It's no secret that many of us often feel like we don't have enough hours in our day to accomplish everything that we have set out for ourselves. This is something I struggled with for a really long time before I found my place in the planner community. When a new week was approaching, I dreaded it more than anything, I just felt so frustrated since I was not even prepared for the many tasks I had to do that week. So, I would just go with the motions and as fun as that may sound by the end of the week I was left feeling like I had wasted so much time that I could have used being more productive.
Then I realized, for things to change I needed to change not only my outlook on time but my approach to using the hours I had each day. As one of my favorite quotes goes, " The way we spend our time defines who we are." This is something that really resonated with me because it made me realize that I defined the life I was living, I had control over what I could accomplish and could therefore have a week that was my definition of successful. Today in this post, I will be sharing five steps that will help you to create your ideal productive week, one that reflects not only your intentions but your preparation.
The anxiety and stress we experience throughout the week usually stems from not having a plan for that week. Look at it this way, if you're planning a week long trip to Europe, the first thing you do is come up with a plan for that entire week, one that dictates everything you want to do while on your trip. The same can be said about planning a successful week. Having a plan of action for your week is the best way to know what you need to get done, when you’re going to work on it and how much time you will be spending to accomplish the goal. Planning your week gives you a chance to create the life you love, whether you working on your personal growth, a project for work or even your own business, having a plan in place for your weeks will allow you to achieve it.
With this in mind, when you begin creating your plan for the week try to keep it as simple as possible, there is no need to over plan or be very detailed about what your days at this stage. You just need a simple outline of what each day of your week is going to look like that is still capable of making you feel like you are prepared for the week. When planning your week, you basically want to create an outline of what you’re going to do each day. This plan doesn’t have to be super detailed (that would be better for a daily schedule), but it should help you feel prepared for the entire week.
1. Use an Undated Planner
Having a planner that does not come with dates allows you to have full control over the customization of your busiest weeks and even those weeks that are a little on the lighter side. The great thing about having an undated planner is that it gives you the flexibility to organize your time in a way that works for you especially with the unpredictability of life. For my weekly planning, I use the Green Pastures Planner from Planberry for writing notes, setting deadlines, and it comes with a weekly calendar to keep track of appointments.
2.Review Major Projects
Many of us have set resolutions and yearly goals for ourselves but in order to stay on track with everything that we have to get done each week while staying true to our goals and aspirations, it is important that while we plan out our successful weeks that we remain mindful of any major plans or priorities that we have for that month. This can be anything from your daughter's dance recital to a thesis submission. Regardless of the project you factoring them into your weekly schedule is the key to having an effective weekly plan.
3. Write all of your tasks in a list/bullet form
Here's the thing with all the demands of life we all bear each day, there's just too much for you to remember on your own, that's why you need a to-do list. The most important thing to remember about having a to-do list is that it your way of channeling all the tasks you have to get done, a way of getting it all out your head and onto paper. As you continue to make improvements in your life and your career your to-do list with change a great deal, some days will just be more hectic than others which is why it becomes important to prioritize each task as they are listed. There has to be a balance between what you want to achieve in that week and the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. The most important thing to remember about your to-do list is to get it out of your head and onto paper. P.S task that lead you closer to achieving your goals should always take top priority.
4. Create your Schedule
Now that you have written out all the tasks you want to accomplish in the week, it's time to allocate times for those tasks to be completed. I think this may be one of the hardest parts of creating a weekly plan because it really calls for your to be realistic about the time you have. I know how frustrating it can be to not feel like you have achieved everything you wanted to in the week but you can ensure that you can feel that sense of accomplishment by adding time blocks and focusing on the most important tasks. If you find it difficult to determine which tasks should take priority, for each day of the week, choose the ‘one big thing’ that must get done. This will help you to stay focused and accomplish the most important thing first.
5. Value Self-Care
I know it can be hard to make time for yourself when there seems to be a never-ending list of things for you to accomplish but there's no sense in burning yourself out to get everything done because then nothing will get done. You have to make it a habit of scheduling personal time for self-care. Look at it this way, your can't be productive if you're feeling stressed out and if you are someone who tends to put the needs of other in your life before your own then there is a strong chance you haven't schedule time for yourself. However, it is really important that you do. If you week is super busy self-care does not have to be super long, take 10-minutes to have a cup of coffee, take a walk down to the shore and enjoy the sweet ocean breeze, you can even take the time you have allot to just be present. No matter what you choose to do with your time just remember that for those few minutes, it's all about you.