Growing up, each day is pretty well-scheduled out for you. School from morning til afternoon. After school sports or a job. Homework. Time for bed. Once you leave home for the first time, all that structure is gone; it is up to you to shape each day and get things done. It’s an open plain of freedom, and the way is so broad many young men get completely lost.
When we are away from home i.e., at work, the managing of time becomes pretty difficult every day. Things in our lives start falling between the cracks very quickly. And thus, soon we find ourselves struggling beneath an overwhelming pile of the obligatory to-do’s.
But things can turn around for us as soon as we develop this new habit of weekly planning. Stephen Covey’s (R.I.P.) “First Things First” acts as the catalyst for such change. You are to have your days planned to the minute! This way you get everything done.
The power of weekly planning lies in your perspective and control it serves for your life. Have birds-eye view at the maze of your work, and create a plan of what to do, and when to do it. The article below will allow you to manage the day-to-day tasks. It also helps you through the often-trivial tasks along with the long-term plans and goals. Now, it is time to have a view at your weekly calendar.
Establish Plan Day – Set aside an hour to Plan
Always pick a week’s day that you will use to establish your weekly plan. Weekend is a good time to do this. You can both review the previous week’s successes and failures. Now, look ahead to the following week.
Go and sit somewhere where you can be alone and away from all other distractions.
Do give about an hour on your chosen day to plan. The execution of a weekly plan session may take you longer initially. After a few times, you will see a pace that allows you to complete the task in about 45 minutes!
Set a Calendaring Tool
Choose a calendaring tool as per your own preference. There are a number of calendaring tools such as digital calendaring tools (like Outlook, iCalendar, or Google Calendar) or good old-fashioned pencil and paper tool.
Digital calendars: They make fast planning of re-occurring events. They can send friendly reminders to you through email or pop-up on smartphone’s screens a few moments before the planned event. It behaves like a personal assistant to you. You can also share calendars with others, trying to sync multiple schedules.
The bane of digital calendars, is that they are a pain when it comes to adding new events. Digital calendars also have another downside which is common to all digital tools i.e. if device runs out of power, you cannot access your calendar.
Paper and pencil calendars: Here you do not have to worry about running out of power. Whenever you want to add any event, you can simply write it down immediately. We become more strategic while using our paper and pencil calendar. On the contrary, when we’re on our phones and computers we do not use our brains much.
But there are a few negative points of paper and pencil calendars. It really is a trouble if you lose your calendar. Now, you will have to recreate it from memory. You do not get any reminders about the upcoming events with this calendar. And also, you will have to write the re-occurring events every single week on a new weekly calendar.
Now, it is up to you. You can experiment with the different calendaring tools and then pick the one that you found comfortable.
Free-up your brain – Mind Dump
During the past week, your brain builds up a big long list of stuffs that need to be done. These pending responsibilities subtly eat up your willpower, causing you to feel stressed out and mentally fatigued.
Free-up some mental loads and get your brain running smooth by performing a mind dump. A mind dump is like: getting everything out of your head and onto paper (or computer/phone screen). You will feel your brain sighing with relief after you write down the pending stuff.
Review your Plans and different goals
Now, after the dumping your mind’s load on the gadget or paper it is time to review your plans and long-term goals. This step can help you keep all the “First things First” in mind as you plan your weekly calendar. If needed, re-evaluate your short-term to-do list keeping in mind the long-term goals. Amend your life plans and goals as well, according to new experiences and insights.
Past Week Review
Now, reflect on your previous week’s performance in your various roles. How was it? What were the successes and failures? Were you able to achieve the goals you had set for yourself? Could you have done things differently? Are there any tasks you need to follow-up on?
We recommend you to write down any such thoughts that come while you reflect on the previous week. Thus, by writing down your previous week’s observations, you create a record to look back to see improvement.
Plan your work and then work your plan – Set Weekly Goals
When creating your life plan, define and prioritize the different roles you fill as a being: husband/wife, father/mother, brother/son/sister/daughter, friend, writer, or business owner/employee, student, friend, roommate, etc. Every week create a goal that you want to accomplish within each role. So, as you saw away at your goals, the blade is going to become dull — take your time to sharpen it up. Thus, it is all about keeping yourself sharp in all aspects of life: mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Try to create the weekly goal for improvement in all of these above areas.
Try to block out time for other tasks
Take a proper look at the list of items you captured during you’re the Mind Dump. Now, block out time to accomplish these tasks. You can choose a system, go through and rate the tasks by importance with “A, B, C” or anything like that. Then schedule the ‘A’s first and so on.
Adjust and Review Weekly Plan on a daily basis
The best laid plans even need adjusting. So, review your calendar every evening and make adjustments as needed.
Repeat it again for the upcoming week and so on….
For continued success from your weekly plan sessions, you have to do them constantly. As you consistently plan out your week, you will find yourself with more motivation and also peace in your life.