“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Do you find yourself winging it every week? Have you thought about starting a side business, creating a budget, or reading more, but it never happens? A lack of proper planning could result in time just passing you by. Unfortunately, time stops for now man, so it’s important to take advantage of the time you do have to get things done.
To truly maximize your weeks, a certain planning process needs to happen. More than just crafting a general to-do list, planning your week ahead should result in more things getting done to help you reach your goals. The CGS Team is sharing a few key steps to follow in order to properly plan your week. Follow these steps each week and you will be amazed at how productive you can be!
Tips to properly plan your week...
#1 Set a Specific Day and Time Aside for Planning
Some people like to plan their week out on Sunday nights. Other people prefer Monday mornings, or Fridays after work. Whatever day and time works best for you to review your prior week’s activities and plan your next week, set it in stone. You will want to carve out an hour for this task. If you don’t use it all, great! If you do, at least you have the time set aside.
Once you have your day and time set, make sure that your setting is appropriate for planning. You will want to have your planning session when your productivity is at its highest. This means no distractions, no TV in the background, and a good cup of tea or coffee.
#2 List out Your Accomplishments, Tasks and Incomplete Items from Last Week
Before you can start properly planning your week ahead, you need to take some time to reflect on the previous week. Having a notebook or online note-taking program (I love OneNote) handy is a must. Start by listing out what you accomplished last week. Were these accomplishments tied to a specific goal? Do you have more tasks needed to reach that goal? Get specific with how those accomplishments can or did help you reach your goals.
What tasks did you get done last week? Even if they were menial (like responding to emails or creating a social media post), write it down. Put a star next to each task you enjoyed doing. Identifying tasks you like to do will help ensure your goals align to the things you enjoy.
Were there any incomplete items or follow ups from last week? Make sure to jot down anything that is lingering into the next week. Are any of these items or follow up time sensitive? Specify any incomplete task or follow up that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. This list will come in handy when planning your next week.
#3 Review (or Write Down) Your Long-Term Goals
You should already have your long-term goals written down somewhere, so refer to them during your weekly planning session. If you don’t have your long-term goals written down, I suggest you buy a notebook and jot them down. Sometimes life distracts us from the things we want most, so it’s always a good idea to give your mind a refresh on what you want to accomplish in your life.
If you don’t know where to start, start by asking yourself “Where do I see myself in 10 years?” Write down the life you see for yourself. Does it include travel? A new home? Kids and a marriage? Get as detailed as possible. Then, write down what is going to help you get there. For example, a down payment is going to help you get your new home. More specifically, working a second job and contributing to a separate savings just for your new home.
This may start as an overwhelming task, but once it’s done, it’s done! Things may change along the way (which is perfectly fine), simply adjust where needed.
#4 Pick Your Calendar or Organization Tool
Do you prefer everything to be digitally tracked? Do you like to write things down? However you prefer to track your time and priorities, follow that preference. You will make it easier on yourself and easier to follow through, because you are already used to this form of tracking.
After picking your calendar and organization format, review your prior week’s reflections. Any outstanding items that need to be accomplished in the week ahead should be added to your calendar or planner.
Next, think through the tasks and to-do items that must get done this week. Make sure you include any deadlines, meetings, assignments, chores, or goal-related tasks. Make a list, then put all of these tasks in your calendar and give yourself a reasonable time to get them accomplished. For example. Your calendar may be filled every day from 8:00-8:30am specifically for reading emails. Distractions and unexpected things always pop up, so having some time allocated for each task will help you stay focused.
#5 Don’t forget the Daily Activities
After adding your tasks and goals for the week ahead, don’t forget about the daily activities. Things like exercising, cooking, reading, meditating, or relaxing, should be factored into your calendar, preferably in recurring time blocks. These daily items seem to fall by the wayside because they are so consistent. However, a swamped day and a failure to time block “cooking”, could result in you eating fast food – which is likely not a goal.
Treat these daily activities like doctor’s appointments. They need to happen! Don’t time block other activities or tasks in the middle of your daily activities.
#6 Every Day, Review Your Weekly Plan
To help you stay on track with your weekly goals and tasks, take a few minutes to start your day with a review of your weekly plan. Your calendar or planner should already include your goals and tasks for the week, but make sure you review the list you made during your planning session – just in case you forgot something. Reviewing your goals and tasks for the week will help you stay focused on what needs to be accomplished. Certain pressing deadlines and unexpected activities may come up, but try not to let it deter your original list.
#7 Repeat Week after Week
If you want to properly plan your week and become a successful, productive person, repeat the planning process week after week. It may be hard, especially in the beginning, but before you know it, you will have a planning rhythm in place!
Taking the time to pre-plan your week ahead results in more productivity, more goals being reached, and more accomplishments! Do you have any advice for planning your week? Do you have a different system? I would love to hear what works for you! Post a reply below to share your weekly planning tips, tricks and resources!