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When it comes to staying productive and tackling goals, it’s ALL about planning. In order to keep improving, learning how to plan a productive week is super important! This post is filled with tips for planning a productive week and helping you to tackle any goal you set.
Before you dive in, make sure to sign up for my free productivity toolkit!
HOW TO PLAN A PRODUCTIVE WEEK
Set Aside Time for Planning
I think there are a lot of people who find extensive planning to be counter-intuitive for productivity because it takes up even more time in your day that you could be using for something else. Seriously though, you’re going to want to do this ahead of time!
If I sit down at my desk each morning and don’t have a plan in place, it takes me a bit to figure out what exactly I need to accomplish that day. And for a side hustler who maybe only has a couple hours of work time per day, that’s not gonna work.
You can do this a day at a time, planning every day the night before. I think a week at a time is best.
Review Previous Week
The first step to planning the week ahead is looking back at the previous week. I take a look at the tasks I had scheduled for myself that didn’t get done and reevaluate. Sometimes I realize it didn’t get done because it genuinely just wasn’t important to me. If that’s the case, I may just drop it. Otherwise, I reschedule it for the week ahead. Looking back at the previous week also helps me to see if I overscheduled myself, and I will try not to make the same mistake with the week ahead.
Have Weekly Routines
In addition to the time I set aside for planning on Sundays, there are other weekly routines I have each week to make my life easier. Because I work full-time and do a lot of blogging in the evenings, weekends are my ideal time to get other tasks done. This is when I’ll typically sit down and write a meal plan for myself, followed by grocery shopping. This is also when I do laundry and any deep cleaning that needs to get done.
I also have a weekly workout routine. I work out pretty much the same nights each week. And the for the most part, the same nights each week are devoted to my business. Having these routines and things I do the same way each week means that those small tasks take a lot less mental energy because they’re just second nature to me at this point.
Identify Your Goals
When it comes to making a plan for your productive week, it’s important to set goals for yourself. What projects do you want to tackle? What improvements do you want to make? Work on regularly setting goals for yourself, identifying those goals, and making time for them on your calendar.
It would be easy to keep my blog at status quo. I could write my weekly blog posts and share them on social media, but I wouldn’t see much growth. Goal-setting is what allows me to take on more projects that will allow me to keep growing.
I have a couple of BIG picture goals I’ve set for myself. Those big-picture goals are broken down into smaller mini-goals, which are broken down into SMALLER mini goals. So every week I like to pick one or two mini goals that I want to accomplish that week that are going to help contribute to my big goal.
Once I decide on what one or two mini goals I want to work on, I’ll write a list of action items or tasks that will make up the mini goal, and add those tasks to my calendar.
For WAY more info on my goal setting process, feel free to check out the free 6-day goal setting challenge I run!
Look at the Big Picture
When you start getting entrenched in the day to day tasks of whatever it is you’re working on, whether it be your full-time job, growing a side-hustle, or putting together a home. But when it comes to progress, long-term goals are important. The difficult thing with long-term goals is that it’s easy to set them and forget about them.
When I set a long-term goal, like launching my eBook or opening my Etsy shop, I like to immediately break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. And as I’m planning for my productive week ahead, I make sure to make time for those baby steps toward my big goals.
Use Time Blocking
You guys. Time blocking is everything. Seriously.
As a side hustler, my time to work on my business is limited. And usually comes in fairly small blocks of time. So I batch my tasks and then assign each batch of tasks to a time block.
For example, I have to schedule my social media for the week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. So I’ll have one 1-2 hour time block one evening per week to schedule ALL of my social media.
Typically I plan my day in 30-minute blocks of time, but some tasks obviously take longer. When that’s the case, I do generally take a few minute breaks every 30 minutes or so to keep my brain refreshed.
Prep What You Can Ahead of Time
The more I can prep ahead of time for my week the better. This includes picking out my outfits for the week ahead of time. I take a look at the weather as well as my calendar for the week and figure out what I’m wearing each day, that way I can just throw it on in the morning.
I also prep lunches ahead of time. Some weeks this means buying ingredients and making 5 days worth of work lunches on the weekend. Other weeks it means buying something I can quickly grab on my way out the door. Some of my favorites are Healthy Choice® Power Bowls. They’re an easy on-the-go meal but still taste just as good as a homecooked meal.
I also stock up on coffee and smartwater at home and in my office so I’m not running out for a beverage when I should be working. Having my food and drinks planned for the week makes it so much easier to save time running out to grab lunch, and saves money because I’m not hitting restaurants and coffee shops all week.
Schedule Your Tasks
I find that I’m far more likely to complete a task if I’ve actually scheduled it for a specific day or time. Just making a list of tasks for the entire week can be overwhelming because you don’t know where to start. For my blogging work that needs to get done, I make a to-do list for each evening instead of one for the entire week so that when I sit down to work, it’s a lot easier to dive in because I know exactly where to start.
I used to keep just one long running to-do list that I would work on for blogging tasks. I almost never made any progress on the list because holy smokes was that overwhelming to look at. It was pages long and not remotely prioritized, so half the time the tasks I was getting done weren’t all that important at all.
Leave Buffer Time
Anyone else ever get SUPER ambitious and schedule work for themselves every hour of the freaking workday. I do once in a while, and then I’m quickly reminded why that’s a terrible idea.
Simply put, you can’t overload your to-do list and expect you’re going to get it all done. I would rather WAY overestimate how long a task is going to take and have extra room in my schedule than to underestimate and get behind on everything.
Overestimate how long each task will take. Leave buffer time between each task. Schedule time to NOT be working. Self-care is important, guys.
BEFORE YOU GO
What is your strategy for planning a productive week? Have you been using any of these strategies? Leave a comment and share your favorite tips!
Make sure to head over to the Etsy shop to check out all the AMAZING notepads and printables that will seriously help you boost your productivity.
And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE Ultimate Productivity Toolkit that has all the tools you need to plan a productive day, week, and month!
Hi, I’m Erin! I’m an online educator and content creator who helps women reach their goals by teaching them to manage their time and their money. I want to help you design a life you love, so I’m sharing everything I know about goal setting, productivity, planning, and personal finance. You can read my full story here!