Do you struggle with how to plan your week to be productive? As a busy mom, you have a million things to do each week and it feels like you’re constantly spinning, being pulled in different directions, trying to do it all. But still, you end each week feeling like you’ve accomplished next to nothing. Maybe you want to start reaching for new goals, but you can’t even think about adding another thing to your plate right now.
You don’t have to feel this way. In this post, I will cover some tips to be productive that really work and have helped me to feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished each week.
You too can regain control and end each week feeling like you’re crushing it!
How to plan your week to be productive
When a new week approaches, you don’t want to feel stressed out because you’re not prepared for the week ahead (ever hear of the Sunday scaries?). Not having a plan leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. You go through the week feeling flustered and unfocused and it’s no wonder you don’t accomplish much.
In order to plan your week effectively, it’s important to have a clear idea of your broader goals. Have you set some intentions or goals for the year? Figure out what your goals are first and then break them down into the action items you will need to do in order to work towards them.
I sat down before the year started and figured out my 3 main goals for this year. I then worked out what I needed to do month-by-month to get there. Then I was able to break those monthly tasks down further to a weekly basis.
So get clear on your intentions and ask yourself – what are your big picture goals? What tasks do you need to do to accomplish them? What new habits must you incorporate into your weekly and daily routine to achieve these goals?
Your weekly plan will consist of these things plus all the life stuff you have to tackle each week – grocery shopping, laundry, car pool, kids sports, etc.
Yes, it can feel like a lot so you really have to maximize your productivity each week!
9 Tips to be Productive
1.) Plan your week on Sunday
As I mentioned above, it’s so important to plan your week ahead of time. Not having a plan for the week come Monday morning will lead to you fumbling around, not sure what to focus on first. This only wastes time and creates anxiety. Mondays are a new beginning, and you want to start off on the right foot so the rest of your week goes as smoothly as possible.
You can plan for the week ahead on Sunday or really anytime before the week starts. Personally, I like to do my weekly planning when I’ve finished for the day on Friday, but if I don’t get to it then, I will definitely plan my week by Sunday afternoon/evening. This helps me feel more relaxed going to bed on Sunday night, as I know I have my agenda for the week laid out.
One idea is to incorporate weekly planning into a Sunday self-care practice. Work it in to how you reset for the week.
2.) Get it all down on paper
Do a brain dump of everything on your mental to-do list. Don’t worry about prioritizing or organizing yet, just get it out of your head and onto some type of list. You can write everything down on a piece of scrap paper or the notes section of your phone, whatever works for you.
Don’t forget to include the regular everyday stuff too like grocery shopping and other errands you normally do on a weekly basis. Everything that is an actionable task should go on this list so nothing slips through the cracks.
3.) Organize your tasks
Next, you will organize your tasks into categories like work, personal life, kid stuff, etc. Make sure to insert some time for yourself like time to exercise, go to book club, or prepare some healthy meals for the week.
When organizing your tasks, take note and include any previously scheduled appointments and events. You might have separate lists for work and life stuff, but I recommend planning them at the same time so that you’re not overscheduling either and you can see the full picture of your week at once.
4.) Prioritize your tasks
Once you have your tasks categorized, you should try to assign some level of priority to them. What are the tasks that absolutely have to get done this week? Which ones are at the next level of importance and which ones can wait until the following week if you don’t get to them?
You can try different methods of keeping track of your prioritized items. For example, you might want to create 3-4 different priority group lists for the week. The first one would consist of the tasks that are the “most important”, then another list of “up next” items, followed by “if time” tasks. If you find that tasks on the “if time” list are constantly being pushed out each week and it’s not really affecting your life, then these tasks are probably ones you can even “let go”.
Another method of keeping track would be to use color coding for your tasks. For your most important tasks, highlight those in RED, as they are critical and must be accomplished. Next priority items would be highlighted in YELLOW, and the “if time” items in GREEN.
Assign 1-2 of the “most important” or RED tasks to each day of the week. These tasks should be tackled first each day before you move on to the lesser priority tasks. This will help you go through your day with more intention, stay focused, and accomplish what you need to.
5.) Take advantage of your most productive time of day
We all have a time of day when we are most energetic and productive. Some of us are morning people, some of us night owls, and others find they hit their peak midday. Determine when you are most productive and try to set aside uninterrupted time during this point in the day to accomplish your most important tasks or to bang out a bunch of little tasks that you can quickly and easily get out of the way.
For me, I find that morning is when I have the most energy and focus. I like to get up early to do my morning routine and then I will jump right in to tackle my most important priorities for the day. I know as the day goes on, I get more tired and tend to lose focus. If you try to have an important conversation with me after 8pm, my eyes start glazing over!
6.) Batch tasks
Not sure what batching tasks means? It is when you group similar activities to be worked on together in order to improve your focus and productivity.
This is helpful because different types of tasks require a switch in your thought process, so when you group similar tasks together to accomplish in a designated block of time, it allows you to concentrate better since your brain doesn’t have to keep switching modes. Thus, you increase your productivity.
The New Yorker reported that 98% of people focus best when facing a single type of task, instead of multiple tasks at once.
I like to batch tasks when I can, especially when it comes to my blog-related tasks. I will focus on one type of task at a time like creating a bunch of pins for my blog posts in one sitting or researching keywords for multiple ideas.
7.) Fill in your schedule with smaller tasks
I’m going to brag a little bit about myself here – I’m super efficient when it comes to getting the smaller tasks done. I know what I can get done during each part of my day, as well as where and when I can fill in my schedule with the smaller, more mundane tasks.
For example, I will do laundry throughout the day as I’m working on my blog posts. Much of doing laundry is passive and it doesn’t require huge chunks of my time or attention so I know I can get it done throughout the day as I concentrate on larger tasks.
Also, I’ll make the kids’ lunches for the next day and wash the dishes from cooking while dinner is in the oven. During this small window in my schedule, I don’t have the time or focus to accomplish any of my larger priority tasks, but I can certainly take care of some of the smaller ones. I’m also task batching in a sense because I’m doing a bunch of kitchen-focused tasks at once!
8.) Use a weekly planning checklist
This last one is imperative to keeping track of all your tasks, as well as holding yourself accountable. In order to do this, you need a weekly planning checklist of some sort.
You can use the calendar app on your phone or take it a step further with an app like Todoist, which I personally use. Todoist allows you to group tasks by label and project, schedule things, set priority levels, and more. You can color code the priority groups too! I also like it because it integrates with Google calendar, which is what I use for tasks related to my blog. Furthermore, it’s super convenient because it’s right there on my phone so I can easily add or modify tasks at any time.
If you’re old school and like to physically write things down, use a daily planner or even just keep a notebook on hand. Post it notes can work as well and you can color code them by priority level or project.
This Legend Planner below is really cool because it’s not just a monthly, weekly, and daily planner in which you can keep track of your tasks. It goes a step further and helps you define your broader goals for the year, as well as the action items, rituals, and habits you need to incorporate into your daily life in order to achieve your personal vision and go after what you want. Plus it’s undated, so you can start at any time!
9.) Be flexible
As much as you may plan ahead and lay out your weekly priorities, you do have to be prepared to shift gears every now and then. Things will come up and plans may need to change. That’s just life.
Try to stick to your plan as much as possible, but remember not to be too hard on yourself if other things suddenly have to become priorities. Just do your best and feel secure in the notion that your best is good enough.
How to plan your week to be productive
Those are my 9 tips for how to plan your week to be productive. I hope you now feel ready to jump into the week ahead with your own plan so you can have a super productive week in which you feel calm, focused, and accomplished.
Share any weekly planning tips you recommend in a comment below!
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.