Ever felt like the week came in a bit earlier than you were ready? With tasks slamming on your desks and emails dropping like a loop campaign.
Truth is, during any given week, you likely have a lot on your plate, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, to get so bogged down that you’re not sure where to start.
You may even miss a deadline sometimes because you either didn’t start a task on time, or it completely fell off your radar. And listen: It’s OK to make mistakes. We’re all human.
However, often times, situations like this can be avoided by doing one very simple thing: planning out your week ahead of time.
The quote by Benjamin Franklin — ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!’ comes to mind.
Planning may not seem fun, and you may think you just don’t have time to do it. But you do.
In fact, setting aside a few minutes each week to set up your schedule will help you tackle each work day more strategically.
You may also like this article on accomplishing goals in the workplace >> How to accomplish goals in the workplace
In this piece, we discuss some tips on how to write a weekly work plan and hold yourself accountable to it.
Start With A Brainstorm
Like the name implies, storm your brain with all the things it’s joggling to-do. Your brain is keeping tabs of so many things – tasks to complete, tasks to keep in mind for later, people to follow up with, one-offs, you know so many more.
Plus, you have other things to do for your non-work life, too (you need to call an aunt that lost a husband, or remember to tell your son to get the groceries).
Take a blank sheet of paper and write down every single thing that comes to mind that you think you need to do.
Not just your work-related to-do items, write down every single thing. Get it all out of your head and onto the page.
Sort The Page In Order Of Importance
With a lot on that page – basically everything you should be doing for the week, it’s time to prioritize tasks.
One of the most important aspect of your planning is being able to identify high priority tasks and allocating adequate time and resources to them before moving to other tasks that carry less weight.
There are tasks that make up the crust of your weekly schedule, sort the list and bring those tasks up.
Sorting the list helps you declutter the list into an approachable format that is also clear to achieve.
By looking at a sorted list, you can already have a feel of what your week will look like in a arranged format.
What is the deadline for the tasks on your list? It’s time to answer that.
Run through your sorted list and clearly indicate when each and every item needs to be completed by.
This part can be tricky but you need to be very honest with yourself. There might be some things that you think you need to do today or tomorrow, but ask yourself: are these really urgent and important?
If yes, then note that. But if you have a little more wiggle room, don’t pressure yourself to do it sooner than you need to. Conversely, don’t push everything to the very last second, either.
If you have certain assigned tasks from your employer, you know those should make top of the list, work with your organization timeline to design your own. It has to sync, that’s the whole point of it.
A quick tip, try overestimating the amount of time you’ll need for each thing. If writing a blog post usually takes 30 minutes, for example, set aside 45.
You want to build in extra time (safety nets) in case you get interrupted or it takes longer than expected for whatever reason.
Schedule It On Your Calendar
Writing your to-do list and assigning deadlines them doesn’t guarantee that you will always remember to do certain things.
You need something to keep you in check and remind you when it’s time to move to another task. Something that tells you if you are missing deadlines or if you are on track.
A simple Google calendar can handle this well, but if you’re working with a team, and want to keep more details about your tasks, then a project management tool like Asana or Trello will be ideal.
With calendars and project management tools, you will get notifications on which deadlines are fast approaching and leave you out on items that come up on a later date.
This way, you are able to focus and deliver your tasks as you had rightly prioritized on your to-do list.
Planning is the key to the success of any project – including your week to week tasks. While it may look like you are wasting time on that sheet of paper, with strong urge to pull out your computer and start smashing your tasks, it is wise to plan first, then execute later.
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