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A Productivity Expert's Tips For How to Properly Plan Out Your Week

Manage priorities first

In order to have successful days at work and not only, make sure you keep track of your tasks. Furthermore, taking care first of the priorities should be on everybody's calendar.

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A Productivity Expert's Tips For How to Properly Plan Out Your Week

A Productivity Expert's Tips For How to Properly Plan Out Your Week

https://www.domino.com/content/how-to-plan-your-week/

domino.com

7

Key Ideas

Become more organized

In order to be successful and reach your goals, you need to be organized.

One first step in this direction refers to starting your day planning: choosing the agenda that works best for your can be a game changer.

Practice a lot

Acquiring organizational skills, as in getting better at planning, can take a while. While finding the appropriate agenda is essential, making a habit out of using it is just as important.

Plan important moments monthly

When preparing your schedule on a monthly basis, make sure to add not only the daily tasks and objectives, but also the big moments.

For instance, integrating your friends' birthdays can prove both useful and time saving for the future.

Establish a day for planning your schedule

Establishing a certain day, when you can sit and plan your next week can prove extremely useful.

For instance, choosing Friday to be that day, seems pretty clever, as this day marks both the end of a working week and, why not, the beginning of another one.

Manage priorities first

In order to have successful days at work and not only, make sure you keep track of your tasks. Furthermore, taking care first of the priorities should be on everybody's calendar.

Necessities are the real thing

Whenever you plan your schedule, write down whatever you need to do, but not everything you need to do.

There are tasks that do not required being noted down, as they have become part of a daily ritual and can not be forgotten.

Use colors to plan your agenda...or not

You choose how you want your planning to look like, therefore avoid trusting too much others' opinions, but rather choose to prioritize your own.

For instance, using color appeals to many individuals, but not to everybody. Just choose your own style and get started.

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Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

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Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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The junk drawer
The junk drawer

The "junk drawer" has become a universally acknowledged space where you store all the things that doesn't seem to have a place. It is not always a drawer - it could be a room,...

Discard before organizing

Don't think how you will organise items if you're still considering what to keep. You can only assess available storage space when you're done decluttering.

Sort and throw away first before you put back the stuff you've been collecting in your junk drawer.

Tidy by category, not location

Gather all the items of one category in one spot. You can only decide what to keep and what to discard if you know what you have and how much you have.

Categorization is important in the process of decluttering. The five main categories are clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous, mementos. Gather and assess all like items at the same time. If you have two junk drawers, tackle the objects in both spaces at the same time.

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Take Stock and Track Your Time

You can’t really clean up your schedule if you don’t know what’s in it—and that includes all the things on your literal and official calendar and all the things that aren’t. 

Purge Recurring Meetings and Tasks

Once you know what’s on your calendar, ask yourself: “What is the purpose of each thing on here? Are we accomplishing that or does something need to change?” 

Question each task. Start with recurring meetings, which can very easily build up and take over your calendar.

Sort Things By Importance and Urgency

... and put them in one of four quadrants:

  • Quadrant I: Important, Urgent (crises, last-minute meetings for important deadlines)
  • Quadrant II: Important, Not Urgent (strategic planning, long-term goal setting)
  • Quadrant III: Not Important, Urgent (certain emails, phone calls, meetings, and events)
  • Quadrant IV: Not Important, Not Urgent (scrolling mindlessly through social media, binge-watching TV you don’t really care about).

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Being “too nice” can cause you problems
Being “too nice” can cause you problems

You're asked to do something, and you feel you should say no. However, if you say no, you'll be resented, so you are tempted to say yes. If you say yes, you're going to be frustrated wi...

Saying NO without guilt
  • Notice how often people around you say no to each other every day. Also watch how others handle these situations.
  • When you feel pressured for a yes, ask for time. It will allow you to calm down and evaluate whether you really want to do it ( "I need to check my calendar; I'll get back to you"/ "I've got to think about that; I'll let you know.")
  • Saying no comfortably requires you to think what your values are. When you live by clear principles, it's easier to make decisions. People are more likely to respect your responses.
  • Keep telling them that you can't help them. Then stay on repeat, even if they bring new angles of reasoning.
  • When you want to help but can't commit to the specifics, make a counteroffer. You can offer someone a different resource or the name of someone else who might help.
Decluttering is not the same as organising
  • It’s impossible to declutter if you’re not organised: you don’t know if you have 10 versions of the same thing and you don’t know which one is the best of them.
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Intense focus

It happens only when:

  • You define your goals clearly 
  • You have the capacity to complete the tasks necessary to achieve them.
You can't blame technology

While endless scrolling on your phone is a symptom of the problem, it is not the root cause of why you find it hard to focus.

To learn how to focus, you must adopt new skills as well as understand the most common causes of distraction.

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Time Debt
Time Debt

The choices we make to ‘borrow’ our personal time to get work done works against us in the long run, just like the money borrowed from a credit card has to be paid back with interest in the future....

Track Your Time

You need to find out just where your time is going currently. You can use a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or an app to visualize where you spend most of the hours in your day.

Create A Time-Blocking Template
  • Block your time for specific types of work, not individual tasks.
  • Block your time for core work like coding, designing or writing, for shallow work like daily tasks and maintenance, for meetings and emails, and fill it with frequent breaks to replenish yourself.
  • Give yourself space between blocks so that you can decompress and keep your energy levels high.

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The urgency bias
The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.
Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

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The Importance of Scheduling

Scheduling is the art of planning your activities so that you can achieve your goals and priorities in the time you have available. It helps you:

  • Understand what you ca...
How to Schedule Your Time

Set a regular time to do your scheduling.

Decide on a scheduling tool to use to organize your time. You can use pen and paper or choose an app.

Identify Available Time

Start by establishing the time you want to make available for your work.

How much time you spend at work should reflect the design of your job and your personal goals in life.

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