Imagine you are walking to your office on a Monday morning. You check your email, and your inbox is full of emails you need to attend to. You want to start your week by doing the most important tasks. Mind you, you do not even know what that urgent task is. You have to identify it first. However, you are not that motivated, and your energy levels are not at their highest after a long weekend with the family. How do you think your day will be? You will be feeling anxious all day, and you might not even accomplish anything meaningful. I am sure this is not how you want to be going about your day. You need to do better, right? You realize you need to be intentional with your time and energy. Hence, my solution for you is that you need to plan your week ahead of time. Most probably on a Sunday afternoon, sit, and plan your week.
What is Weekly Planning?
This might sound obvious, but these things can make all the difference in our lives. So, let’s look at what weekly planning is. Someone once said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So, when you walk into your week with zero plans, you are setting yourself up for failure. In simple terms, weekly planning is the act of organizing the events on your calendar ahead of time. So, when you are planning your week, you sit down and identify all that is on your plate, then strategize what you need to do to get things done. For your week, this might look like identifying the most urgent tasks, identifying the tasks you can delegate, identifying the number of meetings you have to attend that week, the activities you need to do in your personal life, and planning all these things into your week. So how exactly can you plan your week? Let’s give it a look.
Review Long-Term Plans
Your plan might not be as effective when you plan your week without your long-term goals in mind. After reviewing your long-term plans, you need to get clear on where you are currently and how far you want to have gone by the end of the week. Clarifying what progress you want to make for the week ensures that you spend a lot of time each week on the most important and productive tasks. It will be easier to list a few action steps or the projects you need to focus on for the upcoming week with clear goals in mind—this will save you a lot of time and energy. Have all your plans for the week written down. Writing down your goals increases the chances of achieving them by 42 percent.
Plan Your Week on Sunday
To have an effective week, schedule some time on Sunday afternoon or evening to plan your week. Find a calm and quiet environment and plan your week. When you plan your week on Sunday, you start feeling motivated, focused, and productive every Monday morning. Planning your week on Sunday will also ensure you dedicate a valuable amount of your time to doing the most important tasks on Monday morning. When you plan your week, you will not worry about what to do or invest your time in the next day. Planning your week takes you out of the present and helps you focus on what you want to achieve by the end of the week without the stress of playing catch up. Scheduling time to plan the week will save you a lot of time. If Friday afternoon works out for you, then do Friday.
Set Weekly Priorities
Planning your week ahead of time will give you a chance to set your weekly priorities so that you can hit the ground running on Monday morning. When identifying your weekly priorities, remember to review your bigger plans and goals to ensure your weekly priorities align with your long-term vision. Start by making a list of everything you have to accomplish that week. Look at each item and decide what the top five biggest priorities for the week are. Planning without prioritizing will leave you unsure where to begin. Identifying your priorities for the week will clarify the outcomes you want to achieve, which will, in turn, help you manage your time better and increase your productivity.
Schedule Your Week
After you get clear on your priorities for the week, you can schedule time for your most important tasks. When planning your day, ensure you take a moment to identify the priorities that will help you achieve your weekly goals. Having your weekly schedule in a planner will help you manage your to-do list effectively. This way, you are able to block out time to work on your weekly priorities. Scheduling tasks makes you more productive and ensures you take action on the most important priorities. By scheduling your time, you will know where to invest it for the most results, eliminating distractions and increasing focus.
Build Your Weekly Routine
Once you have your weekly schedule, create productive habits and routines to help you achieve your weekly goals. Creating a weekly routine will give you direction and focus and reduce stress. To create a weekly routine, you can start outlining the activities you can do to improve your productivity every day. Start by making a list of the things you want to get done daily and weekly. Your weekly routine could include going on regular breaks or working in chunks of time. It can be more productive for you to batch similar tasks together or take a long walk during the day to keep your energy high. Begin by building a couple of productivity habits into your daily schedule. Once they are successful, you can incorporate these habits into your regular weekly routine.
Review Your Weekly Progress
To get the best out of your weekly planning, take time to review your week. A weekly review is an opportunity to reflect on the past week, plan for the week ahead and ensure your to-do list aligns with your goals. Reviewing your week will also allow you to celebrate your achievements, review progress, and identify any obstacles that are holding you back. A weekly review helps you understand how you’re investing your time. It also sets the scene for setting priorities for the following week. Again, taking the time to review your weekly plans increases your confidence, motivation, and momentum.
Here are three reasons why you need to plan your week ahead of time.
- Increased Productivity
Planning your week ahead of time will significantly affect your productivity levels. When you know what exactly you need to do, you won’t waste any time thinking about it. You will get to make these things happen. You will also be able to eliminate possible distractions that can come your way. For example, if you know your task is going to take the next one hour, you can turn off all devices for the hour for maximum concentration. With a planned week, your accountability levels will also rise. This is because a weekly plan can help you avoid skipping any meetings and help you keep commitments to yourself and other people. All these things will work hand in hand to increase your productivity levels. At the end of the week, you will realize that you have easily achieved most of what you had set out to do. Only a few things will slip undone. You will also find that you have used your time more effectively and won’t feel like you wasted it. Your time management skills will also improve. Therefore, when you plan your week ahead of time, you will increase your productivity.
- Decreased Stress
If you are constantly feeling stressed out or anxious, then you might need to consider planning your week ahead of time. The stress and anxiety might be caused by the worry of not being able to attend to all your tasks for the week or the lack of an idea of what tasks should come first. As someone said, “Things that matter the most should not be at the mercy of things that matter the least.” Thus, planning can help you break down all these things and help you identify the tasks that you need to attend to first. As a result, you will be able to focus on the things that matter to you most, and if you see something that is not going to work, you can reschedule it. Maybe in a particular week, you have a meeting with a client, a date night with a partner, an appointment at the salon, and still, have to go to your 9 to 5. When you sit and plan everything into your week, you find that they seem more manageable. You will also be less anxious because you will be sure you will be in a position to take care of all those things. When you feel like you are in so much control of your life, you will feel safe and secure. A weekly plan will also prevent you from experiencing a crisis—this is a situation whereby everything seems urgent and important. With a weekly plan, you save yourself from a lot of headaches.
- Develop Self-discipline
Discipline is one of the components of success. If you want to accomplish something in your life, you need to be disciplined enough to make it happen even when you do not feel like it. If there are long-term goals you need to achieve in your life or career, you need discipline. Planning your week ahead of time is one way to develop self-discipline. When you have a to-do list for the week, the chances of making them happen are very high. Weekly planning will also help you say ‘No’ to certain things. This is because when you have your week all planned out, you will know what is on your plate, and this way, you will avoid overcommitting to things you have no time for. Planning will also help you develop discipline in your home. Since you will include time for leisure in your plan, you will not be tempted to jump from cooking to watching TV, back to cooking and answering emails while leaving the iron on. You will feel more organized and accomplished. It is interesting how we teach our kids; homework first, then TV, dinner first, then dessert. However, in adulthood, we can mix ourselves up by not setting our priorities correctly. So, it is at this stage that planning is paramount.
Planning your week ahead of time is very crucial, as you can see. Contrary to popular belief, planning your week does not mean that you will constantly be working. You will be getting enough time to do what needs to be done and enough time to rest. Additionally, you can share your plan with a friend or a partner to help you stay on track. This will increase your accountability, and your friend can help you keep up during the hard times. Planning will make your days easier to get by and make your life more enjoyable. You will be able to be with your loved ones when they truly need you and remember to appreciate them. You can remember your mom’s birthday amid your busy schedule. When you have a clear set plan on when you should be working and having leisure time, you will have a healthy work-life balance and feel more wholesome as an individual.
Furthermore, following the above steps on how to plan your week will ensure you don’t leave anything out. You will be able to get more out of life and even make it easy for you to exploit your potential fully. When you plan your week ahead of time, you feel so much more in control of your life. So, start now!