A successful week often begins before Monday comes along! Make weekly planning a regular habit to take you from just surviving to thriving in no time. Overall, aim to be intentional with the time you have each week. Here are four tips (plus the benefits of getting organized) to get you started.
A Piece Of Advice
It is recommended to list down your top three goals and plan your week around them. Also, don’t make the mistakes of planning for your week’s schedule without setting achievable goals. If you set unrealistic goals, you won’t be able to work according to your plan and in turn your plan will fail.
Your plan might also fail if you stay busy in attending to the priorities of others. Thus, make sure to prioritize your work over other’s. Your major goal while setting targets for your week should be able to find time to carry out the crucial tasks in your business and life at the moment. Before starting out, ask yourself a few questions.
- What are the top goals that you want to achieve this week, from the perspective of life and business?
- What manners, actions and steps will play a major role and help in attaining such goals?
Why Plan Ahead?
At first, looking at your week ahead might be overwhelming and quickly lead to the Sunday Scaries. However, learning to utilize your time effectively can boost your overall productivity. According to epochclemson.com, rather than stressing, tackle the coming week head on by organizing your time and activities. With a weekly plan in place, you can focus your energy towards completing the most important tasks. Additionally, you’ll be able to better balance your personal life with work or school.
1. Use Sundays to Get Prepared
Some people view Sundays as a day of rest, and by all means, take some time to rest up for the week ahead! However, don’t waste your day away being lazy. Instead, Sundays should be a day to prepare for the coming week. Catch up on chores like laundry and cleaning: a tidy space will help you stay organized through the week. Further, studies show that the act of cleaning can actually improve your mental health. Plan meals, take a trip to the grocery store, and even layout your outfits for the week. Then, get to bed early on Sunday nights so that you’re well-rested. After taking the preparatory steps, your week will be off to a great start as soon as you wake up Monday morning.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
Understand that you can’t do everything in a week’s time. Instead, you need to prioritize the tasks that need to get completed. First, create a to-do list. Then, consider using a tool like the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize the tasks by urgent vs. important. While everything on your list is likely important, some things simply must get done sooner than others. Work and school assignments with deadlines should be at the top of your priority list. Then, look at your personal goals and decide what you can do this week to move towards accomplishing them. Perhaps you have a 5k race coming up: what does your training plan look like for the week? Or maybe you’re hoping to ace your next exam in a class: what does your study schedule need to include this week? Overall, aim to balance your personal tasks with work or school assignments. And, don’t be afraid to cut unimportant items off your to-do list!
3. Block Out Time Segments
Once you have prioritized your activities, the next step is to set aside time to actually accomplish them. When creating your weekly schedule, start with activities that have a set time: class schedules, appointments, meetings, etc. Then, build in your other activities. Consider implementing Bill Gates’s “Eat the Frog” wisdom: identify your hardest, most important task for the day. Rather than procrastinating, tackle that task first thing in the morning. Similarly, you can fight procrastination with the “two minute rule:” if it takes less than two minutes, do it now! This might be something simple like making a phone call or sending an email, or perhaps it’s the first step to a bigger task. For example, if your next task is to study for an exam, begin by taking out your notes and moving to a quiet study spot. Overall, be flexible with your time blocks: understand that some activities may run longer than scheduled. Or, there could be “dead time” between tasks: welcome those as a chance to relax and regroup!
4. Reward Yourself
A productive week doesn’t have to be super busy. In fact, a successful week should involve adequate time for self-care. When building your weekly schedule, make time for social activities, exercise, quality sleep, and of course, eating. You don’t want your jam-packed schedule to take away from your mental and physical health, so those activities should not afterthoughts that you squeeze in. Further, reward yourself for a productive week (or day!) to maintain your motivation. Perhaps you’ve tackled your to-do list early for the day: don’t feel guilty about an hour (or two…) of Netflix. Or, at the end of the week, hit the road for a rewarding trip with friends. No matter the activity, find what motivates you and keeps you pushing towards your productivity goals.
5. Plan Buffer Times
One major advantage of drafting a plan for your entire day is that you will stay worry-free about dividing the time for the tasks you need to achieve each day. It will also give you a clear idea of the things that you need to do. On the contrary, do not over plan, since over-planning each minute of your day, may make you run behind the schedule.
You can avoid the beginner planning trap effectively by accounting some buffer time in your schedule. Let’s see how you can do that:
- Be generous in accounting for the daily habits that include daily chores such as bathing, commuting, etc. You cannot rush each morning to get things done.
- Choose to add extra 15 minutes to every task you do in a day and that lasts for more than an hour. Do it especially when other people are involved too.
- Try to keep the last hour of the workday free, and try to wrap up things in that hour.
6. Track every week’s progress:
It is not easy to make plans for the entire week. However, simply making the plans won’t do the job. You need to take out time and reflect at the end of the week whether the plan has helped you in completing your work. Also, you need to contemplate whether he task that you have done during the week, was worth the time taken.
Throughout the week, whenever you get a job done, don’t move it to the list of tasks done, instead, you can choose to write it down as in-progress.
Take some time out on Friday every week, and study every item that you have in your in-progress list. Now, think would you have done it better or you are satisfied with your growth. You can then try to repeat the process every week, learn something from the progress of each week, and then iterate. This way, you will learn the art of listing your primary goals.
Create a Plan to Ensure a Successful and Productive Week
Take time to plan your schedule at the start of each week. Getting organized will help ensure that you have an overall successful week. Then, at the end of the week, you can relax knowing that you spent your time wisely and were able to accomplish what needed to get done.
We hope that now you understand the importance of planning your week ahead of time. Follow the tips mentioned in this article to have a productive week.