However you plan your week ahead, here are five things that can’t be overlooked. In this post, I look at the 5 things you need to plan each week.
“Where did the week go?”
If you find yourself asking this question more than you’d like, then you’ll be happy you came across this post. In this article, I’ll be discussing five things you need to plan that, when they are scheduled into your week, make your weeks more memorable and less like a blur of passing time.
I recommend getting a notepad and pen for this one, because there are some good tips below. So let’s begin!
1. Review and planning time
If your weeks are blending into one another and you find yourself not knowing what happened from one week to the next, chances are you’re missing this vital ingredient; reviewing and planning time.
I say it’s vital because the act of reviewing the week just gone helps us to highlight the key moments, accomplishments and memories. This process alone makes for a more memorable week. But it also does another thing. It helps us to pay attention to the systems, processes and activities that are helping us and those that aren’t.
By reviewing the previous week, it’s important to ask yourself questions like;
- what went well? And why?
- what did I accomplish or get done?
- what didn’t go so well? And why?
- what can I change in the future that would make that activity/situation/conversation better next time?
Spending a few moments in reflection helps us to acknowledge the activities of the past and learn from our experiences. It’s with this learning that we can go forward into the upcoming week with a better mindset and more confidence because we’ve spent some time appreciating our accomplishments and looking into solutions to potential problems and sticking points.
Reviewing your week is hugely important whether you’re a stay at home parent or the CEO of a company. It’s for everyone no matter what their occupation or role. It’s simply the basis of a life that’s intentionally lived.
Once you’ve reviewed your week, it’s then time to plan for the upcoming week. This is probably what brought you to this post in the first place.
This is the part of the process that’s often filled with the most hope and optimism. If you’re a go-getter, you may find that you want to cram everything you possibly can into seven days. But resist the temptation. The following points are four other elements that should go into your week ahead of #allthethings. And before we even get to those, it’s important to carve our some time in your upcoming week to do a review and planning session.
I like to do my review and planning on a Sunday, although I know some people who do theirs on a Friday. It’s up to you which day you choose, as long as you set a day and time and commit to it.
Does that mean that you can’t deviate from your set day and time? Of course not! When I’m travelling, often I’ll do my review and planning on a different day so that I can be more present on a Sunday if I need to. Just ensure you have some time in the upcoming week to review and plan before you add anything else.
How long does a review and planning session take?
This often depends on what you have going on in your life. Many people find that half an hour is sufficient, although others with more hectic demands find that they need two hours to process all the moving parts in their lives. If you’re not sure, block off an hour and adjust this amount as you go forward.
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So, if you’re ready to start planning your week ahead, let’s get into the other points.
2. Goal actions
When you’re looking at a fairly empty weekly plan laid out in front of you. One of the first things you need to plan are your goal actions. And by this, I mean tasks that you need to do to get yourself closer to a goal.
If you haven’t got any goals that you’re working towards, then you might want to spend some time brainstorming in this area and thinking about things you’d like to improve on or work towards.
I typically have three big tasks that I try to get done each week. I call them my Big Three. And as far as it’s possible, I block off time for these in my weekly plan before adding other things.
Did you notice how I didn’t start with planning appointments and commitments before my goal actions? This was deliberate. And the reason for this is that our goals tend to have a higher priority than other recurring events or other people’s requests on our time.
Now, if there’s a recurring commitment in your calendar that you love and want to keep, then of course you can schedule your goal tasks around those events.
But what would happen if you prioritised spending time on achieving your goals for the week? How would that change your life? How would blocking off time to do a few tasks each week to get you closer to your goals affect your confidence, your happiness, or the lives of those around you?
Other people’s requests on your time may be more flexible than you think. Prioritise scheduling time to work on your goals each week and see how it drastically changes your life!
The next item to schedule is maintenance. This relates to those tasks that you need to do to keep things running smoothly. It’s likely that the majority of items in this bracket are chores. But it can also include tasks like budgeting and meal planning.
Whatever you need to do in your home and life to make sure things function and run well should be scheduled into your week. If you don’t, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed by these items that really need to get done, but which you forgot to make time for at the start of the week.
Because maintenance items are usually regular, you might find that completing several of these tasks during a morning or evening routine helps as it ensures that they get seen to at some point in the day.
Whenever you schedule maintenance tasks is up to you. Just be sure you’re taking them into account each week!
This might not seem like a must have item in your planning, but no man (or woman) is an island. Whether you live alone or have half a dozen kids, be intentional about investing in the relationships around you.
This may be a morbid thought, but no one ever lay on their deathbed thinking “I wish I did more laundry!”. When all is said and done, time and again, the biggest thing we’re likely to regret is not spending enough time with the people who mattered most to us.
If you’ve not been intentional about the relationships around you before, make this your ‘Ebenezer Scrooge moment’ and change that pattern before it’s too late. And don’t guilt yourself out about this either. Each new day is a new opportunity. So start investing in those relationships from today!
This last category is hugely important. Especially if you’re someone who works hard, puts other people first or doesn’t like to say ‘no’ to others. If that’s you, chances are, you don’t give yourself enough time to recover.
Schedule rest and rejuvenation into your week. Whatever that looks like for you, make a point of setting aside time to do activities which recharge and refresh you.
If you don’t, you’ll end up exhausted, frustrated and burnt out. And who will that help? Precisely no one!
If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘happy wife, happy life’, then you’ll know that a miserable wife or mother just makes other people unhappy too. Your spouse, kids and friends would rather you were rested and refreshed so that they could benefit from your best self.
Running on empty results in you and I giving our loved ones a hollow shadow of ourselves. Don’t shortchange the people you love. Get rested, get refreshed and be the best version of you!
The 5 things you need to plan
Plan these five things into your week before you add anything else; review and planning time, goal actions, maintenance, connections and rest. When you plan your week this way, you’ll notice that you start making progress on your goals and that you’re more intentional with your relationships, tasks and self-care.
Once these foundational items are planned, you can then toy with the idea of adding #allthethings to your calendar. Chances are, you’ll more clearly see what’s really important and what’s not.
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