How can you stay focused on the important things when there are only so many hours in the day to divide among meetings, events, and work deliverables, as well as other things? How do you even get anything done? It all comes down to careful consideration and thoughtful planning. If creating and sticking to a weekly calendar schedule is something of a challenge, we’re here to help.
Weekly time management can be tricky, even with emergencies and last-minute events factored in, but it’s not altogether impossible. If structure is missing and you need help organizing weekly calendars, you’ve landed on the right article. Here we have weekly planning tips that have proven to be helpful in getting you started.
This activity is best done as the current week is ending and before a new one begins. A brain dump is disposing of all the contents of your mind onto a piece of paper. Sit down with a pen and notebook and do something that’s called a mind sweep or brain dump. It’s simple to do: it aims to get everything out of your head and clear your mind for the brand-new week ahead.
All you need to do when doing a brain dump is to write everything down, and by everything, we mean EVERYTHING. Write down your stressors, anxieties, thoughts on current events, viewpoints on everything that’s happening around you, your hopes for the coming week, inspirations – absolutely everything.
The benefits of doing regular brain dumps are:
You have one place to store your thoughts or ideas
Helps you remember things that may prove to be important
Gives you a chance to weigh Revolutionize
Clears your brain’s cache
Improves your recall
Makes planning so much easier
Set aside some time on your Sunday to do this each week. Once you’re done, it will feel like your brain is a clean slate, and you can start fresh with the new week, ready to accomplish new things and revolutionize your weekly calendar schedule.
We all need a starting point, and there’s no better way than with goals. You can only get energized and motivated enough to run for the end of the rainbow if you can visualize the pot of gold waiting there, right? Kick off every week with a set of goals – anything that you wish to get done during the week. Write them down and use that list as your springboard to get the rest of your weekly calendar schedule completed.
These goals can vary from week to week, like those that are purely professional or work-related. Some of these goals, however, can also be tied to bigger ones like your monthly or yearly goals. For example, you want to save money by year’s end. You will then schedule a time for setting aside money for your savings every time you get your paycheck. Then, you can evaluate your running total to gauge if you will be able to reach your goal total by the end of the year. Review these from time to time so you can schedule one task after another until the bigger goal is achieved.
2. Knock off the big things first
Put the major things first, be it a project, task, event, or phone call; whatever it is, if you know it’s going to take more time and effort, schedule it at the top of the week or the start of your day. Once you’re done with it, you’re going to be faced with more time left over, and you’re going to feel more accomplished.
Setting aside the major things or putting them off for later is when procrastination begins, and procrastination will kill your chances of creating an effective weekly schedule. Slaying the dragon, so to speak, gives you the freedom to enjoy the spoils of your victory. Your calendar is all of a sudden lighter, and, if you notice, your mind will be less stressed but more motivated.
3. Set your priorities as part of your weekly planner organization
We all have a million little things that need to get done week after week. However, if you lump all of them in one list, you will never manage to get a single thing done because determining what should take precedence. Classify your tasks based on importance, the amount of time it would take, and the weight of the effort needed. It may also help to ask yourself these questions:
How time-sensitive is it?
Does it need to get done now or sooner than the others?
Is there a follow-through needed?
Does this task repeat regularly?
We recommend these methods that you can utilize to help you with this exercise, and they are:
Eisenhower Matrix – Organize tasks by urgency and importance. With this tool, you’ll divide tasks into four boxes based on those you’ll be doing first (important and urgent), scheduling for later (important and not urgent), delegating (not important and urgent), and deleting (not important and not urgent - like distractions and unnecessary tasks).
ABCDE Method – This is another way of organizing tasks based on importance, and it’s simple to do. You will use the first five letters of the alphabet to get organized, with A being the highest priority, B being the medium priority tasks, C for the lowest, D for tasks that you can delegate, and E for Eliminate or tasks that you can disregard or remove from your to-do list.
Set your priorities after completing your brain dump to get a clear perspective of the essential things you need to get done during the week. You will be able to see the bigger picture and pick out the bigger things and get them done first before finally moving on to the next.
There’s no sense in even reading up on or taking note of time management tips and crafting a weekly calendar schedule if you will only be rushing from one task to another. Give yourself enough time to complete a task, check your output, and recheck before actually tagging it as done. Hurrying through jobs can only multiply your chances for errors, and then you will be faced with missed deadlines and work pile-up.
If you want to make the most out of weekly agenda optimization, factor in the amount of time each task might require and mark that time block. This way, you’re not just chasing after a deadline, but you also have enough time to review what you’ve done so far and what still needs doing.
Even the richest, most hardworking people in the world require rest. It’s the only way to recharge our energies and recalibrate our brains to enable our bodies to function properly. As much as we would like to, we can’t just keep working and working. Otherwise, we will suffer burnout, and our bodies will begin to break down under the pressure of working constantly without taking breaks.
One of the productivity hacks that you can employ is the Pomodoro method, wherein you focus on work for 25-minute blocks of time, and take a 5-minute break once the 25 minutes are up. Then, you repeat the process 3 more times until taking a longer break of 30 minutes before restarting the process. Some people stretch the 25 minutes to 45 and take a break for the last quarter of the hour before restarting.
Sweeten the deal and set aside one weekend of each month for an actual break to spend a weekend away. It can be as simple as a little trip out of town to go hiking or visit friends or spend time at the beach. Instead of traveling, you can spend that weekend just reading or sleeping in, basically anything that has nothing to do with work and everything to do with what brings you joy and makes you feel refreshed.
Schedule meetings and appointments in a few clicks. Find the right time for meeting with people outside your company by sending them a link to open slots in your calendar.
We can plan all we want, but things will always happen to throw a wrench and derail our personal scheduling techniques. Factor in emergencies, last-minute changes to your schedule, and other surprises. Leave a little wiggle room in your schedule for emergencies and other unplanned events. Doing so will not only teach you to be flexible, but you’ll also be saving yourself a lot of hassle by choosing not to sweat the small stuff, in a way.
Someone could get sick, or your train on the way to work can break down, pushing everything else back. If you don’t expect the unexpected as part of your weekly time management practices, you might find yourself buckling under the stress. One of the best time management tips is to leave at least an hour free for emergencies. Thus, giving yourself enough room to adjust your tasks accordingly.
We all want to come across as hardworking, all-achieving bosses, but the fact of the matter is hustle culture is not good for anybody in the long run. If you overload yourself when you’re organizing your weekly calendar, you’ll find yourself burnt out, depressed, and unmotivated, among other things. Overloading yourself with work can also lead to health woes. That’s why keeping a close eye on what you subject yourself to work-wise is key.
Remember setting priorities? Add “setting boundaries” to the mix for an effective weekly schedule. If you can put something off or assign it to someone else, go ahead and do so. Learn to say “No, thank you”. Cluster similar tasks together and get them done in a single time block or spread tasks evenly throughout the week so you’re not left with awkward gaps in your calendar.
You’ve worked so hard, rocked the week, and crossed out all of the tasks in your weekly calendar schedule. Yay! Hurray, you! Now, go out and celebrate. You don't have to party wildly. The idea is to reward yourself. From weekly planner organization to execution, you deserve a pat on the back or a box of chocolates, at least, to savor the moment.
Now, everything cannot always go according to plan, and try as we might, we can’t win them all. There are bound to be some losses or failures in your weekly calendar schedule, and that’s okay. There’s time to bounce back another day or next week. Review the ending week and take note of your areas for improvement. When you sit down to begin organizing your weekly schedule, apply your plan of action to recover.
Use tools to your advantage
Instead of relying on wall or desk calendars, download a calendar app that you can sync across multiple devices at once to save yourself some time and effort in updating and moving things around when you need to. You can also take it one step further by using scheduling software that allows you to incorporate your personal weekly calendar schedule with your work one, giving you a more holistic view of a week in your life. This works best if you’re delegating tasks to your team and overseeing the progress.
Timers can also come in handy, especially if you’re blocking off specific chunks of time for a particular task or if you want to be more disciplined when it comes to how you use your time.
When it’s time to work, make sure that you’re working. Put your mobile devices on silent, put them away facedown, and buckle down to finish your scheduled tasks. There are even mobile phone lock boxes that you can use to truly keep your mind off of your phone and on the task at hand.
Before you even start working, set up your workspace to have everything you will need within your grasp, cutting down the number of times you will need to stand up and step away from what you’re working on.
Keep a pen and paper near at all times
Inspiration can strike at any moment, and you need to be ready to seize it when it comes. Keeping a pen and notebook near you at all times is a good way of making sure no idea or catalyzer slips by. After all, one can never know when an errant thought can indeed prove to be useful or essential.
If you find your thoughts drifting or your mind wandering elsewhere while you’re working on something, write it down, whatever the thought may be. Once you’re done with work, you can review your notes and decide then what to do with each item.
We all get tired from working (and working too much for some), putting in the effort, and being responsible adults, but tasks are a part of everyday life. Organizing a weekly calendar not only gets you closer to your life goals and dreams but teaches you to set boundaries as well as priorities. Work-life balance is also more possible with consistent weekly calendar schedule plotting.
Doing this regularly lessens not only the stressors but the anxieties as well. Simply seeing your tasks spaced out properly over seven days gives you direction, inspiration, and drive. Weekly planner organization also allows you to envision a future where you’re motivated, happy, and accomplished because you’re getting things done, and setting yourself up for success.
To create an effective weekly calendar schedule, start by prioritizing tasks, setting achievable goals, allocating time for each task, and including breaks and personal time. Build buffer time into your schedule for unexpected tasks or events, and avoid overloading your schedule to allow for adjustments when necessary.
You can use digital tools such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or Bitrix24, or opt for a physical planner or bullet journal.
Prioritize tasks by using a system like the Eisenhower Matrix or the ABCDE method to identify urgent and important tasks, and delegate or eliminate less important tasks.
Stay consistent with your weekly calendar schedule by developing a routine, reviewing your schedule daily, setting reminders or notifications, and adjusting your schedule as needed to accommodate changes and maintain balance.
You can improve your time management skills by setting specific goals, allocating time for each task, categorizing tasks based on importance, and reviewing your schedule regularly to identify areas for improvement and maintaining productivity.
Incorporate work-life balance into your weekly calendar schedule by including personal time for hobbies, family, and self-care. You should also set boundaries between work and personal life to create a healthier balance.