With all the craziness that is going on in the world right now, it can feel especially powerful to be in control of something. There is so much uncertainty, and it can feel problematic to try and be calm in the midst of panic and scary news headlines.
For me, planning ahead helps to cut through the noise and reminds me to focus on the present. It’s easy to get caught up in the past or worry about the future, but it’s important to live in the now as much as possible. There’s no point stressing about what has happened or what might happen, because it wastes the precious time we have now.
The best way eliminate anxiety and stress by living in the present is to be organized. I love being prepared and I hate the unexpected, so for me, planning my workweek is essential in making sure all things run smoothly. Whether it’s writing things out in a calendar or re-organizing my office, there is no better feeling than starting my week off on the right foot.
Here are 6 ways you can plan your workweek to maximize your success:
1. Set Priorities
What is your most important priority versus what can take a back seat? Figure out what absolutely needs to get done, aka your non-negotiables. This will be different for everyone — maybe for you it’s finishing a project at work, going to the gym 5 times, or creating a certain number of social posts for your business.
Setting your priorities is important to do first because it’s impossible to have a productive week otherwise. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities without actually thinking about whether your actions are supporting your goals. Each week, the goal should be to make progress, so don’t focus too much time on things that aren’t important (or worse, things that are supporting other people’s goals and not yours). Be proactive and block time for the things that are most important in your life.
2. Schedule Everything
The best way to stay on top of your responsibilities is to schedule time for it. For me, if it’s not in my calendar I won’t do it. That means everything from haircuts to social media posts to business calls. If I need to do it, it’s going in my calendar.
Furthermore, when you schedule things out, it becomes much easier to see what you have coming so that you’re prepared. If you start your Monday off knowing what you have to do, it’s much easier to stay focused and get it done. Also, it helps limit doing things that aren’t in line with your goals — there is something about seeing something written down that makes you second guess if it’s important enough to be squeezed into your work week. I mean, maybe that appointment isn’t worth it after all?
3. Consider When You Work Best
We all reach our peak productiveness at different times, so create a schedule that reflects that. If you’re most creative in the morning, pencil in time to do your writing or creative work then. If you’re always tired at 4pm, don’t schedule activities that require a lot of thinking or focusing. Instead, schedule things that are easier, such as responding to emails or having a snack.
What’s amazing about being an entrepreneur is that I get to choose my own hours, so I’ve cultivated a lifestyle that fits how I work best. If this isn’t an option for you, still try your best to do little things that compliment your work style, such as going to the gym before work when you’re most energized or taking your lunch at a certain time when you know you need to give your brain a break.
4. Use Tools
In the age of smartphone apps, there are so many amazing resources at your fingertips to take advantage of. Find scheduling tools or productivity apps to keep you organized and on top of things. Whether you need help with day planning or if you think you’d benefit from tools that limit your social media usage (we all know how easy it is to get sucked in), there is nothing wrong with getting a little help.
These tools can be essential in giving you reminders and notifications to keep you on track.
5. Check in Mid-Week
As much as you may plan your week ahead of time down to the minute, things change and get in the way. Meetings get cancelled, bad weather ruins your plans, or sometimes deadlines get moved ahead which cause other things to fall to the wayside. This is why it can be both beneficial and vital to check in with yourself mid-week. What have you accomplished and what do you still have left to do? Or have you gotten caught up in things that don’t support your priorities?
Take a step back to assess where you’re at and possibly reschedule your calendar if need be. This is why it’s also important to leave room in your calendar for unplanned things to come up. Things happen unexpectedly which force us to go with the flow. We can plan over and over, but that doesn’t mean things won’t get in the way.
6. Schedule Time to Relax
An important part of being productive and successful is knowing when you need to take a break. It’s easy to keep adding and adding things to your schedule while forgetting that you need personal time too. There is nothing wrong with adding some “me time” to your calendar, and in fact, I can promise you will become a better entrepreneur/mother/employee/businesswoman because of it.
Take a bath, get a massage, go for a walk in nature, or spend time alone reading a book. Whatever your relaxation method is, make sure to carve time for it at least a few times a week. I try to spend 15-20 minutes each day to unwind and kick back.
When I take the time to do so, I am able to make the most out of my day.