Are you a hot mess when it comes to scheduling your work week and trying to figure out how to plan a productive week? If yes, trust me girl; I get it.
I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and developing a weekly planning system has really helped with time management and achieving my goals.
Productivity doesn’t come naturally to everyone, which is why I wanted to share some of my best tips on how to plan your week to be more productive. And these apply whether you work from home or at a traditional job.
As an adult, keeping your life organized can definitely be a juggling act as you try to balance your personal and work life. There’s so much to keep on track, like work projects, finances, events with family and friends, house chores, grocery shopping, and more.
These productivity tips will help you create a weekly schedule that work for you. Below I’m going to give you the team on amping up your productivity.
Tips on How to Plan Your Week to Be Productive
Apply these tips to plan your week for maximum efficiency.
Create a Routine
First, you have to create a routine. It goes beyond creating a planning routine (which is essential!). I’m talking about a daily routine. Most of us have a routine already but just don’t know it. The key is ensuring your routine is actually productive.
Whether you work from home or at an office, the right morning routine gets you in the mood to work and sets up your day for success. It actually starts the night before as you want to get enough sleep to be productive the next week.
Since I work from home, I start my day with hot shower (because that helps me wake up), a word from Sarah Jakes and a hot cup of coffee.
Figuring out what works for you may take some time, but once you do, it’s magical.
A routine makes planning your week that much easier, and a good Monday morning routine can set up your whole week for success.
Plan for the Next Week on Friday
So, you may be like, Airess, why should I plan my next week on Friday? If you work five days a week from home or on a job site, then you only have two weekend days.
Many people plan their next week on Sunday, but I feel like planning on Sunday kind of takes away from what little time you have on the weekend to relax.
Planning on Friday allows you to spend time with family and friends and separates your work life from your personal life for a better work-life balance. When Monday morning dawns, the cycle starts over again, but at least your five-day work week didn’t turn into six-days with planning on Sunday.
Do a Brain Dump
So, to get started, I like to do a brain dump to see what I need to do for the week. This allows me to create a task list that I can then use to block out time for all the things I need to do.
Grab a sheet of paper or a word document and just get everything in your brain that you want to do out on paper. Doing a brain dump provides a free-flowing way to clear out all that clutter in your head and helps you visualize what needs to be done.
The brain dump also helps you make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Try to Plan Work and Life All Together
When you’re doing your brain dump for planning your week, make sure to include work and personal events and projects. You can’t do effective planning without adding those dentist and doctor visits, work meetings, and side business activities to your schedule.
And you can’t forget cooking, grocery shopping, hobbies, self-care, and other important tasks you do each day. By planning your work and personal life, you prevent overscheduling, which can be a huge problem as you can’t be in two places at once!
Record Non-Work Appointments and Events
To plan your life and work in your weekly schedule, I suggest you keep a paper or digital planner. Or you can use your smartphone to keep track of all those family events and appointments. Anything non-work related needs to be recorded too.
Keep a record of all the things going on in your personal life, so you don’t forget your mom’s big birthday or that Juicy Crab date night with your girlfriends.
Create S.M.A.R.T. Realistic Goals
When planning your week, you want to make sure that the goals you’re creating are realistic. And if you’re a project manager like me, you already know that setting goals that are out of reach can be demoralizing when you never achieve them.
So, setting goals is a huge part of creating a productive week. Your goals also need to be S.M.A.R.T. That stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
A vague goal like, “I want to increase my income this year,” isn’t really specific, and it’s certainly not time-bound. But a S.M.AR.T. goal would be, “I want to make $1,000 with my tech VA services in Q4.”
It’s very specific, and you can measure if you achieved your goal. You either made $1,000 or you didn’t. It’s also time-bound as you need to reach your goal during the last three months of the year.
And that’s much more achievable than saying you want to make $100,000 in Q4. As far as relevancy, you want to make sure that your goals are relevant where you are in your business right now.
All S.M.A.R.T. goals are time-bound, like the example above. Part of determining if you achieved the goal is that you put a time limit on it. By December 31, if you have made $1,000 selling your services, then you achieved your goal.
Schedule the Most Important Things First With Time Blocking
Part of planning your week to be productive is prioritizing your tasks. So, you may be wondering, “how do I figure out which of my tasks are the most important?” The easiest way to do this is to use the Eisenhower Matrix.
President Dwight Eisenhower developed this productivity and time management framework to prioritize his tasks. It’s simple to use.
Just draw a square on a piece of paper and label the X-axis Urgent and Not Urgent and the Y-axis Important and Not Important.
Next, you group the items on your list in one of the four boxes with the urgent and important tasks requiring action immediately. The best thing about this approach is it will help reduce being overwhelmed and constantly feeling like everything is an emergency. In other words, when you’re behind, you always feel like you’re running around with your hair on fire.
Once you prioritize your tasks, add the most important and urgent tasks to your planner or project management tool first. Time blocking is a great strategy when you want to create a flexible schedule (more on that below).
It involves assigning tasks to blocks of time throughout the day instead of assigning a specific task to a specific time. For instance, you could block out a chunk of time to write several blog posts or work on administrative tasks.
Making sure your priorities are done each week not only ensures increased productivity but also provides a feeling of accomplishment that you’re making progress on all your goals.
Make Sure Your Schedule is Flexible
Look sis, I know that unexpected things will pop up, like when it’s that time of the month and you don’t have the mental capacity for anything outside eating and sleeping. So you toss the to do list because now, it’s not the most important thing.
You may be working on something when a colleague calls with an emergency. You may need to switch one task for another.
Or maybe your boyfriend just dumped you via text so now you’re an emotional wreck and can’t focus. Shit happens… I know, that’s why your schedule should allot time for the unexpected; plan you week accordingly.
Plan the Most Difficult Tasks When You Have the Most Energy
We all have times throughout the day when we are the most productive. For me, it’s between 10am and 2pm. The nice thing about working from home is you can choose the hours you want to work.
If you function better in the early morning, start your day early. If you work better at night, you can adjust your schedule to the evening and afternoon while still keeping some daylight hours for important meetings.
Working when you’re most productive and have the most energy is a long-term tactic for success. It helps you complete more tasks and may even free up time in your schedule for some self-care or something else you want more time for.
Done is Better Than Perfect
Many of us strive for perfection and it ends up hindering productivity. For instance, you may be waiting to launch your new website until you have it just right, but you could work toward perfection forever.
Done is better than perfect. Now, that doesn’t mean you should hurry through an important project or that new course you’re creating. But sometimes, just getting it out into the world and working on making it better over time is the best way to get the ball rolling.
Take Frequent Breaks
People think that working from home is easy and that you get to watch TV all day or do household chores. But working from home means your work is always there.
Be sure to take frequent breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just ten minutes here or there to get a snack or step outside.In my case, I like to nap – a nice 15 to 30 minute power nap to recharge. Working more will only exhaust you, and your brain won’t let you process things as well. You’ll actually end up getting fewer tasks done each week.
And you should also try to get out of the house, whether it’s dinner with friends one weekday night or doing something fun on the weekend.
Learn How to Say No
Learning to say no to people asking you to do things for them is hard, especially if you’re a people pleaser. But saying yes to everything someone asks you to do is a huge time killer, and you can fill up your calendar fast.
The same is true for work, whether you’re in an office or working from home. Sometimes you just have to let them know that you can’t take on any new projects right now.
Mastering the art of saying no politely is something the most successful people do.
Break Big Goals Into Smaller Ones
The key to achieving those lofty goals like your yearly and monthly revenue goals is to break them down into smaller steps that you can add to your planner as weekly tasks.
For instance, if you want to make $100,000 a year, break that down into the amount you need to make monthly. Then start planning the activities you need to do weekly to meet those income goals.
Distractions can easily break your focus. It takes the average person 23 minutes to refocus after an interruption. This means that most people can’t multi-task as it saps their brainpower.
Apps like Freedom and StayFocusd are website blockers that let you set limits to how long you’re on certain websites like Facebook or Instagram. Once your time limit is up, the tool blocks you from those websites.
Final Thoughts on How to Plan a Productive Week
Planning and managing your time each week and knowing which tasks are priorities is not as easy as many people think. Planning each month, week, and day ahead of time helps you view your work differently.
Waking up each morning knowing exactly what you need to do can be refreshing. And this eliminates the stress of having a never-ending to-do list and feeling like you never get enough done.
It will help you achieve each important goal you have and create a weekly plan that works specifically for you.