How To Plan Your Workweek Effectively in 3 Steps

Entrepreneurs struggling to focus during the pandemic should be aware of the psychological factors … [+] that can hinder and help productivity Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Entrepreneurs steering their businesses through the pandemic may be finding work a welcome distraction. Yet, in troubled times, that evasive ‘flow state’–total absorption in work–might also seem further out of reach.

That’s because productivity is largely a psychological state and, for entrepreneurs, whose job descriptions are the opposite of set in stone, the freedom to choose what to work on can prove a hindrance to efficiency. That’s potentially a big problem for those leaders firefighting or pivoting because of Covid-19 and who are expected to make fast decisions.

But why? In a brilliant 2005 Ted Talk on The Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz explains that too much choice causes paralysis rather than liberation. “With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all,” he said.

Schwartz’s theory may help to explain why, psychologically speaking, we perform better with boundaries: planning, deadlines, someone to hold us accountable to meeting our goals. This even translates to more creative tasks: research published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that creativity was higher in individuals working under structured conditions.

But what else works for the majority in terms of boosting productivity? Read on to start 2021 as you mean to go on:

How to plan your workweek
  1. Make a checklist. To create your work plan, take a piece of paper and make a checklist noting every task you may have to complete during the upcoming week. …
  2. Review due dates. Thoroughly review your list and specify the due date for each task. …
  3. Schedule tasks for the week.

My realistic (super productive) step-by-step weekly planning routine

What are some benefits of planning your workweek?

Below are some potential benefits of planning your workweek:

Improves your work-life balance

Planning your workweek can enable you to schedule your work hours and leisure time. By planning your week in advance, you can decide how you spend your time away from work. Consider scheduling periodic breaks at work to talk a walk or complete another activity that keeps you refreshed. Taking time off and vacations may also help you stay refreshed. As a result, you might become significantly more focused and productive at work.

Allows you to control your time

Careful planning may allow you to better control your time during the workweek. This is because having a plan helps you know what tasks to do and when to do them. Try to plan your upcoming week based on your expected daily tasks and consider including an allowance for free time in your workweek plan. This allowance may enable you to make adjustments to your schedule and prioritize tasks that require more time to complete.

Increases productivity

Planning your workweek can help you prioritize tasks by importance and allocate adequate time to performing these tasks to produce successful results. Better productivity may allow you to complete tasks in the shortest time possible while maintaining work quality and your physical and mental well-being. Consistently reaching your weekly targets can showcase your dedication to your employer and might earn you a performance or merit bonus or a promotion.

Teaches you to prioritize

Prioritizing is the process of sorting or performing a collection of items, projects, events or tasks according to their relative importance. Planning ahead can also help you adapt better to newer tasks or appointments. When planning your weeks activities, you can consider what priorities are most important in your workweek.

Helps you stay motivated

Planning may also enable you to maintain your motivation and commitment. When youve established goals, you typically know your current progress and accomplishments and how to reach specific targets for the week. When your workweek is well-organized, it may make it easier for you to adhere to your routine. Planning your workweek can encourage you to achieve your objectives.

What is a work plan?

A work plan is a visual representation of your schedule that assists you in staying organized as you complete your tasks. It helps you meet your short-term targets, taking you closer to achieving your overall long-term work goals. A work plan can also help you divide your workweek into more manageable parts.

How to plan your workweek

Here are some essential steps on how to plan your workweek effectively:

1. Make a checklist

To create your work plan, take a piece of paper and make a checklist noting every task you may have to complete during the upcoming week. With this information, you have a better idea of what tasks to do and what day and time to complete them. You can also create a larger and all-inclusive checklist for expected upcoming tasks, which you may refer to every week as you plan.

2. Review due dates

Thoroughly review your list and specify the due date for each task. Consider ranking tasks according to importance, with more important tasks and those with shorter deadlines ranking higher on your priority list. Organizing your tasks by dates can help you remain aware of all your deadlines. For long-term projects that dont have an official deadline, you can set a personal deadline to ensure you complete them. You could also create a separate list for low-priority tasks.

3. Schedule tasks for the week

After assigning a deadline to each task, schedule them on your calendar. You can use a physical calendar to plan your week or use calendar software if you prefer to do this process digitally. For each activity, note the due date and the time required to complete it. Doing this can help you plan for any appointments and better ensure that you have enough time to complete everything on your checklist for each day. Consider scheduling free time as well to give you the flexibility to respond to any changes or updates during the week.

Tips for maintaining your weekly work schedule

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your workweek schedule:

Monitor your progress

Consider using a weekly checklist to show how much youve accomplished for a specific week. With a checklist, you can track your progress toward your personal and professional targets on a weekly basis. You can also monitor which actions contribute most to your success in the short, medium and long term.

Introduce incentives

Incentives are a simple and efficient mechanism for increasing motivation, as they reward and encourage high productivity levels. If youve had a productive and meaningful week, you can reward yourself with incentives such as a gift or treat. You could also make plans to spend the weekend with your colleagues or plan a recreational activity.

Reschedule older tasks

In busy weeks at the office, your manager could assign newer high-priority tasks to you and may require you to complete them immediately. In this kind of situation, you can reschedule the other tasks on your checklist for the next week. Rescheduling older tasks allows you to allocate adequate time to the newer tasks with sooner deadlines for optimal performance.

Evaluate the past week

At the end of the workweek, consider evaluating and reflecting on what you accomplished, whether its a list of targets, something significant you learned or an opportunity you were grateful to have. This reflection may encourage and motivate you to find areas where you can maintain your productivity levels. Thinking about the previous week can also allow you to consider areas where you couldve completed a task more efficiently. You can then develop a strategy for the following week, focusing on the areas you wish to improve.

FAQ

How do you effectively plan your work week?

How to plan your workweek
  1. Make a checklist. To create your work plan, take a piece of paper and make a checklist noting every task you may have to complete during the upcoming week. …
  2. Review due dates. Thoroughly review your list and specify the due date for each task. …
  3. Schedule tasks for the week.

How do I create a weekly work plan?

How to create a weekly work plan
  1. Step 1: Track your to-dos in one place. …
  2. Step 2: Assign deadlines for the tasks on your list. …
  3. Step 3: Prioritize your tasks effectively. …
  4. Step 4: Dedicate time every week for task organization. …
  5. Reflect on your work plan every week. …
  6. Balance your weekly workload.

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