When it comes to life, we tend to do everything with planning. Being humans it has been our mentality to run things according to our plans. From our childhood we are taught, only a person who knows how to plan things can actually succeed in life.
Planning anything and everything has always been beneficial. The people who strategize things well are more prone to succeed in life as compared to others.
I remember I had a client once. Her name was Angela. She was one of the brightest girls I had ever seen. Glorious in academics, medalled in sports, and a certified Kathak dancer.
As she was so perfect, I asked her what brought her to me. She very politely said, “ There are things that I have achieved, but there are things that are yet to achieve.”
As the session proceeded, we talked and tried to understand each other. At only the age of 21, she had made so many achievements.
Now, she felt like she had no purpose to fulfill. She thought she did everything in haste and that if she could have done things with a little more patience and planning, it could have been great for her.
At such a young age, she felt like she had nothing to do and nothing to achieve. It is what happens when we fail to plan things and work according to our plans in life. Many times we feel lost mid-way because of unplanned life.
I asked her what made her think this way. Was it because everything she kept on doing was unplanned?
To this, she said, “I just kept on doing things one after the other. I thought if I do things quickly, it’ll be great for me. I never felt the need to create a plan for myself.”
By that time, I already knew what was the problem that was eating her head, and what will be its solution.
She had never planned things. She exhausted herself by indulging in every activity at one time. Had she done activities with more patience and planning, her life would have been different.
I asked her to start planning what she needs to acquire or fulfill in a day. I asked her to create daily plans a night before for one week.
She visited me the next week. I asked her if she finds herself more productive now. She smiled and said, “ I did have so many things to do in a single day. I was not even realizing how much I was acquiring in a day.”
With this, she realized she has various purposes in life. Now I asked her to plan your week. She sat on Sunday and wrote whatever she will accomplish in the week ahead. After inculcating weekly plans, in the next session, she said, “ I have actually found my purpose in life.” She was so satisfied and glad that she found the hope she lost. Today, she has completed her masters and conducts dance classes for girls.
How did this happen?
While planning her days and week, she knew how much time to give to what activity. As she started planning her weeks, she started sparing out times for the things she wanted to do or liked to do. As she spent more and more time on the things she loved, she knew what she wanted for herself in the future.
You see, everything starts with planning. Planning your week is the first step towards productivity. Planning and fulfilling your planned things help you achieve many things in life.
Why do you need to plan your week?
As I have already said, having a plan is extremely good for your productivity and life. Still, at times we doubt how a strategy can help us or planning your week can benefit you. According to me, here I have collected the four most prominent reasons why you need a plan.
- Weekly planning boosts your productivity
When I say being productive, I do not mean staying busy or working throughout your day. A person is said to be productive if he or she makes the most of the day in the least time. In simple words, a person who completes all his tasks on time and saves time for himself and other activities is said to be productive. If you plan your week in advance, you will know what all you have to accomplish, how much time you have to spare for each task, and how much time you will have for yourself. You will focus only on the right things and focus your energy there.
- You’ll learn to say NO
One of the most arduous things to say in the world is ‘No’. Saying no to wrong habits, friends, socializing, or wasting time on the phone becomes very difficult for people these days. People do not avoid other activities because they are unaware of how much pending work they have. For example, you have to complete a presentation and prepare for a seminar for a meeting tomorrow. You decide to devote extra hours from your break to use for this work. However, your colleagues approach you and convince you to join them for lunch at a nearby restaurant. Since you have no plan and time constraints on yourself, you think you’ll finish your work later and decide to join them for lunch. You then had to spend all your night working on the presentation. Now you understand how planning could have helped you?
When you have a plan, and you know you have to acquire certain things within a given time frame, then you’ll learn to say ‘no’ whenever required.
- Weekly planning helps to keep a balance between work and life
The concept of planning is very simple. The more you work according to your plan, the more time you will have to yourself. If you accomplish your tasks on time, you will have more free time. Who doesn’t like free time? Lost amidst so many tasks, we hardly find time to take care of our mental health. If we have more free time, we will stress less. It will help us manage our mental health and productivity.
A work-life balance will be created by planning your week. You will have time to spend with your family. You may even indulge in your loved activities like cooking, dancing, or writing. It will help you balance your life.
- Planning your week will make you more aware
Many times in life, we are so deeply involved in work that we do not realize what is happening around us. It happens mostly when we keep on piling up work unless we are overloaded with it, and now we have no time to look around.
If you make a plan and work according to it, you’ll stay more aware and conscious of your surroundings. Multi-tasking will become more efficient. Being too busy, we miss out on a lot of small tasks. Getting the bigger fish remains our target, and because of it, so many smaller tasks remain untouched. If you plan your week, you will have leftover time. It is the time which you can utilize for the smaller tasks.
How to plan your week?
Even after knowing the need to create a plan, many people wonder how to schedule a week. Planning a week requires both patience and intellect. Planning your week is creating a layout or an outline of what you are going to do each day. You don’t have to create a very detailed plan however, it will be great if you can. Start with simple steps and action plans. Your plan should make you feel prepared for the entire week. Let us now learn how to create a plan for your week.
What do you need to create a plan?
- Blank notebook/ Journal/ Planner
- A calendar (probably weekly)
- Pens and stick-on.
How to schedule a week?
Follow these steps to create a weekly plan right away.
The first step in creating the plan for the week is to review your bigger plans. Yes! You first need to chalk down the major events of your week. It can include some important meetings, interviews, tests, or anything that you find crucial in your week. Review your monthly priorities and plans. Once you review all the big fishes, you can schedule them on the required dates. With only this step, a major chunk of your week will be assigned.
Make a list for your week. I always say lists are very crucial for anyone. They are very helpful and benefit you in many ways. In fact, you should first make a list of all the things you have to accomplish within the week. If you have a list of the things to be done, then you can simply assign the tasks from the list to your planner. Your list should not only include your professional works, but also household chores like grocery shopping or washing clothes. Also, you can rearrange events of a list whenever you wish.
The next step to planning your week is to prioritize your tasks. Prioritizing means figuring out the things that absolutely need to be done, and things that can be shifted. Highlight the tasks that are on your top priorities for the week. Let us be honest we all have a few extremely crucial tasks. Prioritizing things will give you the satisfaction of completing major tasks before. You can prioritize around 5-8 tasks a week.
Now that you have listed tasks and plans for the week. The next step is to decide the actions to be taken to complete these tasks. What is the importance of a strategy when the actions are not decided? Planning your actions along with your plan will help you boost productivity. You can think about action steps that will help you get your work completed.
Now, with everything in hand, from tasks, assignments, priorities, lists, and actions, it is time to create the final schedule. It is the most crucial step for you. Firstly, assign your prioritized tasks to the days you think are required for them. Assign each prioritized task from your list to a designated day.
Secondly, try to group similar tasks. For example, if you have to go grocery shopping and buy some electronics, instead of taking out time on two days, you can get ready and perform both the tasks on the same day. Grouping tasks is very beneficial as your brain doesn’t have to switch between different activities again and again.
If you have decided on a plan for yourself, it does not mean you cannot be flexible with your plan. Once your plan is ready, you can review and adjust your weekly plans. It does not mean your plan is not efficient. It simply means adjusting according to the changes around you. For example, you can be assigned a new work task at the office. It can be outside your plan now you cannot refuse to do so. In such situations, you can review and adjust your plans according to the present requirement. You can review your plan every evening, add new tasks, and remove old ones.
While deciding a plan for your week, make sure you add mindfulness or relaxing activities to it. The aim of making a plan is to give yourself some me-time. Each day spares some time for activities that you like. They can be reading, dancing, writing, or meditation, yoga, or exercises.
For each day of your week, make sure you assign one big task. One such task that requires time and effort should be assigned each day instead of grouping them on one day. It will help you stay focused and will get your important task done on time.
This task means getting the bigger fish. When the bigger and crucial tasks are done on time, you remain stress-free and satisfied for the rest of the day or week.
Create fulfilling routines
Fulfilling routines are the routines that make your life more rewarding. While planning your week, it becomes critical to create a routine that offers both personal care and rejuvenation work life. Think of ways in which you can make your life easier and more fulfilling. Incorporate activities in your routines that give you happiness.
If you have a family, then giving time to your kids or partner is very essential. Make sure in your weekly plans you include family nights, date nights, and movie nights for your family and loved ones. It is the most beautiful part of creating plans. It gives you the option of managing time in a way that suits you and makes your life easy to live.
What are the benefits of creating weekly plans?
Some life-changing benefits of planning your week are:
- You get a clear idea of how much work and effort you have to put in.
- You can prepare yourself if you know the week is going to be a busy one.
- You can create an action plan and decide a game plan for yourself.
- You’ll feel satisfied and productive throughout the week.
- It will improve your mental health in many ways.
- You’ll stay stress-free and will be able to manage your chores better.
- You get a track of all your responsibilities that are to be fulfilled.
- You learn to prioritize your work.
- One learns to focus and fulfill the important things only.
- You will get the reward of accomplishment, and there’s no other feeling better than that.
- You learn time-management. With each task, you can track the time you spend on it.
- You get time to do things that you really love. It brings out your creative side.
- You learn to work by breaking bigger tasks into smaller achievable goals.
- Multi-tasking becomes a habit with planning and scheduling tasks.
- You get to know yourself better, like where you spend more time.
- Helps to improve workflow tremendously.
If you start planning a day, soon it becomes a habit. Once you come to know how beneficial and satisfying it is, you will find it arduous to work without plans. To make the most of your week, you have to work on plans week after week. At times, you might wish to leave it all and do what your heart wants. However, these are your testing times.
You can take breaks from routines but only once a week. If you start taking your plans casually, you’ll be the one at loss. There’s no worse feeling than the guilt of not being able to fulfill one’s task on time. Planning your week is the first step towards a succeeding attitude.