Your Most Productive Week Ever!
Do you long for the elusive “productive week?” I do. And what I have found is that it can be achieved with some very simple steps. Follow these and you’ll see your productivity soar.
1. Get a Jumpstart. Plan your week early, either on Sunday or early Monday morning before you can be interrupted. To successfully get up early Monday morning, set a target bed time for Sunday. If you don’t plan, you might end up staying up late. If you’re reading this at work on Monday morning, instead of diving into your tasks, take the next 30-60 minutes to plan.
2. Weekly Review. The first thing to do is to review your inbox (physical and email), all your projects, goals, and all your to-do lists. Scan for items you need to get done this week. See “Resources” at the end of this article for guides on weekly review.
3. Choose Next Actions for Upcoming Week. Write down, type, or highlight the tasks you want to accomplish this week. Don’t worry about dates or priorities yet. Just choose the ones you think you need to get done this coming week and which you’ll have time to complete.
4. Assign Dates and Priorities. Schedule each of these tasks to a date and prioritize tasks for each day. You can use your calendar, to-do list, or whatever works for you. For this exercize I use a sheet of paper with M T W T F Sa Su written on it. I can either work off this list directly or enter them into electronic calendar or to-do list, whatever seems most appropriate. Success Tip: Only schedule 60% of your day. If you work 8 hours per day then only schedule approximately 5 hours worth of work. The rest of the time will be naturally taken up by interruptions, breaks, and unplanned tasks. The idea is to set yourself up for success. Experiment with scheduling the percentage of your day that works best for you. Be sure to take into account times estimates for each task. Be as realistic as possible.
5.Tasks that Don’t Fit into This Week Stay on the Shelf. Cross them off your weekly list and leave them on the list they came from. You’ll get to review them again next week.
6. Do. Work on your tasks. Remove distractions. Try not to multi task so you can be most effective. Identify and avoid time wasters such as checking email frequently. Check it only twice a day for efficiency. Each day conduct:
- Mid-Day Check-in on progress
- End of Day Review
- Plan Your Next Day – make any adjustments necessary to what you set out in your weekly planning.
7. Dealing with Setbacks. Analyze how they happen. If they come from procrastination then find a way to mentally align your tasks with the pleasure of accomplishment, and consider getting a “goal buddy.” If setbacks stem from interruptions and unplanned events, analyze whether there is some way to avoid these. If not, then you may simply need to set more realistic time expectations to avoid frustration. It’s helpful to realize that you’ll never cross off everything from your to-do list. That’s ok. Just make sure you take care of your highest priority tasksÂ first!
8. Celebrate a Little Each Day. At the end of a full day, do something that you enjoy and that rejuvenates you!
9. Dealing with Failure. If you feel like you’re failing, most likely the best thing you should do is get some rest if you are feeling down or tired. This could be a break, a nap, or a good night’s sleep. After resting, get your body moving with some exercise. This will get the blood pumping and give you the momentum needed to start anew. Approach failure rationally. Failure is an opportunity to learn. What can you change going forward? The past is gone. Learn from it and let it go. The future is yours to mine for gold!
10. The Mid-Week Start Over. If you’re having a bad or mediocre week, don’t wait until next week to start over. Start Today. Go to Step #1. Start Now!
Wishing you a super productive week!
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- GTD Workflow Chart – free if you register on David Allen’s website.
- Weekly Review Checklist – by 43 Folders
- Weekly Review Habit – by Lifehacker
- Cascading Next Actions by MarkTAW.com (this one is very helpful!)
- GTD Daily Guide PocketMod – free daily guide on using GTD
What do you hope to accomplish Today and This Week? All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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