“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.”
– Larry Winget
Most people live in mediocrity and they are not living with their full potential because they don’t plan.
Like what the motivational speaker and best-selling author, Larry Winget said, people become fat, lazy, and broke because they simply don’t have a plan.
This is what happens when you let your life be. When you ignore planning, you are living in reaction. You simply react to whatever that has come to you.
But when you plan, you become proactive. You make things happen rather than waiting for things to happen.
While it is true that we can’t predict the future and there is no guarantee that our plan will work, at least having a plan is much better than having no plan at all.
The old saying, “If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail,” is so true.
I believe that planning plays a vital role in our lives, especially if we want to achieve great success and make our dreams a reality.
This is because planning makes you live with intention.
Think about it, will you learn to play the piano if you don’t have the plan or the intention to do so? No, you won’t.
It is when you have the intention, you plan for it, and you commit to your plan, things become a reality.
This is why planning is extremely important when it comes to living a successful life.
You can’t just dream and think about the things that you want. You have to plan for it. You need to commit to it. And more important, you must work on it.
And today, I’m going to share with you the 10 golden tips on how to plan your week.
Now, planning doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the system, the more likely you are going to follow through your plan and make your week productive.
Thus, make it simple. You can even use a list-style to plan your weeks and days. You don’t need to use a high-tech system for planning.
As long as planning makes you more productive, it helps to get your work done and moves you towards your goals, you are doing it great.
So here are the 10 effective tips that may help you in planning your week.
1. Plan your week earlier
Plan your week before it starts. You don’t wait until it is Monday only to start planning.
Planning should be something that you do prior to the event, not when it happens. That’s planning.
Most people waited until when the week starts only then they rush into planning and feeling stressed. You don’t have to let this happens to you.
Start earlier. Plan ahead. Create your plan before the week starts.
You can plan your week on Sunday or earlier than that. Actually, I suggest you plan your week on Friday.
Since most people work until Friday, you can devote a few minutes in the Friday afternoon and plan for the following week.
This way, you can happily enjoy your weekend without guilt. You know that you have covered everything and you just need to follow the plan that you have planned on Friday. And so you can go through your weekend with fun.
Plus, you will never know what will come up on Sunday evening. So it is better to always plan earlier.
2. Write down everything you need to do
What you need to do when it comes to planning is to write down everything that you need to do for the coming week.
You can write it down on a piece of paper or on your computer.
The key is to get your mind flow with all the tasks you need to get done the following week.
Sometimes you may miss out one or two tasks, but that’s alright because when those tasks come to your mind, just record them down as soon.
One trick I always used to remind myself when an idea comes to me is that I will quickly draft a simple email and send it to myself.
This way, I will never forget the idea and I can always get back to it any time. It only takes me about a minute to do so.
Hence, when you do your planning, brainstorm, visualize, and see yourself going through the coming week. And then simply write down all the tasks you need to get done.
3. Be absolutely specific with your tasks
This is very important. Remember to make your tasks as specific as possible.
Don’t just write down “to go for jogging”, instead, write “go for jogging on Monday, 8AM for an hour”.
The more specific you are, the more likely you are going to remember the task and do it.
In an article shared by James Clear in his blog, researchers looked at a group of 3,272 employees at a Midwestern company in a flu shot study. The researchers found that the employees who wrote down the specific date and time they planned to take their flu shot were significantly more likely to follow through weeks later.
Therefore, don’t just write down things like, “I’m going to exercise”. Instead, be absolutely specific and write down, “I’m going to exercise for at least an hour on Tuesday in Gold’s gym at 3PM.”
Try to include the date, place, and the time when you want the specific task to happen.
4. Align your tasks with your goals
Always remember your goals and keep in mind of your dreams all the time.
One of the main reasons people always find themselves too busy and having not enough time is that they have lost themselves in work.
They forget their main objective and thought that planning is about getting things done. It is true that planning helps you get things done, but you must also make sure you get the RIGHT things done.
You don’t want to plan your week and get busy and by the end of the week, you feel exhausted but you’re not accomplishing anything.
You want to make sure your tasks are in alignment with your goals.
What you choose to do each day must be moving you toward your goals.
For example, if your ultimate aim is to build a profitable blog, what you do each week must be able to get you the result.
You don’t want to spend the entire week designing your blog or creating the perfect logo. The keyword here is profitable.
If you want to lose weight and you choose jogging as your task, make sure you run each day. Don’t spend too much time buying the perfect shoe or overspend your time on getting the best songs into your phone so you can enjoy while jogging.
Your objective is to lose weight through running, so just run. You get what I mean.
Thus, define your goal and then align your tasks to it.
Have no idea how to set goals and achieve them? Check out Goal Setting Formula, the guide that I created to help you discover what you truly want to achieve in life.
5. Time-block and schedule the most important tasks
Once you have identified your most important tasks and know what you need to do to reach your goals, time-block and schedule those tasks.
You can’t just wait for things to happen, you need to schedule them. Block out your time and make sure you do act according to your plan.
I publish at least 2 articles per week since I started this blog. So how do I become so consistent? Well, the secret is that I time-block my writing time.
Each morning, I write at the same time and at the same place, most of the time.
And when things come up, like when a friend asks me out for breakfast or etc, I will just say that I can’t. I make my writing time my priority.
I schedule my time around my writing, not the other round.
So block out your time for the tasks you have planned. If you do so, you will make sure you will follow the plan and get the work done.
6. Don’t forget to plan for buffer
If you have more than 10 items to do in a day, maybe, you are overestimating yourself.
Usually, I only have a few items on my to-do list, like 4 to 6 items. If you have too many tasks to do, you will never have the time to complete them.
This is because things will just happen and most of the time, you have no control over them.
Hence, make sure you plan for the buffer. Leave yourself some time to breathe after each task.
You don’t want to get yourself exhausted by the end of the day and the next, you find that you don’t have the energy to follow through your plan anymore.
Give priority to your most important tasks. And do not overestimate yourself.
7. Include breaks and fun time
Make sure that when you plan your week, you also include breaks and fun time. That’s the great thing about planning.
It doesn’t need to be all about work. You can plan to have some time off too.
For instance, my Friday is usually more relaxing than other days. I plan a lot of reading and learning on Friday than on other days.
And it is up to you how you want to plan your week. Just make sure you have some time to have fun and enjoy.
If your week is all work and no fun, you may feel dreaded when you look at your calendar.
You want to make your life something worth living. You want to live with passion. Mix your week with both work and play.
Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play can make you exhausted and tired.
8. Make use of a simple platform
When it comes to planning your week, there are many platforms you can use.
You can use a diary and write down all the things that you want to get done throughout the week.
A diary is a great system for planning. I recommend it personally because I’m using one.
Another way is to use your mobile phone. If you prefer to use your phone as the platform or device for task management, check out these Apps you can use from Hubspot:
Another great method is to use a calendar. You can use the Jerry Seinfeld Method to track and get your task done by taking a quick glance at your calendar.
Whatever platform or device you use, make sure that they are simple and suits you.
9. Your plan is not set in stone
What if things don’t happen according to your plan? Well, your plan is not set in stone. You just need to be flexible.
Sometimes, people don’t plan because they think that they can’t predict the future and a plan doesn’t work.
I disagree. I always believe that having a plan is much better than having no plan at all.
When things are not happening according to what you have expected, don’t worry, just amend your plan a little.
Having a plan reminds you of your intention and objective. Your plan is the lighthouse that points you to your destination.
Of course, the detour is normal. But with a clear direction, you can still get yourself back on track and move toward your goal.
So don’t panic when things don’t work out according to your plan. I love this quote:
“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Try plan B.”
10. Do a review by the end of the week
By the end of the week, make sure you do a review. It is important for you to know how your week has been and what you can do to make the following week better.
You can ask yourself 3 simple questions:
- “What went right?”
- “What went wrong?”
- “What did I learn and how can I do better the next week?”
Asking yourself these 3 questions allow you to understand your performance and what you can improve to do better in the future.
Here’s a tip, do your review for the week before you plan for the next.
If you plan your week every Sunday, spend a few more minutes to answer the 3 questions before you start your planning.
Never ever underestimate the power of planning, especially weekly. Whether you like it or not, having a plan is much better than having no plan at all. Success is no accident and it certainly doesn’t happen by chance.
You can achieve your goals and you can live your dreams. But first, you must plan for it.