Most of us attack the week one day at a time. If you work in corporate, you get to the office on Monday, track down a cup of coffee, and then try to figure out what all is going on.
Consider how things could work out better if you have a weekly plan for your life before you wake up on Monday morning. And don’t just plan your work-related items, plan everything else too. Figure out what needs to be done and prioritize those items.
For your best results, avoid living life as it unfolds. By taking control, you’ll increase your confidence, stay ahead of your work, and actually find more free time to do whatever you like. Give it a try for a month and see if you enjoy the benefits.
Follow these steps to create a plan for the week:
1. Have a weekly planning session. Sunday is the logical choice. You’ve decompressed from the previous week, but it’s still fresh in your mind. The workweek starts in just one day.
Make a list of tasks for each area of your life. The areas might include work, personal items, and family. Your items will vary with your unique life.
An example: WORK
– complete marketing project with George
– interview applicants for marketing supervisor position
– contact packaging vendor to discuss printing issues – find contractor to repair floor on production area
2. Assign priorities to all of the tasks. Assume that you can’t get it all done. Which items must be done and which can slide until the following week?
Assign one of three levels of priority to each task. You might use 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C, or Red, Yellow, Green.
Start with your number 1 priorities and complete all of them before moving on to the number 2 and 3 priorities.
3. Schedule these tasks into your calendar. Begin this process no later than Sunday evening. You should know how you’re going to spend your Monday morning. Don’t wait until your alarm clock wakes you up.
Avoid over-scheduling. I cannot stress this enough. Once you fall behind, it becomes impossible to catch up. Leave room for the inevitable emergencies and requests from the boss. Schedule 50% of your time and leave the rest available.
Using a planner will allow you to move all these obligations out of your head. Put them down on paper as soon as possible.
4. Get busy as soon as you can on Monday morning. If you can work ahead, great! Keep your plans fluid. What you’ve put in your planner is your best guess, but you have to start somewhere. Things will change as the week progresses.
5. Review each evening. Spend just a few minutes each night making necessary adjustments. As tasks are completed, you’ll have the flexibility to move things around. Perfect your new plan of attack each night. Make this a habit. You can do it before leaving the office or do it in the comfort of your living room. Just ensure it gets done.
6. Have a weekly review. What did you do well? What could have been better? How well did your weekly plan work? What improvements can you make to the process?
Reviewing your week and making adjustments is one of the most powerful ways to improve. Address your mistakes and recognize your successes.
By planning and prioritizing, you can hit the ground running. You’re also assured of getting the most important things accomplished. Start next week by making a plan and following it religiously. Your life will change for the better.