It’s Friday, which means you’ve got a full week ahead of you. With school starting this Monday, it is time to plan out what the weeks will look like.
Planning your week to be productive is a good way to stay focused and on track. Here are some helpful tips for you to follow when planning your week.
This essay series is now available as a professionally designed, distraction-free paperback or ebook that you can read at your leisure while offline.
Each day as you get older is very well planned out for you. School is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. After school sports or a job are two options. Homework. It’s time to retire to your bed. All of that structure is gone once you leave home for the first time; it is up to you to shape each day and get things done. It’s a wide open plain of liberty, and the path is so wide that many young guys get utterly disoriented.
It happened to me as well. Managing my time was one of the things I battled with the most during my first few months away from home. Every day, I was very much flying by the seat of my trousers. Things in my life began to slide through the gaps rapidly, and I soon found myself buried behind an insurmountable mountain of must-dos and commitments.
Things began to improve for me after I established a new habit: weekly planning. The shift was sparked by Stephen Covey’s (R.I.P.) book First Things First. My weekly planning meetings became even more important when I started law school. Because of the demands of my legal studies, as well as my work on the law review and the Art of Manliness, I had to schedule my days down to the minute in order to get everything done.
The value of weekly planning resides in the perspective and control it gives you over your life; rather of floating along, you get a bird’s-eye view of the labyrinth below and use your newfound freedom to do, be, and go wherever you choose. It enables you to balance day-to-day, often insignificant duties with long-term ambitions and objectives. Consider your weekly schedule to be an Attack Plan for Life: it’s where you plan the tactics and logistics for bringing your long-term goal to life.
I’ll explain how I go about doing my Weekly Attack Plan sessions down below. It’s a mash-up of Stephen Covey and David Allen’s time and task management theories. I’m not saying it’s the greatest way to schedule your week, but it’s what I’ve found to work for me. Perhaps it will work for you as well, or at the very least inspire you to devise your own approach.
View the Video
Set aside an hour on the day of your attack plan to plan.
Choose a day to start creating your Weekly Attack Plan. It’s a good idea to do it on the weekend since it enables you to reflect on the previous week’s triumphs and shortcomings as well as plan for the next week. On Sunday, I do my. Some people I know do theirs on Friday. Choose the day that works best for you.
Set aside an hour on the day you’ve selected for planning. It’s acceptable if it takes a little longer the first few times you run a Weekly Attack Plan session. After a time, you’ll get into a rhythm and be able to do it in approximately 45 minutes.
Go someplace where you can be alone and unaffected by outside influences. On Sunday evenings at our home office, I prefer to perform my weekly planning sessions. I used to go to a quiet nook of the Student Union while I was in college.
Select a Calendaring App
Everyone has their own preferences for calendaring software. Some individuals like to plan using digital calendaring tools like iCalendar, Outlook, or Google Calendar, while others prefer to plan with a pencil and paper.
Each format has advantages and disadvantages. Recurring events are easy to schedule with digital calendars. They can also send you polite reminders through email or as a pop-up on your smartphone screen a few minutes before the event. It’s like having your own personal assistant. Many digital calendars also enable you to share calendars with others, which may help you keep numerous schedules in sync.
In my experience, the negative of digital calendars is that they’re a headache to add new events to, particularly on your smartphone’s small keyboard. You must enter in the event, choose a time, and pick whether or not you want a reminder. Moving items around once you’ve established an event is simple – simply point and click. Voice recognition software, such as Apple’s Siri, is helping to solve this issue, however Siri sometimes messes up my schedule. Digital calendars, like other digital products, have a drawback: you can’t access your calendar if your gadget runs out of battery.
You don’t have to worry about running out of power with paper and pencil calendars. You can scrawl down a new event in seconds if you want to. There’s also something about the tactile element of pencil and paper brainstorming that gets your strategic juices flowing. And, since we spend so much time on our phones and computers these days, it’s wonderful to take a break from them with something new. However, there are a few drawbacks to using a paper and pencil calendar. You’re doomed if you lose your calendar. When you lose a pencil and paper calendar, you’ll have to recreate it from memory, unlike digital calendars that live forever in the “Cloud.” With an analog calendar, you don’t receive any email notifications about impending events. If you have recurring events, you’ll have to put them down on a new weekly calendar every week.
I used to use a pencil and paper planner, but this year I moved to digital calendaring. Everything is synchronized across all of my devices, which I like. Experiment with the many calendaring tools available and choose the one that is most convenient for you. If you’re searching for a solid weekly calendar to use with a pencil and paper, you may download the one I made for myself in law school.
To free up mental RAM, do a Mind Dump.
During the week, our thoughts accumulate a massive to-do list: call mom, do the laundry, answer to your backlog of emails, study, and so on. The trouble with these stray threads clinging to our craniums is that they slowly eat away at our willpower, leaving us frustrated and mentally exhausted.
These uncompleted mental activities are similar to applications that are running on your computer but aren’t being used. We’ve all experienced those times when we’re working on our computer and the fan is blaring and everything takes an eternity to load. You check the Activity Monitor and discover that a slew of useless programs are eating a ridiculous amount of memory, causing your World of Warcraft raid to grind to a standstill. Unfinished chores suck up willpower and slow down your brain in the same way that unused computer applications take up valuable RAM and slow down your machine.
By doing a mind dump, you may free up some mental RAM and have your brain firing on all cylinders once again. A mind dump is exactly what it sounds like: you write down anything that comes to mind (or computer screen). As you put down the information that your brain has been struggling to recall, you can almost feel it exhale a sigh of relief.
For a mind dump, use whichever tool you’re most comfortable with. It makes no difference. To document their mind dump, I know many folks who use a notepad and pen and others who utilize digital applications like OmniFocus, Things, Nozbe, or Evernote (I use Things). The most essential thing is that you have somewhere to vent your thoughts.
Simply start writing or typing all the jobs, thoughts, and responsibilities that have been dragging you down throughout the past week after you’ve decided on a capture tool. Check out this “trigger” list from David Allen’s Getting Things Done if you need some guidance on the sorts of open loops you could have running in your mind. It’s like to taking a laxative for your mind. Simply move down the list and write down any undone activities that come to mind as you go.
Items from our mind dump will be scheduled later.
Examine your life plan and objectives.
It’s time to examine our life plan and long-term objectives now that we’ve detoxed our minds and freed up some mental RAM. This step will help you remember “first things first” as you arrange your week and remain on track with your long-term objectives. Sure, you may have achieved your short-term objectives, but what good are they if they cause you to lose sight of your long-term objectives? Reevaluate your short-term to-do list in light of your long-term objectives if necessary. As fresh experiences and insights shape your image of where you want to go in the future, you may need to adjust your life plan and objectives as well.
Do you lack a life plan or objectives? Now is the time to start making them. Check out our in-depth guide on making a life plan to learn more.
Review the Week Before
Consider how you performed in your many duties as a man throughout the preceding week. How did it turn out? Have you met the objectives you set for yourself? What were your triumphs and setbacks? What might you have done differently? Do you have any tasks or things that need to be followed up on? I propose keeping a notebook to write down any ideas that occur to you during your reflection on the preceding week. For starters, writing allows you to make your ideas more clear and well-thought-out. Second, by writing down your observations from the previous week, you build a record that you may use to assess whether you’re becoming better.
Set Weekly Objectives
I begin defining objectives for the next week after reviewing the previous one. I utilize Stephen Covey’s role-based goal-setting technique, but you can use whichever way works best for you.
The role-based goal-setting technique works as follows. I identified and prioritized the several roles I play as a man when I made my life plan: spouse, parent, brother/son, friend, writer, and company owner. You might play a student, a buddy, a roommate, or a boyfriend, for example. Every week, I set a target for each position that I aim to achieve. As an example, a goal for my job as a spouse would be to send Kate a love note or take her out on a date; a goal for my role as a writer might be to go to the library and read a book about enhancing my writing.
I also use Covey’s suggestion of setting weekly “Sharpening the Saw” objectives. The blade will get dull as you saw away at your ambitions; you must take the time to sharpen it. As a result, the Sharpening the Saw objectives are all about being sharp in all areas of your life: physically, cognitively, socially/emotionally, and spiritually. In each of those four categories, I attempt to set a weekly target for progress. A weekly physical goal could be to bench press x pounds; a mental goal might be to read a book or listen to a lecture on your way to work; a social goal would be to send a letter to a college friend; and a spiritual goal might be to meditate for 15 minutes every day.
With recurring time blocks, you can lay the groundwork for success.
After I’ve decided on my objectives for the week, I write them down in my calendar. I start by scheduling time for my Sharpening the Saw objectives in my weekly agenda. These are modest, easy activities that keep me focused throughout the week, regardless of the craziness. So I’ve set aside time for exercise, reading, prayer, and meditation. Weekly and daily planning is a vital component of keeping your saw sharp, so I schedule time for it as well. I approach these occasions as if they were doctor’s appointments; I don’t book anything else during these times and only depart from them in an emergency. I’ve set out time for these tasks every day of the week, and I’ve scheduled them to recur every week in my iCal.
Set aside time to work on your “Big Rocks.”
Stephen Covey provided a pretty brilliant object lesson on how to get more done in life while ensuring you truly finish your most essential and meaningful activities in his book, First Things First. Starting with the basics:
I once went to a session where the teacher spoke on time. “OK, it’s time for a quiz,” he stated at one point. He reached beneath the table and brought out a gallon jar with a wide opening. He placed it on the table beside a dish of fist-sized boulders. He said, “How many of these rocks do you think we can fit in the jar?”
“All right,” he remarked when we made our estimate. Let’s see what happens.” He placed one pebble in the jar, then another, and so on. I’m not sure how many he got in, but he filled the jar to the brim. “Is the jar full?” he inquired.
“Yes,” everyone murmured as they glanced at the pebbles.
“Ahhh,” he remarked after that. He retrieved a pail of gravel from under the table. Then he poured some gravel into the jar and shook it, and the gravel filled up all the gaps left by the huge rocks. “Is the jar full?” he said again, grinning.
We’d figured him out at this point. “We don’t think so,” we answered.
“That’s great!” he said. He also pulled a pail of sand from under the table. He began to pour the sand in, filling in all of the cracks and crevices left by the pebbles and gravel. “Is the jar full?” he said again, looking at us.
We all yelled, “No!”
“Good!” he said. He then took a pitcher of water and started pouring it in. He poured about a quart of water into the container. “Well, what’s the point?” he said.
“Well, there are gaps,” someone responded, “and if you work hard enough, you can always fit more into your life.”
“No, that’s not the point,” he responded. Would you have gotten any of these huge rocks in if you hadn’t placed these big rocks in first?”
Most young men prioritize the gravel, sand, and water of life in their schedules. Sure, they seem to be busy, but all they do is work on little things that are likely insignificant in the long run. These are the kind of gentlemen who longingly lament that they never have time for the genuinely essential things in life: the Big Rocks.
The aforementioned object lesson reminds us that if we want to complete our most essential objectives and chores, we must first schedule them. Those lesser jobs may be completed in between your Big Rocks.
What is a Big Rock, exactly? Every man’s situation will be unique. Pick three or four things from your mind dump list that you regard to be your MITs: most important tasks.
If you’re a student, your education is unquestionably one of your MITs. Block aside time throughout the week for the following activities to guarantee that you truly make education a priority:
1. Schedule your classes and labs. Your week’s most critical appointments. Everything else should be planned around your class hours.
2. Set aside time for reading in each of your courses. If your timetable is Monday-Wednesday-Friday, you should set out an hour or two on Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday for reading.
3. Schedule time for note-taking, outlining, and assignments for each class. Set aside time to synthesize your class notes, outline your thoughts, and finish any homework assignments you may have. I usually set out an hour directly after class for this. If a lecture-heavy subject, such as ancient Greek philosophy, I’d take the hour after class to go through my notes and update my class outline. I utilized the hour to complete the day’s homework and any extra practice problems if the class was heavy on problem sets, such as calculus or symbolic logic.
You’ll require different amounts of time for note review, outline, and homework. For each hour spent in class, I suggest setting aside at least one hour. Make a timetable if you need additional time.
Whatever your particular Big Rocks are, set out a certain amount of time on your calendar to work on them, and don’t allow anything get in the way. Keep in mind: Big Rocks come first!
Set aside time for other tasks.
After you’ve planned your week, you’ll feel like a boss.
Examine the list of things you jotted down during your Mind Dump and schedule time to do them. It, whether you need to replace the oil in your vehicle or manufacture a present for your girlfriend’s birthday, set out time in your calendar to do so.
What criteria do you use to choose the things on your Mind Dump list to do first? You may utilize a method where you go through each one and assign a “A, B, C” or similar rating to each one, and then prioritize the A’s to be finished first. But, when I glance through the list, I’ve discovered that what’s most essential pops out at me.
My objective is to have something scheduled for every waking hour of every day of the week at the conclusion of my planning sessions. Please don’t get the wrong impression. I don’t spend every minute of every day doing anything — I plan time to do nothing — but I prefer to have a rough idea of how I’m going to spend my time over the week. My totally filled-in weekly calendar serves as a rough draft of my week, which I intend to update and change throughout my daily planning meetings. Which brings me to…
Your Weekly Attack Plan should be reviewed and adjusted on a daily basis.
Even the best-laid ideas must be tweaked. That is why daily planning is crucial. Every evening, I’ll go through my calendar and make any necessary changes. While I strive to avoid postponing my Sharpen the Saw and Big Rock activities, I work quickly to complete the other duties I set aside during my Weekly Attack Plan session. Do the same.
Repeat the process the next week (and the week after that, and the week after that…)
If you want your Weekly Attack Plan sessions to be successful, you must conduct them on a regular basis. I’ll confess that there have been times when I’ve strayed from the path. Kate can generally tell if I haven’t planned out my week because I become unproductive and irritable – completely off my game. I just cannot operate without the rigidity of a weekly schedule.
I assure you’ll find yourself with more drive, direction, and tranquility in your life if you routinely plan out your week.
Watch This Video-
Planning your week is important. It can be difficult to plan your time as a student, but there are some steps that you can take to make sure that you have a productive week. Reference: how to plan your week as a student.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I plan my weekly schedule?
A: This is a question that I cannot answer. It depends on how much time you want to put into your work and personal life, if youre looking for an estimate of how many hours it would take, try this website
How do you structure your work week?
A: I have a flexible schedule. There is no definite schedule every day, so it makes things easier for me to get as much work done in the least amount of time possible without getting overwhelmed.
- planning your week ahead
- weekly planning ideas
- plan your week template
- plan your week quotes
- benefits of planning your week