How To Plan For The Week: 5 Tips To Maximize Productivity

Do you struggle to plan your week ahead of time? When you’re thinking about how to plan for the week, you want to set time aside to make it easier on your workload.

Ever find yourself getting behind or losing track of your priorities? If you’re going to stay on top of your work, planning out your weekly schedule is key to long-term success.

UPDATED: MARCH 13, 2023

  1. Planning For The Week Ahead
  2. Set Aside A Half-Hour To Prepare For The New Week
  3. Check Out The Calendar And Fill In Gaps In Between
  4. Take Care Of The Small Immediate Tasks
  5. Set Weekly Goals To Reach Long-Term Goals
  6. Set Break Times
How to plan for the week: This article lays out some best tips on planning your week ahead.

Planning for the week ahead

Whether you work in an office or at home, it’s great practice to plan for the week ahead. Knowing which times are better to do deep work is good to keep in mind.

For this reason, you know the best times you’re likely to stay focused. On the other hand, you can get an idea of when unexpected things might come up.

So it’s good to have that mental preparation in mind when things don’t always work out. If you’re working at home, distractions of any kind will be inevitable (Suitable for parents raising young children).

More so, that can lead to stress and loss of valuable time when unexpected things come up. It may apply more to working at home, but it can be in an office environment. For this post, I will go over some of the best tips to keep in mind when planning out your workweek.

Set aside a half-hour to prepare for the new week

At the beginning of each week, it’s a good idea to set aside time to plan it out. If your workweek starts on Monday, Sunday night would be a good time to do some planning. 

Whether it’s 15 or 30 minutes, that time set aside can be well spent on planning out your week. Ideally, writing out your goals and priorities in less than a half-hour will work out fine.

How to plan for the week: Setting aside a half-hour to plan out your week can help with planning.

When planning out your week, some things you can write out include:

  • What are the 3-5 priorities I need to get done this week?
  • What small tasks do I need to take care of immediately?
  • Do I have any free time that I can fill in to do other jobs?

What I do for planning

I’ve gotten in the habit of planning out my week ahead regularly. When I glance at a new week, I’ll write down my top priorities and then set aside time on the days I can get them done. 

Setting aside that time will make my week go much smoother. For me, priorities come first so that I can stay focused on my long-term goals. 

If I don’t prioritize when planning, I’ll end up getting distracted and getting less done. So I do the best I can to have a clear picture of my week ahead.

Check out the calendar and fill in gaps in between

Though it’s not required, having a calendar on hand can help keep things organized and straightforward. If you hold a schedule, you can always check what you have going on two days from now. 

It can be a physical calendar or a digital calendar you pull up on your smartphone. If there are gaps (free time) in your schedule, ask yourself what you can get done during those open time frames. 

My best practice: Time-blocking technique

One of the most common practices I follow is the time-blocking technique. You divide up your daily and weekly activities into what I refer to as time chunks. Each block dedicates to a specific task that you plan on completing in an hour or two-hour period. I usually use Gmail/Google calendar to insert my time chunks.

How to plan for the week: Using time-blocking is an effective method to planning your week. It's one of my personal favorites.
An example of my Google Calendar using Time-blocking

The aim of time blocking is to set aside time to work on your most important tasks. In the last few months, I’ve found this technique extremely helpful when I need to stay focused.

Even people such as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, use time blocking to go about his work schedule. So it’s a common technique to practice and make the most of your time. 

Take care of small immediate tasks

There always is an emphasis on placing priorities (and more significant tasks) first. I consider myself a firm believer in prioritizing my studies; however, you want to make sure you take care of the small jobs. As I mentioned earlier, if there are gaps you can fill in on your calendar, utilize that free time to get the little things out of the way. 

How to plan for the week: Starting with small, immediate tasks is one of the easiest ways to do after planning.

What I do: How do I complete a task in its purest form?

Whenever I’m pressed on time (or trying to fill in those gap periods), I do my best to keep things as simple as possible. 

So if it’s a small task such as creating a quick logo design or responding to an email, I can get that out of the way in a few minutes. 

But if it requires a more extended response, I’ll set aside more time in my calendar to make sure I do an excellent job.

But most importantly, I keep the idea of simplicity in mind to make things not so difficult. When it comes to natural, small tasks, it’s always good practice to get them out of the way and keep them simple.

Set weekly goals to reach long-term goals

Achieving your long-term goals can take time and feels intimidating at first. The good thing is that whatever your long-term goals are (personal/professional), they’re achievable if you work on the smaller ones first. 

So when planning out your week, set out weekly goals that you can quickly achieve. Not saying they should be easy, but attainable goals can help you reach your long-term goals. 

Some examples of these goals may include the following:

  • Long-term goal: I want a promotion to leadership/management positions at the company I work
  • Weekly goals: Take part in group discussions, be engaging and ask questions in the group meetings (portray yourself as a leader)
  • Long-term goal: I want to write 2-3 content posts for five days every week
  • Weekly goals: Learn simple processes of doing research, and understand how to write more efficiently in less time
  • Examples of long-term & weekly goals (Source: notimekillers.com)

    These are some examples that can help differentiate between weekly and long-term goals. Once you take action on the weekly goals, it’ll get easier over time to work on your long-term goals. It’s something I keep on doing each week, so that way, it’ll be easier for me to achieve my own long-term goals.

    Set break times

    Of course, you can’t forget to take breaks when needed. Some people tend to work longer and not take breaks. It’s hard at times when you’re concentrated for so long.

    Then all of a sudden, you went a few hours without taking a short break. It’s essential to give your mind a little rest and refresh before going into another work period.

    How to plan for the week: The best way to plan for the week is to take breaks to enjoy leisure time. It helps clear the mind.

    A relevant article from notimekillers.com

    Read next on “What Is Time Management In Business? 7 Top Takeaways“, to learn about the best takeaways to managing your time as an entrepreneur.

    Final Words

    Planning out your week ahead can help you stay on track at work. The tips mentioned earlier can help a lot. 

    When it comes to time-blocking, that can help organize and make your day go by smoother. That, by far, is one of my favorite tips that I’ve been using to plan out my weeks.

    Your Turn: What are you doing to plan out your weeks?

    I would like to hear your thoughts and feedback. Are you effective at planning out your week? Which of the tips would you use to help do your weekly planning? What are you struggling with at the moment?

    Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading them, and I’ll respond back promptly.

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    Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 
    
    He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 
    
    Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 
    
    “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 
    
    In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 
    
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    Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

    6 thoughts on “How To Plan For The Week: 5 Tips To Maximize Productivity”

    1. Hello there,

      There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that we all do indeed need this fantastic book! No matter what your age or your background, the information in that book can lead you in the right direction your whole life!

      I really like the chart that you created, it shows that you can plan on your computer on mobile phone easily and an check daily no matter where you are and really plan better and quicker – it doesn’t have to be complicated. Thanks for highlighting this and bringing to my attention:)

      Reply
      • Hi Farah,

        Creating a simple chart as demonstrated in this post can be really helpful in planning out your week. It’s meant to be easy to set up on a desktop or mobile device, and layout a simple approach to checking your schedule.

        Planning out your week should not have to be complicated. Hopefully, the tips presented earlier can help anyone be more efficient in doing their planning. You never know if it can make a difference, for sure.

        Thank you very much for your thoughts- it’s very much appreciated.

        Reply
    2. Time is a precious commodity that we all should value because once we lose it we cannot regain it that is why it is best to plan properly and use it time especially if we have goals to meet. Once we use our time in the right way we will be productive and accomplish much. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject that is so valuable.

      Reply
      • Hi Norman,

        As mentioned before, time is one of our most important assets. It can be used to your advantage, or maybe not. If not used properly, time can be your worst enemy.

        When we use our time wisely, then we may see changes in our lives. Doing it by planning out our week is one way to do it. It may look intimidating, but it’s simpler than you think.

        You made some excellent points, for sure. Thank you for sharing- much appreciated!

        Reply
    3. Hi Eric,

      Thanks for writing this post on how to manage our schedule and plan for the week. I personally use a calendar to mark down what I have to do throughout the day. Some of the stuff that I usually do is work, Doctor’s appointments, and Uber deliveries. My question is what type of online tools would you recommend using for planning your day? And how much time do you put aside for leisure activities? I heard of Google, Deputy, and  Trello just to name a few.

      Also, I might try out this block scheduling so I can have my to-do stuff straighten out.

      Thanks,

      Michael

      Reply
      • Hi Michael,

        Using a calendar is very effective in planning our day/week. Whether it’s for personal or business purposes, it can be useful.

        Regarding your question, I don’t have anything specific in mind. As I discussed in this post, using Google calendar is a simple tool to use. I love using Google calendar, and it’s something that I utilize a lot.

        Other tools such as Trello are great as well. I have yet to write individual reviews for these products, so I’ll look into that later on.

        When I set time for leisure activities, I’d say between 3-4 hours a day. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a good day. On not-so-good days when things are busy (or out of control), maybe an hour if you’re lucky. 

        Believe it or not, “busy” people may not get any leisure time in. We’re talking about if their schedule is filled up with work activities. So it all depends on an individual’s schedule.

        But for me, I try to get 2-3 hours in (I try to shoot for more), but I make progress in that case.

        These were excellent questions you brought up. I appreciate your curiosity for wanting to learn more about this topic. That’s always a good thing.

        Thanks again for sharing your insight- very much appreciated! I wish you the best in laying out your lists.

        Reply

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