Step 2: To-Do List Brain Dump
Tell me if you can relate: Sunday afternoon approaches and your mindset goes from easy-breasy to total Sunday scaries. You begin thinking about all there is to do during the week yet overwhelmed with where to start.
There are so many schedules to coordinate: work, family, personal appointments, errands, etc. And, if you’re like me… by the end of the week, you feel frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you hoped.
I certainly hope I’m not just speaking to myself. Well, I am proud to report that I was sick of feeling like that week after week so I decided to configure a little system to plan a productive week.
Here you have 6 simple steps to plan your most productive week…
Step 1: Make a List of Appointments + Meetings
I am old school and prefer a pen + paper for all I’m about to describe. However, I’ve also started using the notes section of my phone to make these lists because then I have them with me wherever I go
Grab all the school calendars, your work calendar, your personal planner, etc. and get a list of all the appointment + meetings you have going on this week.
I start with this because they’re what is in ink: they have dates + times attached; my other tasks can be completed around these items.
A brain dump is a regurgitation of all that is swirling around in your head.
Put on paper (or in your notes section) all that you want to get done this week. At this point, it doesn’t have to have any order or organization.
Step 3: Revisit your Larger Goal List
When I’m done with my brain dump to-do list, I revisit my monthly and/or yearly goals. These are usually big work projects that spark a smaller, action step I can add to my to-do list.
If you’re reading this, thinking “I don’t set monthly/yearly goals.” That’s okay… it’s never to late to start.
For me, these big goals help me dream big/have a greater vision. It also gives more purpose to my daily tasks. Even if it’s a monthly goal to organize my storage closet. I can complete small weekly tasks to help me get there.
Step 4: Star the Priorities
Now that you have everything in front of you, put stars by your priorities (or bold, color code, whatever your method is).
I’m going to give it to you straight – you probably won’t check off everything on your huge to do list.
However, if you get done what matters most, you’ll feel more productive!
When I began doing this, I starred just about every task on my list (all 100 of them haha). I’ve learned I cannot have more than 5-10 priorities each week.
Learning to prioritize is a skill, so you’ll get better with practice.
Step 5: Make a Detailed Day-to-Day Plan
Now is the time to strategize and plan.
I start with my appointments and meetings because those are the building blocks for my week. Then, I assign tasks based on what I predict I’ll have time for.
For example, one day last week, Beckham, my baby, had a doctor appointment at 8:30 AM. My other son, Leo had meet the teacher at 5:30 PM. I had 2 work calls mid-morning. I planned for that day to be one where I could do X, Y, and Z in the afternoon and not a lot of “home tasks” in the evening.
However, the following day was flexible, so I scheduled a lot more work tasks in the morning, planned to do household chores and errands in the afternoon and knew that evening, we could do something fun with the family.
I don’t need to plan out moment to moment but I do need to know Thur = busy with appointments, calls, meetings so less tasks but Friday = more tasks, more family adventure time. You know what I mean?
Step 6: Workout + Meal Plan
An important yet overlooked step. You know the quote: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Well, it’s clique but very true.
We are healthy, active individuals and part of our overall wellbeing comes from workouts and eating well.
When I look at my day-to-day plan for the week, I also pencil in when I will workout each day.
And, even more importantly, I pick a dinner to make each evening.
My goal is that I cook dinner each night. 9/10 times I stick to it and when not, I roll with the Plan B but I am much more likely to make healthy meals when I simply write down “BBQ Chicken Pizza” for dinner on Monday.
PS – that recipe is here, you’ll go crazy for it!
I hope this helps you plan a very productive week. I also find this helps reduce my anxiety because I have a rough game plan of what each day will look like. I make moves to put myself in the driver seat otherwise the day will take charge by default.
If you have any weekly planning tips, please comment them below! I would love suggestions.