How To Plan Your Week Ahead Of Time
You know that feeling that you get as a new week approaches. You know… the pit in your stomach as you realize that in a few short hours, it will be Monday. The weekend just flew by. You feel exhausted just thinking about all the things that you have to do this week and it hasn’t even started.
We have all been there. If we are being honest, we will continue to experience days like these. It is important to not let these feelings overwhelm you. There is a way to persist with less fear and anxiety about the week ahead. The simple solution is to plan. Do not just make any type of plan, you need to plan your week ahead of time.
So simple, yet so difficult to do.
Over the past few months, I have practiced and almost perfected (can you truly reach perfection?) my planning routine.
This 30-minute routine has saved me the stress and worries that I usually associate with the start of a new week. It is something that I actually look forward to now because I see the benefit of this planning routine. It is also a relaxing opportunity for me to gather my thoughts and put them on paper.
In this post, I will walk you through how to plan your week ahead of time and set yourself up for success every single time.
Why You Should Plan Your Week
Planning your week ahead of time is a habit that is worth starting. Not only does it give you space and time to figure things out, but it also makes you better prepared for the week.
I do not think that it is a coincidence that the weeks where I was unable to plan my week ahead of time, ended up being the most chaotic and anxiety-inducing weeks. Without a clear plan for what my days are going to look like, I can be guaranteed to stumble through the day. I might bite more than I can chew and try to do everything, but I am never quite able to achieve what is most important without a plan.
Simply put, planning works. You just have to commit 30 minutes (sometimes less depending on what your life looks like) to planning.
One of my favourite quotes about planning says:
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.– Paul J. Meyer
I just love the fact that it recognizes the fact that productivity is an intentional act. You do not just stumble upon it.
Planning does not guarantee that you are going to achieve everything on your to-do list, but it does give you incredible peace of mind.
Tip: Before you start to plan your week, you will need to ensure that you have the necessary tools for the process. I like to use a blank piece of paper for brainstorming and making notes, a physical planner for my daily tasks, and a project management tool (my tool of choice is ASANA) to set deadlines. I have synced my ASANA calendar to my phone and Google calendar so that I am able to keep track of everything right from my phone.
Here Is How To Plan Your Week
This is the method that I use to plan my week in advance. It is what I have found to work with my life as a busy career mom. It only takes me 30 minutes. I welcome you to adapt this planning routine to best suit your needs.
Start With A Weekly Reset
The goal of a weekly reset is essentially to reset yourself and your mind at the start of the new week. For the weekly reset, I ask myself 3 questions and journal the responses.
- What worked last week?
- What didn’t work last week?
- What do I want to focus on this week? (If I could only do ONE thing this week, what would it be)
Asking myself these questions is important for self-awareness. It also gives me guidance on what the next steps should be. Only when you understand where you have been, can you know where you are heading.
Write Out Your Goals
Writing down your goals is a great way to remind yourself what your goals are. I like to set quarterly goals. I feel that this length of time is long enough that I can set relatively big goals, but not too far away that it seems unattainable.
The truth is that most people set goals that are too big or too far away. When this happens, you do not tend to feel a sense of urgency to do the work necessary to reach those goals. Quarterly goals allow you to think big picture, but also lay out the actionable day-to-day steps that you can take to help you reach those goals.
Break Goals Down Into Baby Steps
Once you know your big picture goals, the next step is to get your goals down into tiny baby steps. You can do this by writing down all the things that you need to do to get you to your big goal.
For instance if your quarterly goal is to launch a course, start by brainstorming all the different tasks that you have to complete to help you get there.
When I set my goals and break them down, I am always mindful of the different areas of my life.
I break down my tasks into the following sections:
- Life & Relationship: eg date nights, other leisure activities
- House Admin: e.g laundry, cooking, cleaning
- Health: working out
Once you have the list, go through it and make a mental note of what needs to be done this week and what can be moved to later.
Fill Out The Schedule With The Must-Dos FIRST
When it comes to my must- do’s, the first thing that I always write down is my work schedule. My full-time job takes up the majority of time each week. I block these times off in my calendar. I also make sure that I block off time before and after work for getting ready and commuting.
The next step is to go through my calendar and my notes to write down any events and appointments that I have coming up the following week.
Fill Out The Should Dos
By working in this order, you are essentially making sure that you have set aside time for the most important tasks first. The tasks in your should do category will mostly be things that will take you closer to your goals. Whether it is your goal to lose weight or launch a business, it is important to work in order of priority so that you are focusing on important tasks rather than urgent tasks.
Fill out the Can Dos
These are things that will be nice to do if you can but are not an absolute necessity. This will look different for everyone. The key is to be honest with yourself about these activities.
Many people lead their lives as if everything has equal priority. In reality, not everything will deserve priority. The word priority itself suggests that there should be some sort of order.
The biggest mistake that I see people making is thinking that because they planned their week out, that they do not have to go back and review the plans.
The truth is that things change all the time. Despite our best efforts, there will be days when we do not complete all of the things on our list. I like to revisit my schedule daily and make adjustments. This is done nightly, so that when I wake up each morning, I do not have to spend time figuring out what I have to do that day. I pretty much have a game plan and I am able to hit the ground running.
Your priorities will change daily. Do not be too hard on yourself if you suddenly find yourself having to focus on something that you had not planned for. This is a normal part of life.
By planning ahead, you can often prevent these types of situations from snowballing into full-fledged disasters.
Weekly planning and weekly resets are ESSENTIAL for me to be productive. With this planning routine, you too can start planning ahead to organize your week. Although this is the framework I use, feel free to use it as is or adapt to meet your needs. Whatever you do, the goal is the same. You set yourself up for success when you plan ahead.
I hope that you found this post helpful!
Leave a comment and let me know if you have a planning routine. What do you do? What works and what doesn’t? I love sharing ideas 🙂
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