“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin.
One of the most beneficial practices I’ve developed is to take the necessary time out to power plan for the week ahead. When I plan for my week, I am really clear on the necessary steps I need to take in order to maximise my productivity and achieve all the tasks I have set out for myself. When I do this, I truly feel like I’m an unstoppable force!
There are a few steps I follow in order to power plan and to set my week up for success:
It may seem like a really basic tool, however there is something so powerful about writing a to-do list and putting pen to paper. When I write down all the things I need to achieve, it means that all these items are out of my head and on a page. A useful tip is to continually ask yourself “what else?” until you can no longer think of any tasks you want to get done, irrespective of how big or small it may be.
Writing a to-do list is also a practical way of helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. You can make this into an enjoyable Sunday evening practice by lighting a candle, sitting on your lounge, playing some music and working on your list. I find this helps me to reduce Sunday night anxiety and transition with a sense of calm into the working week.
Once you have written your to-do list, it is important to understand what your key priorities are for the week. Ask yourself:
“What are the top 2-3 priorities that I absolutely must complete this week?”
“What are the items which I am feeling the most fear or resistance around?”
“If this item does not get done, what would be the outcome / impact?”
Ensure that you schedule in time to prioritise these tasks. I recommend working on the difficult, important tasks first thing in the morning while your mind is fresh and free of distractions.
I use the calendar in my iPhone and Outlook to schedule in all work and personal commitments. This helps to ensure there is a clear plan of how you are going to utilise your time throughout the day. Schedule in:
Having a visual representation of all your priorities and commitments helps you to stay accountable and ensure you treat all personal commitments you have made to yourself as you would appointments with others.
Unexpected things happen. Your work may demand something more of you in a particular day or week. You may be invited to a special event. You may wake up one day feeling unwell or feeling unmotivated. What are you going to do?
Contingency planning refers to proactive preparation rather than reactive decisions when faced with an unexpected emergency or event. Ensure you take the necessary steps to ask yourself what you would do if a number of situations would occur – both outside and within your control.
Creating contingency and proper planning can help ensure that your disruption is minimised.
How productive your week will be comes down to your willingness and ability to commit. Review your calendar, commit to what you have set out for the week and execute. Visualise how you will feel at the end of the week once you have committed to doing everything you set out to achieve. Make a proactive decision that you are going to complete your tasks, even if they are challenging.
How do you plan your week to ensure you are productive and accomplish all the things you set out to achieve? What are some new strategies or practices you would like to try? I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below!
Image sourced via Pinterest.