Having your most productive week, every week comes down to finding a formula (or a system or a process—whatever you want to call it) that works perfectly for you!!
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As a productivity strategist, I have tried pretty much every single tip, trick, hack, method, and strategy on the planet. And while I fully believe there is a unique formula for everyone, I also believe that each productive week should include the following 5 steps.
They are 100% KEY to having your most productive week, every week. #rinseandrepeat
But before I get ahead of myself, allow me to introduce myself: I’m Alexandra, a productivity and systems strategist for female entrepreneurs. I help women take back control of their day, their time, and their business by setting up simple systems that work, so they can embrace the TRUE female entrepreneur lifestyle of having a life AND a business that they adore. I’m all about kicking busy, hustle, and overwhelm to the curb and think the world would be a better place if everything was color coded. I’m obsessed with empty inboxes and checking things off of my to-do list and believe that you can conquer anything with a plan and pink lipstick.
1 | PLAN JUST ONE WEEK AT A TIME
It’s a really good idea to have a loose idea or outline of what you want to accomplish each quarter and extremely important to have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening each month.
But when it comes to planning your weeks, I strongly encourage you to plan just one week at a time. (Planning multiple weeks at once is a one-way ticket to overwhelm and I believe in kicking overwhelm to the curb as much as humanly possible.)
In this day and age, it’s not just the weather that can change drastically in 7 days. Life and business move fast. Opportunities can land in your lap (or inbox) when you least expect them. Emergencies can happen at the most inopportune time. Appointments, meetings, and even deadlines can get moved around. All of which can mean having to reprioritize and reorganize your tasks and to-dos.
Intentionally planning out just one week at a time will ensure you can handle whatever comes your way with ease.
2 | PLAN YOUR WEEK ON SUNDAY
I know there’s a big debate over which day of the week is the best day for planning your week. Some people recommend planning before you finish work on Friday. Others recommend planning on Monday morning before you start working. And, while neither of these suggestions are bad, I don’t think they are as effective as planning your week on Sunday.
Here’s why: When you plan your week on Friday, it’s likely you will forget everything you have to do / planned to do, which means having to spend valuable, productive time on Monday getting reacquainted with your to-do list and schedule for the week. And if you wait until Monday morning to plan your week, you’re again spending valuable, productive time figuring out what to do instead of jumping right in and doing it.
I would rather see you step away from work on Friday (feeling great about what you accomplished that week), enjoy your weekend to the fullest, and then spend NO MORE THAN AN HOUR OR TWO ON SUNDAY planning and preparing the week ahead. Then you can hit the ground running (before your coffee even finishes brewing) on Monday!!
3 | SCHEDULE EVERYTHING
And when I say everything, I mean ev-er-y-thing.
Your morning routine, your evening routine, exercise, breaks, meals, meetings, appointments, deadlines, your tasks, and your to-dos.
Scheduling everything means you know you have time for everything. It ensures you get to all the important stuff without overloading your day or overwhelming yourself. It means less missing or forgetting stuff. It means less stress and more progress.
Pro Tip: Schedule things like travel time into your day so you don’t overbook yourself. Don’t just write in your planner that you have a doctor’s appointment at 3:45. Note when you should leave and how long it’ll take to get there so you don’t schedule something else during that time.
4 | NO MORE THAN 3 MAIN TASKS A DAY
Female entrepreneurs are famous for mile-long to-do lists. The problem with these is that they’re not accomplishable. How many of you check a couple of things off a mile-long to-do list and feel like a failure because the rest of the list is still there at the end of the day?
Stop kicking yourself for not getting everything accomplished and start making your to-do lists for each day completely and totally doable.
When you’re planning your week on Sunday, I recommend making a list of all the business and personal tasks, to-dos, meetings, errands, appointments, calls, and deadlines that you have for the coming week. Then assign no more than 3 main tasks for each workday.
I like to do my weekly planning in Trello. I’ll move everything with a scheduled date and time into place first and then assign my other main tasks a day before sprinkling in other (miscellaneous) to-dos. Seeing my week at a glance this way helps me know exactly how and where I’m spending my time so I feel like celebrating at the end of the week instead of feeling like I got nothing done. (It’s also really easy to move tasks around in Trello when plans or schedules change. #BONUS)
Read More: How to Get Absolutely Anything Done
5 | UTILIZE TIME BLOCKING AND BATCHING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Time blocking and batching are two of my very favorite time management techniques. But there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about them. To make sure we’re on the same page, you should know that time blocking is when you dedicate a set amount of time to a single task and batching is grouping like-tasks together.
(And if you’re not utilizing them in your everyday business and personal life, girlfriend, you are MISSING OUT!! #getonthat)
When it comes to time blocking and planning your day, I recommend 2-hour time blocks for each of your 3 main tasks. (Generally, I work for 90-100 minutes and then take 20-30 minutes for some kind of break.) I also recommend bookending your day with an hour at the start of your day for email and social media and an hour at the end of your day for wrapping things up.
When it comes to batching, I recommend taking a look at all of your tasks, to-dos, errands, and everything else that you have scheduled for the week and seeing where you could be more efficient. Are you scheduling client calls every day of the week? Are you running errands multiple times a week? Are you working on graphics every single day? Batch these things together going forward and watch your productivity SOAR!!
I can’t wait for you to experience more productivity every single week!! Thank you so much, Vanessa, for letting me share!!
If you liked today’s post, be sure to hop over to The Productivity Zone for loads more!! You can also check out my Ultimate Productivity Toolkit for all the tools that help me be productive week after week and my newly popular Work From Home Productivity Guide!!
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