How to Plan an Unbelievably Productive Week in Less Than an Hour
How to Plan a Productive Week
Have you ever wished you had a more productive week? If you’re like most people, you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. You feel overwhelmed and stressed out, and you’re constantly trying to figure out how to squeeze more into your schedule.
Today, we will discuss a simple method for planning a productive week in less than an hour. We’ll also provide a free digital planner download, which will help make the process even easier!
First, let’s talk about some productivity tips for staying productive. Productivity is all about simplicity. An elaborate morning routine or productivity method may not be what works for you, but it could be perfect for someone else.
I’ve tried tons of methods to find out that it may be best to integrate several methods. But all in all, no matter which method is best for you, these steps will help you get where you want to be.
Before we jump into planning a productive week, let me tell you the three rules we follow before setting our weekly goals.
Three Rules We Follow Before Setting Our Weekly Goals
Keep it simple – Apply the 80/20 rule
Contrary to some gurus, You don’t need to have tons of complicated planners, notebooks, and apps to be a productive person. The less clutter you have, the better!
That’s why the Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule is a great way to simplify your life and focus on the important things. Basically, this rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that you need to do, take a step back and ask yourself which tasks are actually going to move the needle?
Give yourself a task test. Do I NEED to do this to reach my goal?
I recently read the book via; Audible Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, who is a retired professional athlete. And is the only person in history to have completed Navy SEAL training, Air Force tactical air control party training, and Ranger School. He is also a former world record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours.
Pretty amazing stuff, right? David put in countless hours of training in order to make his dreams happen. But what if David only spent 20% of his time training and the other 80% of his time doing tasks that had no real bearing on his goals.
What if Oprah spent 80% of her time in her early years gardening? Do you think you’d know who she was today?
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”— Warren Buffett
The first step is to focus on the one thing that you want to accomplish for the week that aligns with who you want to become.
Be consistently intentional
That brings me to the second rule. Be intentional with your weekly goals. Do they line up with your monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals?
If your goal is to become an influencer. Your week should reflect tasks and actions towards becoming an influencer.
If your personal goal is becoming more patient, your weekly goals should reflect that goal…Consistently!
So what do you do when it’s hard to be consistent?
David said in his book that when it got really hard to continue, he was running with a heart condition, a broken leg, and bloody swollen feet. He pulled out virtual cookies from his mind’s cookie jar of all the wins he had already accomplished, both large and small, to encourage his willpower to continue.
Jerry Seinfeld uses the don’t break the chain method in his life as a comedian. Jerry consistently and intentionally applies the 80/20 rule by writing one joke every day; because he has created a lifelong string of many jokes, he will remain a comedic icon.
Action step: What is one thing you can consistently and intentionally apply to reach your goals?
Be flexible and integrate your entire life
One huge problem with “time management” is that we do have control over time itself. There’s no way we could accurately schedule every moment. Life happens, which is why it’s best to add plenty of cushion to our day. We forget to integrate our life with our work and our work with our life.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not encouraging you to multitask. What I am saying is when you plan your day, keep in mind that you may have doctor’s appointments, little league games, lunch with a friend, downtime to yourself, and time for the necessities like getting ready for the day and reflecting on your day.
By no means am I suggesting scheduling out every little piece of your day. If that doesn’t work for you, it definitely doesn’t work for me; however, what I am saying is to make sure that you are flexible and that you remember to include both your work and your life.
Again, I don’t encourage task switching or multitasking; however, there are times when multitasking can be beneficial to you. For example, if you’ve scheduled an hour for a walk, that’s also the time when you can listen to podcasts or catch up with a friend or neighbor.
Let’s sum up the three rules we should follow before planning our week
- Keep it simple – apply the 80/20 rule.
- Be intentional – Do your weekly goals apply to your overall goal?
- Be flexible – Integrate your entire life.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wondering how to plan your week as a student, entrepreneur, or goal-getter; these strategies will help you build a solid plan to get you there.
How to Plan a Productive Week in 5 Steps
Step 1 Schedule a Day to Plan Your Week
One of the best ways to make sure that you actually plan your week is to schedule it in your calendar. This will help to ensure that you get it done instead of procrastinating or winging it because you didn’t make the time.
Some people swear by planning on Sunday or super early Monday morning. Sunday’s used to be my number one pick too. However, my favorite days now are Thursday or Friday. Find space in your calendar that you can commit to and schedule it.
Platforms like Google calendar make it easier to schedule your planning sessions for weeks automatically.
It’s like a date with your planning session. So that means time without social media which includes but is not limited to Tic Tok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, LinkedIn, and their friends’ Clubhouse, YouTube, and Pinterest.
When you have a scheduled day of the week for planning, it’s easier to stay focused and productive.
Step 2 Use a System to Plan
Let’s talk about where are you going to store your plans? We have to use a system. Somewhere to house our plans outside of our minds. This system is a giant step for your sanity.
It’s the difference between sleepless nights and sound rest and the difference between a wish and an accomplishment.
Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
People with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve than people without written goals
Multimillionaire CEO and author Lonnie Dawson says that only 1% of the population has written goals they review regularly, and these were among the highest achievers in the United States. Dawson also says a millionaire looks at their goals once a day in a billionaire looks at their goals twice a day.
But it’s not enough to just jot down a few goals, review them, and hope for the best.
You need to find a system that works for you to plan your week.
“Experts in every field agree on the transformative power of systems”(Mark Joiner, Simpleology).
Do you like paper or digital planners? While some people swear by paper planners, others prefer the convenience of digital planning apps. There are pros and cons to both methods, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
I like to benefit from the muscle memory of using pen and paper, but I had random journals, notebooks, and pieces of paper everywhere. But I prefer the flexibility of digital planners.
What was my solution? I pair my digital planner with an iPad and Apple pencil using the Goodnotes app. It’s the best of both worlds for me. I can keep my plans handy wherever I go, but I can manually write everything out without sending out a search party.
Whether it’s a digital planner or a good old-fashioned pen and paper, there are plenty of options.
I have a free time blocking template and digital planner template you can use either digital or as a printable.
However, if you use printables, you may want to include some digital systems like:
- Google Calendar
- Google Tasks
Step 3 Brain dump, categorize and prioritize tasks
Once you have your system in place, it’s time to do a brain dump. This is where you make a list and write down everything that’s on your mind, no matter how big or small. Once you have everything out of your head, you can start to categorize and prioritize your tasks.
How do you categorize your tasks is an individual thing. It’s what’s important to you. I say break them down into no more than five categories such as finance, social, personal, health, and family.
In case you need a little help understanding the importance of categorizing or selecting your top categories, I’d like to share an extremely popular theory quoted by great leaders like Tony Robbins, Mel Robins, and Brandon Burchard.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.”
The hierarchy describes the basic needs that human beings must satisfy in order for them to reach their full potential.
The first level of the hierarchy is physiological needs, such as the need for food, water, and sleep. The second level is safety needs, including the need for shelter and protection from danger.
The third level is love and belongingness needs, including the need for friendships and relationships. The fourth level is esteem needs, including the need for respect and recognition.
The fifth and final level is self-actualization needs, which includes the need to become everything that a person can be.
The hierarchy is often represented as a pyramid, with the lower levels representing the more basic needs and the higher levels representing the more complex needs. Maslow believed that all human beings have the potential to reach the fifth level of self-actualization, but not all will do so.
He also believed that people are motivated to satisfy their needs in order of importance, starting with physiological needs and moving up to self-actualization needs.
The goal is for us to become the most fulfilled version of ourselves. Categorizing our priorities helps us get there by reminding us of what’s really important in all aspects of our life, not just one area.
So look at your brain dump list and prioritize the things you NEED to do, and categorize them. For example, working out would be under the health or fitness category, and editing a blog post would fall under something like the finance or career category.
Step 4 Create the Process
Napoleon Hill says, Plan your work and work your plan.
So how do we work our plan?
Once you’ve identified your goal and prioritized it, it’s time to start planning how you’re going to achieve it.
This is where you take action!
If you struggle with distractions, procrastination, or overwhelm.
I totally get it…I spent too many hours wondering what I should do next.
A pro tip here is to use templates. I spent counts hours and dollars purchasing courses and workshops to learn the best processes for my tasks. You can cut the line and the cost by visiting the Total Fit Boss Chick shop and grabbing a done-for-you template.
If you don’t see a template you’re looking for, it’s probably in the process of being created. However, I want to serve you well, so let me know if you are in search of anything in particular.
In addition to using templates, I suggest task chunking.
Task chunking is a great way to break down a large task into smaller, more manageable tasks. This can be helpful for complex tasks that seem overwhelming or for tasks that have a lot of steps.
Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. Be sure to include both big and small steps. For example, if your goal is to write several blog post, your list might include tasks like “research,” “content writing,” and “edit.”
Once you have your list of steps complete, I suggest task batching.
Task batching is the process of completing similar tasks together. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as grouping related tasks together, completing them all at once, or scheduling them to be completed at the same time.
Time blocking is another process to manage your time and stay productive. It involves setting aside specific blocks of time for specific tasks. This can be helpful for tasks that need to be completed in a specific amount of time, which we’ll discuss a bit more in step 5.
Step 5 Schedule your Week
Now it’s time to schedule your week. This is where your calendar is your best friend.
“A calendar is a planning system. It is a way to see your life on paper.” – Rachelle Gardner
You may find it helpful to create a theme for your work. I like to schedule themed days so I don’t have to constantly look at my calendar for what I should do on a particular day—for example, Talking Thursday. Thursday is the day I do all my talking for videos, podcasts, etc.
High-priority tasks should go into your calendar first.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. Stephen Covey
Here’s how you can easily schedule your task in Google Calendar.
1. Open Google Calendar and click the “Create” button in the top left corner.
2. Select “Event” from the list of options.
3. Enter the details for your task. The most important information is the date and time, but you may also want to include the name of the task and a brief description.
4. Click “Save” when you’re finished.
Time blocking may help you drill even further.
To time block, simply find a time on your calendar that you can dedicate to the task, and then block it off. This will help ensure that you don’t accidentally schedule something else for that time, and that you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand.
For more on Time Blocking and a free Time blocking Template, read my blog post Time Blocking 101 Explained.
Finally, don’t forget to include some downtime in your schedule! This is important for both your physical and mental health. Aim to include a few hours each week where you can relax and recharge.
How to Plan an unbelievably Productive Week in Less Than an Hour.
Step 1 Schedule a Day to Plan Your Week
Step 2 Use a System to Plan
Step 3 Brain dump, categorize and prioritize tasks
Step 4 Create the process
Step 5 Schedule your week
You can easily plan a productive week in less than an hour by following these simple steps!
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
If you’re looking for more tips on how to be productive, check out our blog post on the topic. We cover everything from goal setting to habit-building to help you make the most of your day!
And don’t forget to download our digital planner to make the process even easier.
What’s your greatest struggle with planning your week?
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