In order to use your time in the most productive way, you should always plan your week ahead. If you start a new week without any clear ideas of your goals and the tasks you need to achieve, there is no way you will be able to accomplish them. I am sure that everybody can relate to this: it is Sunday night and you realize that you forgot to do or finish something important, all because you were not prepared. You might even blame it on not having enough time! If you don’t know exactly what you need to get done and when you are planning to do it, chances are it won’t happen at all.
If you are trying to achieve a big goal, planning will help you get there and stay organized. In this post, I’ll give you some tips to help you plan your week in a productive way – to be more efficient and get things done!
Before you start to plan your week…
Firstly, your weekly schedule should be an outline of what needs to be done each day. When you are ready to plan your week, get your tools prepared: I personally use my diary as well as my phone and my notebooks. Of course, you should use the support that makes things easy for you: an app on your phone, a digital or paper planner (check out the one I’ve created here). The choice is yours!
Step 1: Decide on a fixed weekly schedule session
First thing first, try to choose one day when you will spend time to plan your week ahead. In my case, it is always on Sunday in the late afternoon or evening, but you could do it whenever that suits you. Monday morning would be an obvious choice as well. Either way, you should be able to start your week in a more efficient way, having an overview of the things you need to accomplish. Try to keep the same day every week for your planning session, and this will become part of your routine in no time.
Step 2: Think about your long-term goals
When you plan your week, you need to take two things into accounts: your monthly goals and your yearly goals. Focus on the activities and habits that will have an impact on them. Is there anything you can do to take a step closer? Think about that, and if it is relevant, include these activities in your schedule.
For example, as the gyms are reopening in Melbourne, one of my goals for this month is to do at least two classes a week. To include that in my schedule, I will have a look at my gym timetable and choose two classes, that I will include in my planning. This can be applied to anything in your personal or professional life, for any small or bigger goal.
If you have a bigger long-term goal in mind, the first thing you should do is to create action steps. This means you will break it down in order to make it more doable and less overwhelming. When planning your week, think about these action steps and which one you could accomplish to reach your goal.
You should also think about any important event coming up. For example, Christmas time is coming and I am already thinking about actions I can take to start organizing and plan it. Why not take the time this week to find gift ideas for your loved ones? Think about big events in advance to avoid having to do everything at the last minute.
Step 2: Make a list
As you may know, I constantly make all sorts of lists! I have two notebooks (one at home and one in my handbag), and I write pretty much anything that is crossing my mind during the week. That way, nothing is cluttering my mind.
If this is not your case, take some time during that weekly planning process to make a detailed list of everything you need to do. This should go from small things like doing your laundry or going grocery shopping, to (as I mentioned before) your action steps for your monthly or yearly goals. Also, verify your important meetings or appointments coming up and make sure you add them to your list.
Step 3: Define your weekly priorities
With your list, highlight the tasks that absolutely need to be done as soon as possible. These will be your week’s priorities. My recommendation would be to keep your priorities between 3 and 5 items. There is no point in making a big list of goals if you cannot achieve them in that timeframe. Also, if some tasks are not urgent and/or important, consider moving them to another week.
Step 4: Create steps for each priority
For each priority, create a list of action steps that you will need to take in order to achieve them. These actions steps could be as small or as big as you wish, just think about steps you can accomplish in a day: it will be easy to incorporate them in your schedule.
For example, one of my priorities each week is to write at least one blog post. I would break down this task into three steps: do some keywords research, write a draft with my main ideas, and the core of the post. Another step will be to finish writing it, find or take some pictures. The last step will be to proofread it, schedule it, and write some posts on social media.
Each person will be different in the way they work. For some, doing a certain task will not need to be broken down as they can stay focus for a long period of time. You need to plan according to what is working with your personality.
Step 5: Plan your week ahead!
Ok, now it is finally time to write down your schedule!
First, using your list, choose which priority or steps you are going to accomplish each day. Take into account what works the best for you: do you like “batch tasking” (meaning doing similar tasks or activities together)? Do you like to accomplish one thing at a time? That’s entirely your choice, and once again, do what works for you.
Personally, I like to choose one main thing to accomplish a day, and start with it in the morning. You should also think about when you are the more productive: early morning, in the evening? Take that into account in your the way you plan your week. Last but not least, make sure that you include some breaks in your schedule!
You won’t always stick to the plan
Of course, everything will not always go according to plans. Your friend might call you at the last minute for a brunch, and don’t worry about it. If you can not accomplish everything you planned for that day, that’s ok. Planning is a great way to stay on track and not having to do everything at the last minute. If something unexpected comes up, you will have to organize yourself another way!
In conclusion, without a clear plan, you might be lost in trying to identify your priorities and find which task to accomplish first. You could end up spending time on things that are not important, or worst: be overwhelmed and do nothing. That is why a weekly schedule planning session is essential and should be part of your routine. If you are you looking for tools in order to plan your week, get my free printable planners here!
As always, I hope that you liked that post and that you found some valuable information to help you plan your week.