Welcome back to Day 3 of our Planning Challenge! Today we’re going to learn how to plan our weeks for sucesss!

Most of us attack the week one day at a time. We get to the office on Monday, gulp down a cup of coffee, and then try to figure out what all is going on.

We sit down and don’t know what to do first. Or we try to do everything all at once and get burnt out quickly, only to end our days thinking, what in the world did I even do to day? Don’t spend your days doing busy work all day, learn how to be productive and get the important things done instead.

Consider how things could work out better if you have a weekly plan for your life before you wake up on Monday morning. And don’t just plan your work-related items, but plan everything else too. Figure out what needs to be done and prioritize those items.

For your best results, avoid living life as it unfolds. By taking control, you’ll increase your confidence, stay ahead of your work, and actually find more free time to do whatever you like. Give it a try for a month and see if you enjoy the benefits.

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO CREATE A PLAN FOR THE WEEK:

STEP 1: START WITH A BRAINDUMP

First, pick a day to start your planning sessions. Whichever day you choose, try to stick to that day and do it every single week.

Sunday is the reasonable choice for most people. You’ve relaxed from the previous week, but it’s still fresh in your mind. The workweek starts in just one day.

You can also opt for Fridays too. Right after your work week so you can enjoy the weekend knowing that you have a plan for next week already.

  • Braindump by writing everything you have to, want to and need to do for the following week.
  • Don’t try to edit it or worry about what goes where, just try to clear your mind.

STEP 2: ORGANIZE YOUR BRAINDUMP

Now that you’ve gotten everything off your mind it’s time to organize everything.

  • Eliminate things you absolutely don’t really need to do this week
  • Delegate tasks that maybe you can get some help on so you can free up your time a bit
  • Complete any tasks that will take you 2 minutes or less right now so you don’t even have to plan for it next week. 
  • Now grab a few highlighters and start highlighting similar tasks
  • You can leave your tasks as is, but if you like to be more organized you can then make a list of tasks for each area of your life.
    • These areas might include work, school, personal items, and family. Your items will vary with your unique life.

STEP 3: ASSIGN PRIORITIES TO ALL OF THE TASKS & ESTIMATE HOW LONG EACH TASK WILL TAKE

Assume that you can’t and won’t get it all done this week. Which items must be done and which can slide until the following week? Make sure when setting your priorities that they are aligning to your goals. Ask yourself if that task really needs to be on your to-do list.

  • Assign one of three levels of priority to each task. You might use 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C, or Red, Yellow, Green. Whichever works best for you.
  • Start with your number 1 priorities and complete all of them before moving on to the number 2 and 3 priorities.
  • You can also try to filter your items through the Time Management Matrix or Stephen Covey’s Quadrant to prioritize. (Read more here: How to Prioritize Your To Do List)
  • Now estimate the approximate time each of those tasks will take. Do you have time to complete those this week? This step will help you when schedule these tasks into your calendar.

STEP 4: SCHEDULE THESE TASKS INTO YOUR CALENDAR

Now let’s grab your calendar! Whether you use a digital calendar, wall calendar or paper planner. Grab it and start scheduling in all these tasks! Begin this process no later than Sunday evening. You should know how you’re going to spend your Monday morning. Don’t wait until your alarm clock wakes you up.

  • Avoid over-scheduling your days. Once you fall behind, it becomes impossible to catch up. Leave room for the inevitable emergencies and requests from the boss. Schedule 50% of your time and leave the rest available.
  • Using a planner will allow you to move all these obligations out of your head. Put them down on paper as soon as possible.

STEP 5: SCHEDULE TIME FOR LIFE & SELF-CARE TASKS AS WELL

  • Make time in your schedule for working out, cleaning up, eating breakfasts, lunches & dinners.
  • Also make time for yourself, whether that’s some quiet reading time, a warm bath, a small amount of time for you to binge on a TV show, a night out, or anything else fun for you.
  • Make it a priority, if you don’t schedule time you won’t do it and you’ll feel terrible if none of it gets done. If you schedule in time for things that bring you joy and take care of yourself you will feel recharged and ready for another productive day, instead of burnt out.

STEP 6: HAVE A WEEKLY REVIEW

  • What did you do well?
  • What could have been better?
  • How well did your weekly plan work?
  • What improvements can you make to the process?

Reviewing your week and making adjustments is one of the most powerful ways to improve. Address your mistakes and recognize your successes.

REMEMBER TO BE FLEXIBLE

Remember, life happens! Don’t fret if things didn’t go as planned. Just rearrange your time blocks, and try again the next day. Leaving lots of space in between meetings and appointments can also help.

By planning and prioritizing, you can hit the ground running. You’re also assured of getting the most important things accomplished. Start next week by making a plan and following it religiously. Your life will change for the better.