Planning. If you’re someone who has multiple planners, bullet journals, and lists, it’s safe to say that you love being organized and are trying. You create a to-do list, get motivated, and start checking things off.
But by the end of the week, you’re either frustrated or guilty because you didn’t use your time productively.
Not to mention the anxiety, dread, and stress you continue to feel throughout the week because of the pressure to get things done.
And there’s always that one task or appointment or deadline that you forget about and don’t remember until it’s too late.
If that sounds like your week or if you’re someone who thinks there just isn’t enough time for you to do everything you want, you’re in the right place.
Planning can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be.
After trying numerous planning methods, I’ve learned and mastered the best and full-proof method that allows me to work full time while studying to get my degree and run my online business a.k.a this blog where I’m on my journey to make $10,000/month by the end of 2020.
I know this method works because I’m able to work on and accomplish results in all these areas without being overwhelmed and while continuing to maintain an above-average social life 😉
My life-coach and mentor Natalie Bacon always says “You don’t need a better planner, you need a better plan” and that is exactly what I’m going to show you today: How to create an amazing plan to have a productive and organized week.
Tools I Use:
I personally only use my Google Calendar to plan my week because I love how simple it is and that I can always have my schedule with me on my phone.
If you’re someone who prefers writing things down, feel free to use your favorite planner. Just remember to not overwhelm yourself with multiple planners. All you really need is a planner you love and enjoy writing in and that you can always carry with yourself.
Before You Start Planning:
Planning works best when you’re doing it ahead of time (obviously!). This is why I plan for my week every Sunday. I like to take an hour out every Sunday evening and make myself a cup of tea, get cozy with blankets and candles and plan my week ahead.
I recommend you also plan when you’re relaxed, comfortable, and cozy to make the process more fun and more effective!
Also, the reason I prefer planning a week in advance and not every morning is because I don’t think planning every day is as effective. When you plan every morning, you feel a sense of urgency because your brain is only focusing on planning the tasks that have to get done that day.
You end up planning and living for the day instead of for your goals.
Planning weekly, on the other hand, allows you to see the bigger picture and work towards your goals.
The planning process:
1. Empty your brain: Either in google docs or your planner, empty your brain and write down all the tasks that you want to get done and accomplish in the coming week. They do not have to be in any specific order, simply get them out of your brain.
Your tasks can be sorted out into 2 categories:
1. Goals and dreams:
2. Other tasks
You can create more categories based on what your life looks like but I like to keep it simple with these 2. Under Goals and dreams, list down the tasks you’re going to do and the actions you’re going to take to move closer to accomplishing your goals.
For example: If your goal is to learn French by the end of 2020, your action list can include hiring a tutor or learning 5 new phrases.
This category should never be empty. Being productive doesn’t mean checking things off of your to-do list. It also means doing things that make a positive impact on your life and help you up-level and upgrade your life.
There’s never going to be a time where you get a whole year off to focus on your goals. You have to make time and when you start doing this, you’re going to feel such an amazing sense of accomplishment.
If you haven’t set any goals yet, I highly recommend reading the blog post on One Impossible Goal to help you set clear, defined goals and up-level your life.
Everything else in your action list goes under other tasks.
Now, remember that this is only for one week. You’re going to have a week after that and a week after that to get more things done so prioritize and create a final action list of the tasks you want to get done for the week ahead.
This is also the step where you write down any deadline you may have in front of the tasks so you don’t forget.
2. Allocate time: Allocate how much time you think you’re going to need to finish each task. I know many people who get stuck in this step because they simply don’t know how long they’re going to need.
That’s okay, all you need to do is break the task down into smaller tasks to get an idea.
For e.g.: If your task is to submit a paper for your Psychology class, you can break it down as follows:
1. Collect data: 1 hour
2. Create an outline: 30 minutes
3. Fill in the outline: 30 minutes
4. Make final edits and finish: 30 minutes.
Remember that not knowing how much time you’re going to need is not a good enough reason to not plan.
When you give yourself a certain amount of time to get something done, you automatically give it all your time and attention.
If you only have an hour to collect data, you’re not going to spend time calling a friend or scrolling through Instagram because you have limited time to accomplish your task or else it’s going to disrupt your day’s/week’s plan.
If you want to get stuff done, make sure you don’t skip this step.
3. Schedule your action list on your calendar:This is when I start scheduling things on my Google Calendar. If you’re using a planner, you can write down the times at which you’re going to complete your actions.
Now, this is the real stuff, gurl! Schedule your entire action list on your calendar for the next week.
Start by blocking off the non-negotiable like your working hours and any other events which you’re going to be showing up for including birthdays or any work events.
Schedule your action list and tasks in the remaining open time-slots. You can always schedule tasks based on when you’re most active. For eg: I like to schedule my blog tasks in the morning because that’s when I’m the most creative.
Also, when you schedule your tasks be sure to schedule them as results. For eg: Don’t just schedule “Psychology assignment”. Instead, schedule the result you’re going to accomplish at the end of that time frame i.e. “Gathered all the data for my Psychology paper”.
Here’s why this helps.
“Psychology assignment,” tells you that you’re going to work on your paper but isn’t going to tell you what to do exactly. Are you going to collect data, read the textbook, create an outline, or just start writing?!
Scheduling a result gives you a structure and lets you know exactly what has to get done instead of indulging in confusion.
This is also the step where you schedule in your free time. Yes, gurl schedule that time for Netflix and relaxation, you deserve it!
4. Show up and do it:This is always easier said than done. When it’s time to show up and do what has been scheduled, 95% of the time you’re not going to want to do it.
Why? Because there’s Netflix and friends calling you out for a drink and you’re going to feel hungry and you’re suddenly tired and you want to know what happens in the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
The solution? Do it anyway. Whether or not you show up for yourself reflects your commitment to yourself and your goals.
If your schedule was blocked for meeting with someone, you would do it even if you didn’t feel like it because we tend to honor our commitments to others. In a similar manner, show up for yourself and do what’s on your calendar even if you don’t feel like it.
5. Evaluate your week:At the end of the week, take a look at how you spent your time this week and all that you got done. You did it, gurl. Reward yourself, have some downtime, you earned it!
This is also the time for you to evaluate how well you stuck to the schedule, why you went off schedule if you did, could it have been avoided, and if you’re going to be doing something differently the next week.
Once you’ve evaluated your week, plan your next one. This is an ongoing activity and not a one time task. This is going to give you amazing results.
Planning doesn’t have to be daunting or restricting or overwhelming.
It’s the complete opposite.
It allows you to get things done, feel accomplished, not feel guilty about wasting time, and my favorite part: You can truly relax and enjoy your downtime without worrying about things that have to get done because you know exactly when they’ll be done.
I hope this post gives you some ideas to plan a productive and organized week. This is the system I use to get amazing results and you can too.
If you do use this planning system or have any questions, do let me know in the comments below!