Has this ever happened to you? 🙋♀️
You really wanna be more productive, so you head over to the very reliable tool that is Google and start looking up things like tips to avoid distraction, how to schedule your week, and productivity hacks.
And you even get a planner because you are really stinkin’ determined this time.
Then you write down a detailed to-do list and you begin checking everything off the first week. The next week you don’t quite as much done, but you still manage to check off quite a few things.
You do this for a few weeks, but before ya know it, you end up distracted, frustrated, and unproductive yet again.
Sound familiar? If it does, welcome to the club! Me too.
Before You Start Planning Your Week
I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how hard it can be to be (and stay) productive. So in today’s podcast episode, I’m gonna walk through some ways you can structure your week to meet your needs from one season to another.
But first, a couple things to remember:
- Our lives are constantly changing. The way you structure your week and use your time might be different from one season to another. You might be in a ramp-up season, trying to launch a new program or accomplish a big home project. The needs you have in those seasons are very different from the needs you have in a season of healing or caring for a newborn, for example.
- While you should aim to keep a few things as consistent as possible, remember to be grace-based. Aim to be consistent 80-85% of the time. You don’t want to become obsessive and perfectionistic, but you also don’t wanna be at the opposite end of the spectrum and say “Forget it, I’m not even going to try.”
CREATE CONSISTANT ROUTINES
When looking to structure your week and increase your productivity, there’s a few things that you should try to keep as consistent as possible.
- A morning routine. Forget about the cutesy Pinterest tips with the long lists of things you “should” be doing. If you’re trying to do all the things (run, shower, clean the kitchen, do a long devotion, etc.), you’re gonna burn out real quick. Instead, think of 2 things you can commit to doing consistently. (This doesn’t include the natural things you always do, like shower or brush your teeth). Maybe your 2 things are moving your body and reading your Bible. Or move your body and eat a healthy breakfast. Maybe you choose one thing that’s a physical activity and one that’s mental health-related. Whatever you choose, do them before you touch your device. And remember to be flexible and grace-based with it!
- A bedtime routine. This doesn’t have to be a long thing. I don’t do a face mask with cucumbers and take a long hot shower. For a while, I would do a short hot shower with music and then drink a cold glass of water to relax. Now my main thing is reading before bed for 10-15 minutes. Whatever it looks like for you, choose one thing to focus on. Then you can add a second thing later. And consider turning your phone off an hour before bed, so you don’t get distracted.
- A weekly power hour. This doesn’t have to take a whole hour. Just take some time on the weekend to sit down and map out your week. See what’s on your schedule, add anything you need to do, and plan some healthy meals. This doesn’t need to be super regimented. Think of it as an overview of your week. It’ll help you get prepared for the week, so things don’t fall through the cracks or stress you out by the time you get to Wednesday.
5 Ways to Plan a Productive Week
When it comes to actually structuring your week, there’s a few different ways you can plan and schedule out your week.
- OPTION 1: Use anchor times. Choose a handful of consistent anchor times (AKA periods of time that will anchor and ground your day, even when every day looks different). You’re essentially deciding that you’d do certain things each day of the week at the same time each day. For example, you’d decide when you wake up, eat lunch, eat dinner, work out, and go to bed. Maybe you’ll wake up every day at 7 am, eat lunch every day at 12, have dinner at 5, and go to bed at 10:30. You can set ranges and plan to wake up between 7:30 and 8. That way, when your alarm goes off at 7:45, you have some time to slowly wake up and get out of bed. You can also use this to set expectations for your family. You may decide that everyone eats dinner together between 5 and 6, so no one plans anything at that time.
- OPTION 2: Use time blocking in your calendar. This is especially useful if you have different projects you’re working on. You may block off 9-11 am every day of the work week so you can focus on a specific project. You can even put your phone on airplane mode during that time, so you can really focus. Then you might block some time for lunch. And then you may block 2-4 pm for meetings, so your assistant knows to schedule appointments during that time bock. Maybe you’ll choose specific time blocks for correspondence work, like responding to emails. This will really allow you to communicate to others when you’re available and it allows you to batch work and do get some deep work done.
- OPTION 3: Pair option 1 and option 2 together for a hybrid approach. Start with your anchor times (when you wake up, lunch, dinner, workout, bedtime, etc.). If you’re working, you’ll then have two windows for work (one in the morning, between breakfast and lunch, and one in the afternoon, between lunch and the end of your work day/dinner) and then you’ll have another window for personal time. In between your anchor times, start blocking time for specific things, such as working on a specific project, having meetings, responding to emails, etc. Then block out time for your personal things, like date nights, yoga, or volunteering. Remember to leave some time open, which you can use for getting together with friends or whatever else you wanna do that week.
- OPTION 4: Use a goal-based, or priority-based, approach. Think of your tasks as rocks, pebbles, and sand, and look at your life as a jar. You want to fill it with as many rocks as possible first. Then you can add in pebbles. Then fill any leftover gaps in with sand. That’s how you view your priorities. The rocks are the most important things like your relationships. The pebbles are secondary, like work and school. And the sand is what’s left, like things you own. When scheduling your week, you can also think of it in this way: rocks are the most important things (i.e. relationship building, and maybe a certain project at work, like launching a new product). Pebbles are smaller goals or projects – things that reoccur, that you can’t get out of (i.e. meetings, weekly work tasks that must be done, etc). Sand are the smaller, tedious time-consuming tasks (i.e. emails and social media). First identify your rocks (both work and professional) and block out time for those. They get precedent (and they can change from season to season. Then schedule in the pebbles. Add in meetings, or recurring tasks. Last, do the sand. Schedule specific time for answering emails, checking social media, or doing laundry, so those things don’t distract you from the more important things. Just imagine – what would your day look like if you only checked your email and social media at 11 am and 4 pm?
- OPTION 5: Use a blend of everything. Set anchor times first. Then consider your rocks, pebbles, and sand. Once you know those, block out time for each using time blocking.
LEARN MORE Ways to Plan a Productive Week
Remember that this can vary from week to week, based on what you need. Some weeks you may really need to set aside time for deep work, so you can get an upcoming project done. Other weeks may be lighter. Choose what works for you each week.
Wanna learn more? Tune into the podcast episode to learn:
- What it means to take a grace-based approach to productivity
- How to create consistent routines for better health and productivity
- Ways you can schedule your week to get the most out of it
- How to adjust your schedule based on the season you’re in
If you wanna really dig into this and learn how to create a calendar system and how to plan weekly meals that will nourish your body, check out my free Own Your Everyday Way course. I’ll show you how to choose your anchor times strategically, build it into a calendar digitally, and prepare a week of healthy meals (without having to meal prep!). Get free access to the course here.