Have you ever looked at the clock at the end of a workday feeling like you didn’t get enough work done? Let’s be honest, we all have.
But how do you plan a smooth work week and set up for success?
Well, it’s all about forming new habits and committing to them. And like all new good habits, it takes time and dedication. To set you off to a good start, here are some good habits you can adopt today:
#1 Choose a day and time for your planning
Learning to plan your week means finding a rhythm that works for you. Whether that’s Monday morning, Friday afternoon, or Sunday night; it’s all up to you.
So, commit to a day, put it in your calendar, and plan to plan! This takes me about 5 min, but I would suggest scheduling at least 20 min if you’re just starting out.
#2 Brain dump
Now that you’ve set aside some time to plan your week, it’s time for a good old brain dump.
Your brain is juggling a ton of to-dos. Prepping for meetings, people to follow up with, projects to work on, and the list goes on. And on top of that, the endless life-related tasks. Getting it all out of your head and on to a piece of paper or calendar helps to declutter your brain.
Now, it’s time to separate work – and life-related tasks. We’ll focus on the work stuff for now. Any other tasks might be suitable to do during your well-deserved breaks (more about that later on).
#3 Start with “MIT” – Most important task
Starting with the highest priority task is a common productivity tip. And it’s easy to understand why: if you tackle your MIT as soon as you sit down by your desk, you’ve already won the day.
So, don’t start your day scrolling through your email. Make use of your fresh brain and focus on what’s most important for you today.
#4 Avoid the urgency trap with the Eisenhower Matrix
Do you feel like you’re running around putting out fires all day? And are you struggling to find time to work on your long-term goals? Then Eisenhower Matrix is your new best friend!
This tool makes it easy to identify the outcomes of your daily tasks. It also helps you prioritize them. All your to-dos will fall into one of the four boxes below:
(pic by https://www.techtello.com)
Urgent & Important tasks to complete immediately
* A last-minute deadline assigned to you
* Finishing a project for a client
* Prepare for tomorrow’stomorrows presentation
Not Urgent & Important tasks to schedule on your calendar
* Plan new marketing initiative
* Create a budget for next year
* Learning a new skill
Urgent & Unimportant tasks to delegate to someone else
* Plan staff party
* Answer less urgent email and messages
* Some meetings
Not Urgent & Unimportant tasks to delete
* Mindless scrolling social media
Organize your tasks into the boxes by asking yourself: “is this urgent to me?” And “is this important to me?”. Then, examine where you’re currently spending your time. Are you happy with how your matrix looks?
#5 No more multitasking
Multitasking might seem like a good way to get lots of things done at once. But research shows that multitasking decreases productivity a lot.
It takes time for our brains to switch to a new task. In fact, when you’re jumping between activities, you’re more likely to lose time.
So, cross off your list, one task at a time instead of trying to do everything at once. It will keep you from getting overwhelmed with work.
#6 Take small breaks
Where focus goes, energy flows. And, if you find yourself stuck or unfocused, allow yourself to take a break to clear your head.
Your break should be around 10 min every 50-60 min; stretch, make a coffee, take a walk or meditate.
Taking several short breaks helps you refocus. You’ll return to work feeling energized and ready to get back into it!
#7 Keep a list of daily accomplishments
A simple practice that will leave you feeling confident and clear on where you’re at.
It only takes a few minutes and it might not seem like much. But, writing down your daily wins is such a powerful self-improvement tool. And in return, you’re encouraged to do the same thing the following day.
Now you know how to plan out your work week. Commit to these habits to boost your productivity, energy, and success in both work and life.
What weekly planning tips do you recommend? Share in the comments below!