So, you tell yourself you will definitely plan the upcoming week, but life seems to get the best of you.
And as the next week approaches, you feel stressed out because of how underprepared you are. We’ve all had that ominous feeling on Sunday evening that we were forgetting something important. That anxiety and dread usually settle in when you don’t have a plan. This is where weekly planning comes in. Setting a weekly routine allows you to figure out how and when you’re going to accomplish every task on your to-do list.
Moreover, if you’re trying to make progress, inside and outside the workplace, a thorough weekly plan will definitely get you there. In this post, I will be sharing 5 essential steps to help you plan your week in a more efficient and productive way.
“You have a choice in life. You can either live on-purpose, according to a plan you’ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others.” – Michael Hyatt
Identify your top 5 to 7 priorities
Before you begin to set your schedule and plan your week, first, you need to review your priorities.
These are the non-negotiable tasks but also the important ones. It’s important that you identify a list of 5 to 7 priorities so that you don’t end up forgetting something critical during the week.
Figure out what you absolutely need to get done and highlight these tasks as your weekly priorities. Ideally, those priorities should also include milestones that will help you make progress on your long-term goals.
● What are your top 3 goals right now -personal and professional?
● What tasks, practices, and habits have a direct impact on your goals?
● When do you plan on blocking uninterrupted time slots to work on these goals?
For instance, when it comes to professional goals, you may want to time block two or three mornings for deep work on your top priority projects. In your free time, you may want to block undisturbed sessions for your workouts, meditation routines, or quality time with your family.
Set your schedule and have a weekly checklist
Make a list of everything you want to get done this week, no matter how small.
The list could range from big ambitious projects to mundane chores like grocery shopping or decluttering your workstation.
Put all the assignments, deadlines, and meetings in your calendar. Having a set time frame for these tasks is important because it adds more structure to your day, eliminates distractions, and leaves little room for procrastination. With that said, understand that unexpected things will pop up and not everything will go according to plan. The magic formula for efficiently planning your week is preparing a checklist or template that you can use every week. This could include something along the lines of:
● Business: deep work for top 3 professional priorities.
● Relationship: quality time with spouse, weekly date night.
● Physical Health: healthy meal prep, 4 workouts.
● Mental health: meditation session, yoga.
● Leisure: fun family activities on the weekend.
● Social: lunch with friends.
● Home: deep cleaning, organizing, doing laundry.
Plan your week each Sunday night
When you plan your week ahead, come Monday morning, you know exactly how each day will unfold.
This will help you stay more focused while getting your work done but also less stressed and overwhelmed.
Moreover, when you proactively block time in your calendar for the things that matter to you, you’re less likely to say ‘yes’ to random invites and additional commitments that aren’t in alignment with your priorities.
You can use your journal or a note-taking app to write down notes on tasks, assignments, and chores.
Get as detailed as you want and craft a ‘default template’ that delineates your plan for each day of the week. You can use your journal or a note-taking app to write down notes on tasks, assignments, and chores. Get as detailed as you want and craft a ‘default template’ that delineates your plan for each day of the week.
● Daily: wake up and be proactive, not reactive. Give yourself 30 minutes to read something uplifting, say your affirmations, and meditate if that helps increase your happiness. Get a quick exercise and eat a healthy breakfast. Then tackle the most difficult task first when you have the energy. Don’t let your phone or other people’s agendas distract you from your purposeful work.
● Weekly: review your goals and what you aim to accomplish. Break those big tasks into smaller and more manageable milestones, then set deadlines that motivate you to achieve your goals in a structured manner.
While you’re not entirely obligated to stick to that weekly plan no matter what, you can say ‘yes’ to things that pop up that turn out to be more important than what you originally planned, like meeting your friend who’s in town for a few days or rescheduling your deep work session for an urgent meeting.
Create a fulfilling routine
A fulfilling routine will help you find meaning in the most difficult of tasks.
It will replenish your energy and help you develop your emotional resiliency.
Implementing rewarding routines will also make you feel more relaxed, peaceful, and content. This may be taking a long walk in the morning, reading an inspiring book in the afternoon, journaling, doing fun activities with your family, or something as simple as enjoying the beauty and serenity of nature. When it comes to living a life with purpose, it’s important to have fulfilling routines that reinvigorate your mind, body, and soul.
Stay on track and eliminate anything that holds you back
Planning your week is a great way to get organized but it doesn’t end there.
The most important part is staying on track and letting go of unnecessary distractions.
To do this, you need to eliminate anything that holds you back, all those negative thoughts and feelings of overwhelm. Who cares if you’re not perfect at all times or if you’re not able to give your all to every little task? Choose imperfect action over inaction, well begun is half done.
Don’t dwell on any mistakes you might have made. Instead, think about the next good thing and let go of those self-limiting beliefs. Don’t be afraid to be unapologetically you. Your life is dictated by YOU. So be bold, be proud, and be kind. Your race is your own. Your dreams and goals are your own.
Work hard, show up, be courageous, and don’t let anyone else dictate your success in life.
When you don’t have a hint of a plan for your day or week, you will likely stumble your way through your work all while trying to get everything done at once.
As a result, you begin to lose focus and determination. And when you feel flustered and overwhelmed, you lose all sense of perspective.
Planning is crucial because it allows you to set up your own success with the intentions and expectations you place upon yourself. It also helps you be more realistic as you gauge how much you can accomplish and how much time you will need to do so. Most importantly, remember to be present in the moment, focus on what is in front of you, and keep your goals in alignment with your values.