Do you find yourself overwhelmed with tasks and big goals that you forget important deadlines? Or maybe you just stop and turn your back from some of the things you are supposed to accomplish and suddenly cancel appointments because you already have too much on your plate?
If you think you need to improve your time management and organizational skills, I suggest you read on as I share with you some basic steps I take in planning my week to make sure that I have a clear picture of how to run my next seven days.
- Plan your week on a weekend. No matter which day your weekend falls on, considering the nature of your work and lifestyle, take at least 15 minutes to sit down with a pen and paper, or whatever gadget you’re most comfortable using. Just be sure you can easily access your planner even in the middle of a very busy day.
- List all the things you need to accomplish in the coming week. Write down your goals for the week, including appointments and errands. For bigger goals, try your best to break it into smaller doable tasks.
Identify your non-negotiable appointments and plot it on your weekly calendar. These are the events you seriously cannot miss. This practice helps in building your integrity by keeping your promised commitments and honoring your “yes-es”. You would not want to piss off your friends or business partners by cancelling previously set appointments, would you? 😉
Decide on the focus of your week. Pick one goal that you will prioritize then rank all other goals according to their importance and urgency.
After writing everything down, set a deadline for each task. Determine on which day of the week you need to accomplish each item on your week’s to-do list. Now that you have a preliminary list of the things you need to do per day, you can now start planning how to manage your 24 hours.
- Divide your day into 30-minute intervals.Seeing your day in smaller units of time will help you manage your time better and adjust easily.
List all the things you need to accomplish in a day. You may start by first plotting the time of non-negotiable tasks (the things you must do).
I suggest you do the hardest and biggest tasks first so you can have the rest of the day focused on accomplishing minor tasks. It is like lifting the biggest rock out of your way so you can continue on your path with ease. However, if you are aware of your “prime hour”—the time of the day when you feel most productive and at your best—you may consider performing the difficult tasks during this time when there is a higher chance of performing even the difficult tasks excellently.
Next, plot your routine activities such as ‘get up’, ‘work out’, ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’, ‘dinner’ et cetera. After this, you may now plot all other tasks you have to do that day. Do not forget to leave at least an extra hour vacant so you’ll have allowance for unexpected tasks and circumstances.
- Review your plan every night of the week. This is to prepare your mind for the things you need to accomplish the next day. Do not hesitate to update your plan and make necessary adjustments when the need arises. Also mark or cross out the tasks you were able to accomplish so you’ll be guided accordingly.
At the end of each week, I strongly advice that you review the previous week not only to copy all unfinished tasks and add it to the goals for the coming week, but more importantly, to assess your own productivity and discipline in meeting deadlines. This can help you identify how you can improve your workflow and daily schedule.
Planning is not about rigidity. I believe we face an everyday test of character when we need to be flexible in order to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. I see planning as a way to keep me on track amidst all the hustle and bustle of everyday demands in any aspect of life. It is an attempt to achieve balance while being sure that we are still on the right path towards the goals we are working on. Allow yourself some time to take a break and just breathe. After all, life is not just about lists and plans; it is about the way we actually live our days. 🙂
“On with it then and finish the job; be as eager to finish it as you were to plan it and do it with what you have.”
2 Corinthians 8:11