Want to make your week a little be easier and at the same time more productive? (Don’t we all?!)
The truth is, the success of your week depends on the success of your planning.
If you plan your weekly calendar ahead of time, you increase your likelihood of success exponentially.
When you plan your week ahead of time, you’re effectively budgeting your time—choosing what to do with the hours you have so that you don’t overspend or underspend (just like money).
Planning is how you make sure your priorities happen. It’s how you fit everything into your schedule.
Not to mention a well-planned week can help you stay organized, stay focused, and productive without doing everything at the last minute, which feels like you’re putting out fires.
- Related: Planning On Purpose (podcast)
How To Plan Your Week
I’ve been planning for years. It’s how I get so much done, yet still find balance in my life, taking time off, and spending my personal time with family (making sure I don’t overwork).
Let’s just say, planning has had such a huge impact on my life, that I prioritize sharing planning content with you so you can plan more successfully.
I have a five step process to planning your week. This process has helped me stay clear-minded, increase my productivity, and feel like I’m ahead, instead of behind. It allows me to break down my week focusing on each day of the week so I do not get overwhelmed. Yes, it’s that good.
Here’s how you can use my five-step method to plan your week:
Step 1: Make A Massive Task List
The first step is to create a Massive Task List. This just means you do a brain dump of everything in your mind that you think you want to do, need to do, or have to do in the upcoming week. Set a blocked out time where you are able to do this without any distractions.
Write it all down in one big list. I suggest doing this Sunday nights or Monday morning, so you’re prepared and ahead for the upcoming week.
I highly recommend not using a to-do list (ever)—more on this here: The Problem With To Do Lists.
But for this part of the exercise, it’s okay (and actually necessary). Write down everything so you clean out your brain and get it all down on paper.
I’ll admit, the amount of time this takes can sometimes seem tedious and even pointless. I assure you, that’s not the case. It’s like spending time sharpening the ax before chopping down the tree—it saves you so much time if you do this right ahead of time. This is time well spent!
- The List That’s More Important Than Your To Do List (blog post)
- Planning Mistakes (podcast)
- Conquering Anxiety (free training)
Step 2: Rewrite Your List In Order Of Priority
Step two is to rewrite your list, in order of priority.
Write down your most important tasks at the top of your list, followed by everything else, in order from most important to least important.
Whatever is important in your life should be at the top. This is completely entirely up to you. It’s not up to your family or your coworkers. It’s just up to you. You’re the boss of your time and your calendar. Remember that.
When you think about what’s most important, think about your long term goals and big picture life vision. It may seem like work is important, but if marriage is your top priority, then scheduling date night with your hubby every week is a top priority.
Step 3: Remove Anything You Don’t Want To Do
Step three is where you declutter your list.
I want you to remove anything you don’t want to do. This sounds impossible. It’s not. You’re an adult, and I hereby give you the full permission and authority to stop doing things you don’t want to do.
You may decide you want to do things because you want the outcome. That’s a good reason to keep something on the list. For example, you don’t want to do laundry but you decide to do it because you want the outcome of clean laundry. When this happens, keep these things on your list.
Everything else, goes.
Limiting the number of things you do in one week is incredibly important. I call this concept constraint, and you can listen to an entire podcast on it here: Constraint Podcast.
So many women I coach are hustling at their own expense. They’re running around, so overwhelmed, feeling like there’s no way to stop. You don’t have to live this way. I promise. Take it off your list. Say no. And move on. You’ll feel so much better.
- Related:6 Strategies To Help You Say No (blog post)
Step 4: Schedule Your Self Care First
Step four is where you schedule your self care first.
I know you. I know you want to skip this step!
You’re a high achieving woman who does it all. You don’t think you have time to schedule this.
Trust me. If you ever want self care to be a part of your life, you need to start scheduling it now. This works. It will help you feel sooo much better as you live each day without rushing around like a crazy person (you know what I’m talking about).
- How To Show Up For Yourself (blog post)
- Self Accountability (podcast)
- Overcoming Self Doubt (free training)
Step 5: Add Your List To Your Calendar (As Results)
The last step to is add everything to your calendar, starting with what’s most important first.
I use Google Calendar (gCal), and I’m obsessed with it. It syncs to my phone and all my devices. I highly recommend it! (And if you don’t use gCal, at least use another digital calendar, so you can easily pull up your calendar when you need to and make sure you’re always on top of your planning your time.)
When you add your Priority List to your calendar, add each item as a result. Meaning, if I looked at your calendar, I would know what result you’ll produce during that time.
For example, I don’t put “work” on my calendar. I put “record a podcast” from 9am—11am. It’s very clear if you looked at my calendar exactly what I’m producing during any given time. This is the secret sauce to planning mastery.
If you’re a mom with little ones, I suggest adding “buffer time” where you can block out extra time in case you need more flexibility in your day.
- How To Combat Lack Of Motivation (blog post)
- Mental Chatter (podcast)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance (free training)
A Final Note!
So, I realize that planning isn’t easy if you’re just getting started. And if you do complete the process above, you then have to actually follow through with your plan. That’s some of the hardest and most important work you’ll do in your life, and it all starts with staying focused so you can have a productive week.
If you want help following through with your calendar, I highly suggest coming to Grow You so I can coach you on this. I’ll see where you’re stuck and help you move through whatever is blocking you.
Like Michael Hyatt says, “Most people spend more time planning a one week vacation than they do planning their lives.”
Don’t be most people. Take the time to do this process. Even if it’s just 15 minutes to plan every week. You’ll see it’ll save you time in the long run.
And you’ll create your dreams along the way. Planning is my secret sauce to making my dreams come true.