My husband and I just got back from a glorious two-week vacation. It was the first time we have ever taken two weeks off in a row. What?! To say it was difficult to get back into a routine is an understatement. I did not blog for two weeks, I did not think about my day job for two weeks, we did the minimum to keep the house running. It was wonderful. Then reality set in and we needed to get back into some sort of routine. It’s harder than it sounds and I bet you have been there too. I strive to have a productive week and getting back into a routine is key for me. I am going to share with you exactly what I do ahead of time to have a productive week ahead.
The key to a productive week is to schedule your priorities.
Sunday Prep Work
Sunday is a day of rest but it is also the perfect day to set myself up for success for the following week. The first thing I do on a Sunday is meal plan and grocery shop. I like to get into the store and out before 10 a.m. if possible. The groceries are then put away and I am ready to tackle some chores and spend the afternoon relaxing. Sunday is a great day to do laundry and planning what you’ll wear for the week ahead. I try to do as much as possible on Sunday to make the rest of the week go smoother.
Use a Planner for Your Tasks and To-Do List
I tend to look at my planner for the week to see what is on my horizon. My husband and I use Google Calendar to keep track of our work schedules and any appointments. I then use this information to plan out what I want to accomplish during the week. I write my list of weekly goals and move on. Writing down my goals helps me to have a more productive week. As the week progresses I will check on these weekly goals to make sure things are getting checked off. I am not a fan of planning my whole week in advance because I know things will come up and plans often change. I like the flexibility of knowing I can my to-do list tasks around as long as they all get completed.
While I love using Google My Google Calendar for appointments I also like having a physical planner to write my to-do list and notes in. The Erin Condren LifePlanner is a great option for a high-quality planner. I have used a LifePlanner in the past and it was a savior. (I will be using the Emily Ley Dapperdesk in 2019 along with a few Erin Condren products).
Eat The Frog
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Have you ever heard that quote by Mark Twain? It’s basically telling us to do the hard thing first. What is the one thing you hate doing every day whether it be at home or your day job? If you finish your hard task first you’ll feel accomplishment and be ready to tackle the next thing on your list.
While I love blogging and doing all of the online business stuff, I actually dread sitting down to write the blog post. If writing is on my agenda for the day it is the first thing I do for the blog. Once the post is complete I am much more motivated to continue on with the other tasks that may be more enjoyable. I always eat the frog first when I want to have a day and even a productive week!
Know When You Work Best
We all have a time of day that we are most productive. You need to figure out your sweet spot both at home and at your day job. Maybe you do your best work at home in the early morning hours before heading off for the day. Make it a priority to get up a bit early to complete your to-do list. This will be one less thing you have to do at night when you are dreading it the most. On the other hand, maybe you are a night owl and are more productive at night. Sleep a bit later and tackle your to-do list at night. It’s all personal preference. You may have to try a few different scenarios to see what works for you and when you are the most productive. When you do figure it out you’ll notice how much more you are getting done!
The power of saying no. It is hard to say no when people ask you for help or they ask you to join them for an activity. However, you need to remember what your priorities were for the week. If something doesn’t align with your priorities and what your goals are it is okay to say no. You need to prioritize yourself first to have a productive week.
Share Your Plans with Others
Tell your significant other what your plans and goals are for the week or let your best friend know. They can help keep you accountable. Accountability is key to accomplishing those bigger goals. This will work in your day job as well. If you are working on a project let a colleague know what your plans are for this week. You’ll be able to check in periodically to ensure you are making the progress needed throughout the week.
Automate and Outsource
Automation and outsourcing may feel like cheating, but you are really doing yourself a favor. One of the best things I have done recently to automate my life is put all of our household bills on bill pay. Now, I don’t need to worry if the mortgage is going to get paid. They take it automatically! Automation can be used in the workplace as well by having someone else take care of your emails, scheduling appointments, scanning documents, backing up documents etc.
You can also outsource tasks at home. You can have someone mow your lawn. A housekeeper can come on a predetermined schedule to help keep your home tidy. You can have someone clean your pool. The chores around the house are endless and if you have the budget to do so you can outsource these tasks.
Know Your Distractions
By knowing what your distractions are you’ll be able to turn them off to focus. EMail is a huge distraction for most especially in the workplace. Schedule a time to actually check your e-mail. Make it after you’ve completed your frog task for the day so you don’t end up chasing a new task. By turning off your distractions or working to eliminate them all together you’ll be able to be more productive. Without these distractions, we are giving the task at hand our undivided attention.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Progress is one of the reasons I love having a physical planner. I can easily look back through the week and see all of the things that were checked off. I can see what tasks I had to move around and what just didn’t get done. It’s a great way to see how productive you have been and where you can improve the following week. Maybe you need to take a task off your plate altogether because it’s not getting done every week. That’s okay. Find someone that will be able to complete it for you and continue to plan based on your priorities. Progress is the true indication of having a productive week.
Make things happen!
How do you have a productive week? Let me know in the comments below!
I love when I feel successful at the end of the week and my to-do list is all checked off, both at work and at home. By prioritizing my goals and my schedule I can get more done. I have learned to say no and I have learned when I get my best work done. It makes doing those tasks so much easier and helps to keep me on track. Planning for your week whether you use a paper planner or a digital planner will also help you stay on track. Progress over perfection is my motto each week!