6 Steps to Plan your Week for Success
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Would you set off on a car journey without a map or GPS or any idea of where you’re going? Chances are you wouldn’t set off without being prepared. This same principle applies to achieving your weekly goals. You decide what it is you want to achieve and then you map out the necessary steps to take you there. The key to having an organised life and a productive and successful week is effective planning. If you fail to plan in advance, your productivity will plummet and it’s essential that you are strategic with how you allocate and spend your time. Mapping out the week ahead will maximise your chances of achieving your goals and ending your week feeling satisfied with your accomplishments. It ensures you are continuing to move closer to your bigger, long term goals and aspirations and that you are focusing on the most important tasks necessary to get you to where you want to be.
To make sure you are maximising your time and productivity and are checking things off your list, follow these tips to help you plan your week for success:
1.Take full advantage of the weekend
I’m not suggesting that you spend the entire weekend working, but it pays to use your free time wisely. For example, get active. Exercise increases our energy levels, boosts our brain health and memory and boosts our mood. When Monday morning arrives, you’ll be refreshed, mentally smarter and have more energy to carry you through the week. Make sure you also take time to relax and recharge over the weekend. You need to allow yourself to decompress and give your brain and body the break they deserve.
Do something that you enjoy at the weekend to ensure you are maintaining a positive outlook, disengaging from work related thoughts and anxieties and maintaining a healthy work life balance. To reduce Monday morning tension, set aside a few minutes on a Friday or Sunday evening to preview what you want to accomplish in the coming week. This allows you to look at your workload from a distance and strategise on how best to approach it. This will also prevent you from wasting too much time on Monday mulling over which task you should tackle first.
2. List all pending tasks from the previous week
Consider what was left outstanding from the previous week. Reflecting on your performance from the previous week highlights any lessons you may have learnt and ensures you avoid repeating the same mistakes again. Consider the tasks that weren’t completed and decide if they are still important. If they are, add them to your current schedule and if they are not, eliminate them. Make sure that you reward yourself for that week’s successes and celebrate any accomplishments.
3. Get really clear on your desired outcomes
To produce a plan for a successful week, it is vital that you are crystal clear on your goals and objectives. List 3 – 5 primary goals you want to accomplish in the next 7 days, then it’s easier to tailor your plan based on the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish these primary goals. Consider what smaller action steps will be required to bring your primary goals to reality. Clarity will make the planning stage easier. Consider the ‘why’ behind each goal and this will provide the foundation for your drive and motivation.
4. List the most important tasks
Once you are clear about what you need to do during the week, it is time to start prioritising and listing your tasks in the order that they need to be handled. Any task that has an impending deadline should be given priority. Careful planning for deadline-oriented tasks helps to avoid stress and panic. Map out everything you need to do to accomplish the task and consider how much time you’ll need for each stage and factor this into your plan. Remember to consider any distractions or interruptions that may arise and factor these into your plan too.
4. Schedule everything
Once your to-do-list is complete, it’s time to fit the tasks into your calendar for the week. Do this carefully, consider at what time of the day you are most productive and schedule the most challenging, larger projects at these times. If you are a morning person schedule the meatiest tasks then. Be realistic when allocating time frames as setting unrealistic deadlines will only add to your strain.
5. Execute your plan
Investing time into planning is a good thing, but you must act to see results. Achieving your goals requires action. It’s very easy to continue to strive to create the perfect plan and not take action at all. Don’t wait until your plan is perfect, all you need to do is take the first step. The feeling of satisfaction you’ll gain from completing that first small step will motivate you to take the next one. Remember that taking action isn’t something you do only once, you must do it consistently and you must continue to stretch yourself.
6. Make use of the plethora of tools available
There are literally hundreds of exceptionally useful tools available to help you plan your week for success. Here are just a few to get you started:
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