Do you ever get to the end of Monday feeling like the week has already run away from you? Feel like the week is a constant battle to get stuff done where you rarely get any time for yourself? Then this post is for you!
For years I’d just let the week ‘happen to me’. I was constantly in a reactive place and felt like I was just fire fighting and then feeling exhausted from that. Then when I did start and plan I just felt overwhelmed and like I was failing.
When I figured out the right way to plan and organise for me, I finally felt like I could be proactive, like I had time for myself and as if areas of my life and business where actually starting to move forward. Plus my life started to look like my vision board, it was magical!
Before I get into sharing my tips, we need to talk about mindset because this is so important in making this work. Firstly, you do you, some of these might work and some of them might not and that’s fine. Experiment! Secondly, having a attitude of kindness towards yourself is really helpful, as we’ll come on to shortly, you need to plan based on what feels good and sometimes we can be super judgy towards ourselves on this.
I usually do this on a Monday morning but recently started spending some time on a Sunday and that’s been just as helpful. Find a 15 – 30 minute slot and I promise it will be worth the time spent!
Check in with yourself and how you want to feel
This is a simple step but one that so many people would miss. How do you feel going into your week? How would you like to feel? What do you know you have coming up next week that’s going to impact you?
To give you an example, I knew going into this week I’d be in the very last part of my menstrual cycle, and I was already feeling drained. I like my weeks to feel quite expansive and I really wanted to feel like I was getting shit done, prioritising things that make me feel good and having some time outside in nature. I usually write this down in my bullet journal before making a to-do list.
Write a master to-do list
I always write a to-do list for the whole week so that everything is out of my head. Think about what has to be done, what you need to do to move things forward in your life this week and your self care. I even list how many times I’d like to exercise, if I need to do a grocery shop and anything highlighted by the checking in with myself exercise.
I also think about any bigger goals I have (usually ones I’ve set for myself using the Wholehearted Journal) that I’m working towards and what tasks I can do this week to help achieve them.
From this master to-do list I create a daily list. The master list is usually written in a Google Doc then each day I write a task list on a pad of paper.
This is a simple time management technique but one I couldn’t do without! Whether you use a digital or written diary or planner the premise is the same, you ‘block’ out time to work on certain tasks.
In my business I have just started to time block a pattern to my week to help me get more done, and feel like my weeks are more expansive.
Monday’s are for admin tasks and regular tasks such as writing blog posts, scheduling and planning social media, writing emails and checking in with my finances. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for client work, client meetings and any other kind of meeting. Thursdays are for specific tasks that drive my business forward and currently I don’t work on Fridays because I’m off and doing fun things with Fin.
Having this time block pattern means I generally have two days a week without any meetings which for me, feels so good as I can just get so much done when I’m in flow!
Now around those days I’ll block in time for workouts and anything else that’s important to me. This week I have a ‘podcast walk’ on Monday lunchtime, Gym on Wednesday and Yoga on Thursday.
For you, this might be blocking out time to work on a specific work task, or blocking so time out for a gym class or even just blocking some time out to take for yourself as me time!
Go back to your to do list and edit
Usually once I’ve looked at my calendar for the week and blocked in some time slots I have a much better idea of how realistic my to-do’s are.
Look at your week and ask yourself if it looks how you’d really like it to look, does it feel like how you’d like it to feel? Often we have unavoidable less than great things we have to do, but how are you balancing those things with activities that are relaxing or enjoyable?
From here, decide which to-do’s are most important, see if anything needs to be cancelled or rearranged and look at any errands that can be done more easily, for example doing an online grocery shop rather than taking the time to go to the shops.
Perhaps you have a goal of working out 4 times a week, but once you’ve checked in with how you’d like to feel you know that aiming for 2 times this week is better – that’s brilliant – just unblock that time or change the time you’d block for exercise into something that will make you feel good.
Save your decision energy by planning ahead
This is where you might like to meal plan, plan outfits for the week or anything else that avoids you having to make so many decisions! Each time we are faced with a decision we use up energy which can result in decision fatigue – that usually means you’re more likely to make a less wise choice and feel overwhelmed. Meal planning isn’t for everyone, but it can be really helpful as can planning outfits etc. Time blocking also assists in saving decision energy too!
You can use those tips alone or together as a planning routine, to sum up:
- Check in with yourself, how you want to feel and what you have coming up next week that might impact you.
- Create a master to-do list / brain dump everything you feel needs to be done this week
- Time block your calendar or diary
- Re-adjust your to-do list to bring it in line
- Save your decision energy by planning ahead
When you do any of these things you’re putting yourself into a proactive place instead of a reactive place – living more wholeheartedly and less by default woo hoo! But remember that sometimes life throws us a curveball and all you can do is react. This is where having some kindness for yourself is key.
Do you plan for your week ahead? Which of these tips would you find helpful?