Sunday Planning Ritual

Like most people, I waste a lot of my week. Some of this waste comes from endless meetings with little output. Other parts of my week are wasted purely because I do not have a plan for what to do next. My workdays can be full of meetings which can make it easy to get lost in the day-to-day and not progress towards my bigger work goals. I work hard, but I always feel I could do more.

I have tried all sorts of productivity tips and tricks, but very few of them stick. However, a Sunday planning ritual has been a big part of my working life for the last decade. Every Sunday, I sit in a coffee shop with paper and a pan and plan my week.

This ritual started when I first got married. We both worked long hours outside of the home and got very little time in the house when we were not cooking, cleaning, or preparing for work. My mum sat me down and explained the importance of time in the house alone, so I created this time for my wife to have regular space in our small flat when I was not around. I would walk down the road to the town centre and get a coffee or two and plan my week. This Continued and has become a key part of my week since. This process prepares me for the week ahead and clears my head for better focus on Monday morning.

This process usually involves four distinct steps:
Step 1: Mind dump – tasks, ideas, and commitments
Step 2: Review the previous week – write a weekly update for my teams
Step 3: Unstructured plan for the week – write a plan.txt
Step 4: Identify a ‘Highlight’ task for each day and which days I must commute into the office.

I review the plan each morning and time block my most important tasks, including my 90-minute deep work block.

Point A to Point B

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.


Much of the work we do in educational technology helps people understand where they are, where they want to be, and then support them to achieve it. In the book Intervention, Dan John‘s process working with athletes has many parallels with our work with academics.

Some teams, departments, or universities know precisely where they want to be-Point B, but they are not clear on where they are now, Point A. In this situation, our job is to identify their current position, then create a plan to reach their goal. Others know exactly where they are but need help to see a realistic goal, requiring ideas, standards, and progressions. A third more common group is unrealistic about their Point A and/or Point B and needs help to identify both before making a plan and starting work. We need to know both point A and point B to draw the line between them.

There are things that everyone we work with needs; ideas of innovative practice to improving student experience, more straightforward and better-integrated technology, comprehensive training and support, and a clear development process. We also need effective project management and a schedule that takes into account the academic calendar. But some tools can help assess where a team is on their journey and the next step in their progression, such as the Quality Matters Standards, the OLC’s Quality Scorecard, and the SAMR learning model


  • If people know the goal, assess where they are and connect the dots.
  • If people know where they are now, but either want an unrealistic goal or do not know what they want, show them the next step and connect them.
  • With everyone, always focus on the process and the keys to success. 

If you are currently working on your service offer, spend some time on a set of questions and a collection of principles to find Point A, Point B, and the most direct route. A systematic approach to educational developments will help you find the straight line.