It’s Friday afternoon and some of us are packing up for a weekend of relaxation, while others are staying late to finish up work that seems to never end. Who would you rather be?
How is it that successful people seem to have time while others can’t find enough of it? It’s all in the schedule. Successful people find pockets of time to get the most important tasks done first. They start their week with a sense of purpose and finish with a feeling of satisfaction. They practice work life integration. They have a strategy.
Here’s how to schedule your week like a professional:
1. Find the right tools to organize your schedule.
Before you can start planning you need the tools for the job. Invest in a weekly planner that you enjoy using. We love this 2016 planner by Kate Spade. Sign up for Google Calendar to set-up reminders of recurring tasks.
2. Schedule time in your calendar to plan your week.
Plan to spend one hour on Sunday evening or on your way into work Monday morning (if you transit) setting up your week. (Many career coaches suggest mapping out your week on a Friday before the weekend, but I sometimes find this to be a bit unrealistic.) Make your planning session something to look forward to – have a glass of wine on Sunday evening as your reward for preparing yourself for a successful week ahead.
3. Prioritize your tasks.
Make a list of your goals for the week, month and year. Break larger goals into smaller tasks. Now prioritize. Number each task in order of importance. Plan to get the most important task on your list done first. If you run out of time at the beginning of your week, you will still have a chance to complete it.
4. Schedule your tasks.
This is how you can actually accomplish your goals. Schedule each item as an appointment in your planner. Give each task a start and end time. Add buffer time between tasks. Power through your project. Get it finished and move on. Didn’t have time to finish during your appointment? Reschedule the task for later in the week. Aim to complete one important project per day and leave time in your schedule for smaller, busy tasks. Ideally, plan to get it finished first thing in the morning before any distractions.
5. Allow time to daydream.
Incorporate time in your schedule to daydream. Let yourself visualize some of your business ideas. Carry a small notebook to capture your ideas. Think about small things you can do weekly to make these a reality.
6. Check off your accomplishments and plan for next week.
At the end of your week (or during your Sunday night planning session), check off your accomplishments and reflect on how much closer you are to achieving your goals. Carry forward anything that didn’t get completed and reschedule it in your calendar. Delete the task entirely if you keep putting it off, or move it forward a few months as a reminder in your calendar.
Add your tips for scheduling your week! Comment below.
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