Here’s why weekly planning is a surefire way to increase productivity
You have the constant desire to improve your life by being more productive. But if you don’t know how to get started to improve personal productivity, be it productivity at home or work, you have come to the right place. I will show you how to increase productivity by planning every week in advance.
I used to be a person who would think about getting things done endlessly but never got around to actually doing. I have lost count of how many days I have wasted in life because of lack of proper planning. And let me tell you, planning in advance is the only thing that helped me organize my life. Period.
Without much ado, let us see how weekly planning can help you improve productivity.
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HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE BY PLANNING WEEKLY?
For those who are not into planning, it may seem like a mechanical way to live. To live looking at a planner and daily schedules may seem very boring for people who are spontaneous and love adventures.
But there are people who thrive on routine. I am one of them and I don’t like surprises when I have planned my day (not all surprises, but some). And for the people whose lives are disorganized without a proper planning and reference system, planning is a must.
There are a hundred ways to plan your days and there are planners to organize literally every area of life. The planner system I use now is a DIY, customizable system called bullet journal. If you are a regular Pinterest or Instagram user, you must have heard about it.
HOW DOES PLANNING INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?
If you are like most people, the number of tasks that must be finished in a day can overwhelm you. You want to do so much but there seems to be no time for anything. You are stressed and you are not able to focus on the task at hand.
Similarly, when you try to do something you are suddenly reminded of the numerous other things that you should be doing even if they are not urgent.
David Allen in his bestselling book “Getting Things Done” says, you should have a capturing system for such thoughts because they peek in often reminding you to do them, even if not urgent.
You can capture all your thoughts in a brain dumping session in your planner. Later, you can organize them according to the level of urgency. When every task has a time assigned, you can move through your day peacefully. Clearing your mind off the to-do items help you get things done easily.
Related: 5 ways to increase productivity and get more done in a day
BENEFITS OF PLANNING
Therefore planning helps
- To reduce stress because you are in control of your tasks and not the other way round.
- To increase focus because you have scheduled the important tasks for the day and you don’t need to think about it constantly.
- To remember the important dates in the past and in the future. You remember your future tasks and if you want to refer to any date in the past, your planner helps in that.
- To organize your life because putting it on the calendar means you procrastinate less and kick laziness out. Trust me it really works to minimize procrastination.
- To have a sense of direction in life. If you do planning it means you have some kind of goals to achieve. And goals give a direction in life where planning helps you to move along the direction.
- To increase self-discipline. Your planner or journal is like your accountability partner and writing in it about your goals and later tracking the progress keep you on track.
Related: 10 reasons journaling will transform your life
HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEEK TO BE PRODUCTIVE?
GET YOUR SCHEDULER
Before starting to plan, decide which planner do you want to use. It can be digital or the usual pen and paper ones.
I am a pen and paper person and I use a bullet journal. My bullet journal pretty much organizes my whole life and I can’t function without it. But I am open to other planners as well and ready to dip my toes in (If you have used and loved a planner system, I would love to hear about it in the comments!).
I have written in detail about bullet journaling in other articles so I am not gonna go deep here.
But if you want to reduce paper clutter and want the organizer with you all the time, there are a bunch of digital options like Todoist, TuexDeux, Trello, Asana etc.
- How to start a bullet journal in easy steps even if you have no artistic skills
- 10 things you must know before starting a bullet journal
PLAN DURING WEEKEND
After deciding on the planner, you can now fix a day in the week for planning. Most people prefer Sunday because you have more free time and you are relaxed, but it’s up to you. Now, take your planner and write down all the things you need to do that week corresponding to each day.
If you don’t know on which day are you gonna do a task, just write them down altogether on a page or create a column on the side of a page called “This week”. This can be your brain dumping of all the little and big tasks which are circling in your mind.
You can sort through the tasks and add them to each day of the week as you advance through the week.
Some tasks may not be urgent enough to be done this week, so schedule them for the next week. Or if you were not able to finish a task this week you can schedule it for the next week.
SORT YOUR TASKS BY PRIORITY
When you are overwhelmed by the numerous tasks you should do, remember that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t do it all at once. So RELAX! And also please understand that productivity is not about getting ‘everything under the sun’ done. Productivity is about getting the most important things done and if some things are not worth your time, eliminate them from your list or delegate them.
And to avoid stressing out, do not schedule many tasks in a day. Be realistic and calculate the time you will take to finish the task. You might not have an idea in the beginning, but you will once you get used to the system.
Now, think about the 3 Most Important Tasks (MIT) that should be done in a day. Though you can assign more tasks in a day, these 3 tasks should be the ones that are most important so much so that even if you don’t do any other task, it’s okay.
When you choose the tasks it’s a good idea to schedule the time too so that you can start working on them right away and not ‘later’. Scheduling the time creates urgency and you won’t waste time doing untrivial things.
You can use symbols or colors to signify the importance of tasks. I usually use the signifier * for important tasks in my bullet journal.
You can also color code using highlighters.
If you use digital planners also, you can prioritize the tasks using color coding or define them according to the urgency level.
Related: How to set priorities using the Eisenhower matrix
GROUP SIMILAR TASKS
Instead of trying to do every task every day, try to have a theme for your days. It’s called task batching. For example, I don’t write every day. But when I want to write a blog post, I spend three-four days on it from research to publishing (I am damn slow!) So I schedule writing for those three-four days in my weekly plan. And then, I move onto other parts of the business like making pins, scheduling etc.
If I have to write every day and do every task related to my business every day, I would be a lot more stressed. So I do batch scheduling.
Moving from one unfinished task to another requires you to keep shifting your attention back and forth and you do not get much done of a particular task. I have tried that and once I start to get focused on a task, I am forced to move to something else. Needless to say, I would never get much done that way. Therefore, group the tasks that have a similar theme.
For example, you can dedicate a day or a half day in your week to plan your meals ahead for the week. Once you decide, what to make each day, you can cut veggies or cook meat and store them in the fridge to use later. And fix a day for cleaning bathrooms, cleaning wardrobe, ironing clothes, washing laundry etc.
The idea is to group the tasks that you can easily jump from one to the next easily and that can be done in a flow.
This is a picture from my bullet journal where I have batched my tasks in a week.
As you can see, my schedule is different on weekends. I devote more time to blogging on weekends compared to weekdays. This is a rough schedule and things may not go as always planned (life happens!), but most of my weeks go like this.
As I have little humans to take care of, I can’t work in a stretch except for when they are in school. I take a break in between my blogging tasks and household chores and resume the tasks after the breaks.
If my day is dedicated to writing, I resume writing after the break. Or if it is to make pins and scheduling, I do it for the whole day.
Once you decide which tasks should go together, the next step is to schedule them in your planner, corresponding to each day of the week.
You can schedule at once or schedule from the master list of tasks every day. I usually write the events or appointments in advance and daily tasks the night before.
Weekly planning has definitely increased my productivity and has enabled me to be more organized. If you are a person who is overwhelmed by the number of tasks that you have to do and struggle to juggle between different areas of life, try planning weekly.
I’m interested to know how it turns out for you. You can comment below or email me.
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