Have you ever found yourself hit that slump in the middle of the work week which makes you want to push everything forward and then come Friday you realize you are way behind and need to take work home over the weekend? Yes, it happens to most of us. Being organised usually sounds boring, not fun or just plain unnecessary but it really does boost productivity. Different methods work for each person. Some like to have their entire month in front of them while others make a fresh to-do list every single day. We suggest tackling your week by planning for it.
Why You Should Plan Your Week?
In general planning is a great way to keep our eyes on the goals and make steady progress till we reach them. We step back and take a look at our resources and the time we have and then manage it all effectively. Think of your plan as the recipe and your time, resources, deadlines and everything else as the ingredients. You can’t throw it all in and hope it works; a recipe is crucial.
Planning your week gives you a great overview of what to expect. It ensures that amidst the flood of daily small tasks you don’t forget to do anything important or that you don’t end up with important tasks piled up for the last date leaving you more stressed and regretting whatever decisions led you to this moment in your life. If you are an anxious person then having a plan and knowing you’re done for the week can help you skip the doubts about whether you forgot some work and just enjoy your personal time. If you are on the other end of the spectrum and are usually nonplussed, a plan would keep you on track and away from your boss’s wrath.
Tips to Plan Your Weekly Schedule
If you have never regularly planned for anything it might seem daunting. Or you may have already tried to plan your week but not have been completely satisfied. Because life has become so fast paced and working in organisations means you rely on people and they rely on you, it has become important to be on top of your work. Deadlines aren’t just casual suggestions but something your appraisals may rely on. But fear not! We have a list of tips here that will help you become a pro at making a weekly work plan soon enough.
1. Schedule your days
When you sit down to plan make sure you plan for the entire week in one sitting. Jot down any upcoming deadlines and back plan from them. Make each daily work plan realistically. You know yourself best, so it is important to have scheduled breaks in your day as well.
2. Review Bigger Plans
If you have any big projects running, review them to see if you need to do something for them this upcoming week. This will also help you see if you have missed something before. For bigger plans break them down into doable chunks and set personal deadlines for them.
3. Make A Detailed List
Your goal with making a plan is to put in enough information so the future you can understand it but not add so much detail that it takes you hours to just plan one day. Keep your lists neat, add the timings and locations for any appointments and/or meetings.
4. Set Your Priorities
Setting your priorities is important: highlight them, underline them, whatever works for you. For each day you should know which are urgent and necessary tasks. Knowing these will also help you not take on more work than you can handle and keep you focused on important objectives.
5. Design Action Steps
Writing down specific actions to take will motivate you and give your day a sense of direction. Each action step is like a quest that you embark on in order to reach the end and be completely prepared for anything from assessments to big presentations. Instead of abstract goals, plan specific actions.
6. Limit the number of your plans
When we are making a schedule for our day we may not take into account unexpected delays or having to take a sick day. On paper, 15 tasks may seem doable but reality is completely different and you may only be able to do 8 of those tasks. So try to give yourself some cushion when you plan and don’t try to do everything.
7. Schedule meetings wisely
For meetings particularly, it is important to have them scheduled at a time where you can work efficiently. Pick the time of day when you are alert. Don’t schedule back to back meetings in case one runs over time. Your meetings should have a precise agenda that is both doable and useful.
Making a plan for your week helps you avoid last minute stressors, uncertainties and the need to be rushing around scrambling to get things done much like using a bucket to empty a sinking boat. That takes more energy than it would to keep the water out in the first place. Just follow the above given seven tips and you will have a weekly schedule for success without any fears of drowning. We suggest taking time out to plan on Friday afternoons so that you can go into your weekend stress free, knowing how much time you can spend to recharge before returning back to work for another productive week.
Throughout the week knocking items off your planned lists will make you feel good and at the end of the week you can relax knowing just how much you accomplished instead of feeling frustrated at not being able to use your time better. Just stick to planning each week and soon you will be able to look back and identify which strategies helped increase efficiency and productivity and which ones are the most sustainable in the long run.