which cadence works best for you. Do you like to fill out Sunday night for Monday and then Monday night you do Tuesday. The night before you do the next day or do you like to do the whole week in advance? It depends on whether or not your week and your schedule tends to be very much in flux or whether you are someone who can plan things out and be able to stick with them. Again, some of the most successful people I have ever interviewed have said that the key to their success was limiting their to-do lists to three things. What you are going to do is that you are going to write down your top three priorities for each day and you want really chunk it down. For example, if one of my priorities was finishing the outline for the skill share class, I might say, on Monday morning, my priorities is to draft the outline for steps one through five. That might be one chunked down task that I can do. You are going to chunk it down. What are your weekly actions by day for each day of the week? Then you are going to do a quick review. I have a whole annual planning guide. If you are interested in learning more about setting monthly, quarterly, and annual goals, you can get the annual planning guide. What you do is check back in and say review your yearly goals, your quarterly goals and your monthly goals and say, am I on track? Is there anything I need to adjust? For me, again, I have said I'm a time optimist often when I check back in, I will realize I thought I was going to be much further ahead than I am so let me re-adjust and re-prioritize based on the reality of what I have gotten done. That is the final step in the weekly planning guide. Your class project is to set aside 20 to 30 minutes and to fill in your own weekly planning guide. You can either have watched each video and fill it in as you go, do it real time, or you can complete the entire process on your own afterwards. The important thing is to take at least 30 minutes, to sit by yourself and go through this entire process. Yeah. I recommend you do the whole thing at least once, if not for a whole week, to test it out and see how it works for you. You can take the parts that work and you can let go of the rest. Don't decide what is going to work until you do it, because that is what is going to give you a sense of what is going to most support you in enhancing your productivity. Fill in your own weekly planning guide. Take yourself through all the steps. When you are done, you are going to want to take a picture of it and upload it to the class project page.