As Monday approaches, you feel stressed because you are unprepared. Even on a Friday afternoon, you get frustrated because you feel like you're not productively using your time. And then you say, oh, scary Monday!
We all (almost) have a scary week ahead of us. We all leave things until the last minute on a Friday afternoon and then complain about not having enough time. This anxiety comes from going through the previous five days without a plan.
That's why we all need to plan our week. This planning will give you the space and time to figure out how you will fit everything in. If you're trying to achieve greater productivity at work, planning your week will help you achieve that. Plus, you won't feel like a chicken with your head cut off at the last minute of the week.
Well, in this article, you will learn how to plan your week productively and efficiently in 6 steps. But before that, let's dive deeper into why planning the week is essential.
Why should you plan your week?
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Weekly planning is setting goals and priorities for the week ahead. Planning your week will save time, help you get more done and boost productivity. When you start planning your week on Saturday or Sunday, you can give the most significant priority for the week on Monday morning or your most productive day.
If you don't plan your week, you'll stumble through tasks you want to complete all at once. You start to lose focus, get confused and naturally want to avoid it as much as possible.
Through planning, you can measure how much work you can complete and how much time you have. You will end the day feeling satisfied, knowing that you did what you set out to do.
"Taking time on a Sunday night to look at my calendar for the week helps keep the Sunday Scaries away and helps me start my Monday morning feeling calmer and more ready." - Alli Hoff Kosik, host of the SSR Podcast.
6 steps to plan your week
Before you start planning, make sure you have the tools you need. This can be blank notes, journal books or time management applications.
1. Know your top 3 goals
Not planning your week is like a nightmare. Planning your week without knowing your priorities is like a nightmare come true. It looks like you're tackling everything, but you're not moving toward your goal. The purpose of this plan is to block time for things that are not important and use the time for essential things in business and life. You may need two mornings for work that is your priority.
- What are your top three goals right now in life? In business?
- Which activities and projects have the highest impact on this goal?
- When will you block uninterrupted time for these activities, habits and projects?
So start making a list of all the activities you want to complete next week. Then, look at each list and decide on three priority goals. The priorities you make will clarify the outcomes you achieve.
2. Schedule everything into your calendar
You certainly don't want to forget the plans you made in the middle of the week. That's why it's necessary to schedule everything in a calendar and sync it across devices. This is the importance of having a time management application with a calendar that can sync across multiple devices.
If other people have access to your work calendar, you can use your personal calendar for an extra block of time. You can use your spare time for sports or quality time with your family.
3. Plan your week on a Sunday or before it starts
Try to plan your week on the weekend, like on a Sunday afternoon. Find a quiet place and take 30 minutes to 1 hour to plan for the week ahead. Also, think about unfinished tasks from the previous week.
Planning for Sunday ensures you start each Monday morning focused and productive. This subconsciously also makes your mood up. When it's Monday morning, you will devote your precious time to the most important actions.
When you're looking at your tasks left over from the previous week, take some time to consider the workload for next week. If you need to get some work off your plate, try some of these strategies:
- Use the Eisenhower matrix to prioritise tasks better.
- Delegate some tasks if possible.
Don't forget to balance the workload. Some tasks or activities require more mental capacity than others. For example, global project planning consumes a lot of energy and mentality. If you have a busy work day, try to balance it by putting on light activities for the rest of the day.
Balancing the workload can prevent burnout at the start of the week. It also prevents you from procrastinating too much work.
4. Have a weekly planning checklist
Creating a weekly planning checklist is the magic ingredient for planning the week quickly and efficiently. No need to be too detailed yet grouping will make your mobility more accessible. You can detail it in your daily routine. Here's an example of a global checklist:
- Business: Block projects in the top 3 goals.
- Relationships: Weekly date night.
- Health: Work out with a coach and shop according to the meal planner.
- Social: 1x movie with friends, 1x attend book community.
- Cleanliness: washing and cleaning the house.
5. Don't forget to plan buffer times
One of the advantages of planning your days is to relieve stress because you know what you will do. But sometimes, you miss deadlines. It's OK because we're human.
To overcome this, you can calculate the buffer time for each activity. For example:
- Add an extra 15 minutes for activities that involve other people.
- Add 20 minutes for events lasting over an hour.
- Pay attention to small habits; singing for a while when bored, grabbing a snack and going to the bathroom.
6. Leave room for unplanned times
The last tip in planning the week is to make room for the unexpected. We all know that the greatest enemy of planning is spontaneity. But sometimes spontaneity brings unexpected happiness, right?
So, set aside time for something unplanned. It can be one day or in a matter of hours. For example, when you vacate on Saturday, you are free to spend and enjoy the day. Or you can also use that day to reflect on things that happened during the week. This will help you boost your gratitude every day.
Weekly planning helps you reduce stress and maximise productivity. You learn to set priorities and get to know yourself through your activities. Planning the week will get you started on Monday feeling focused and productive.
But when you miss a deadline, don't be sad. And listen: it's OK to make mistakes. Mistakes are natural because we are human. You just need to work on it entirely and identify the obstacles.