Weekly Planning with Obsidian

Keeping on top of tasks at work has been a work in progress throughout my career. However now I'm doing a more managerial role, I also need to keep track of all the meetings and preparation/followup work in my meetings. I find my daily log fills so many pages of notebook that I moved my weekly plan to a separate section - and then to my preferred digital notes tool, Obsidian. If you're interested in my setup, read on.

Weekly structure

  • Meetings is always the longest section, I am essentially a professional meeting attendee at this point!

  • Shipped reminds me to capture things that actually do get done, in case they get lost and I forget I have achieved things

  • ToDo collects currently-need-doing items. Usually I don't duplicate things assigned to me on GitHub or any of our ticket tracking software tools.

Meetings

I look at my calendar and add a heading for each meeting that is on my calendar for the week, and I do this before Monday morning. In theory, Friday afternoon and in practice, Sunday night. It's like ironing shirts for work except I don't iron any more :)

For each meeting, I look at whether there is preparation work to do. Am I running the meeting? Is there a pre-read or other work I can do beforehand to make it more useful? I write a list of talking points or other things that I might want to mention in each slot. This helps a lot because my schedule is typically very full, with consecutive meetings that can have VERY different topics. Having the notes ready helps transition from one thing and think clearly about the next one.

For my regular meetings with my manager, and with my reports, I usually start the week with only a few points, but if I want to ask them something I just add it to the section for their session when I think of it. This works very well since I don't need to flip between days, the whole week is in one document.

I don't take notes into the same document, I mostly use a pen in a typical bullet journal daily log style, with some sort of adapted dash-plus notation so that after several hours of meetings, I can roll back through the notes and spot the items that needed further action from me.

Shipped

Almost always the shortest section, which is probably the right thing for someone who is head of a department! My rules here are that it has to be something that is actually finished. If I recorded a video but it isn't on YouTube yet, it's not "shipped" until it's live and all the work has been done.

ToDo

This is things I need to do, I don't copy over things from other systems, so I have Asana, JIRA, and GitHub also open essentially all the time. I add things here if they are not on this list, for example right now the list is reminding me to sort out a thing with my health insurance, email a speaker for an upcoming event, and to follow up on a thing I saw on Twitter.

Obsidian is a markdown tool so it supports lists with checkboxes in - I check the box when I'm done and then when I do the weekly reset, I can see what didn't get done and needs migrating. Every week I grab the stuff that isn't marked "done" from the previous week, decide what just isn't ever going to happen and remove it, and then try to identify from any unprocessed notes the week before which todo items haven't been transferred anywhere useful yet.

Weekly planning cadence

Doing a weekly reset has worked well for me, and the digital format makes it infinitely adjustable so I never run out of space as I would on paper! Doing it this way, the meetings for the day are all next to one another in a document and I just have it open at the edge of my monitor so I can glance over if I need it.

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