It’s a new year which means many of us are setting new goals and intentions for the next 12 months. It’s no secret that planning is key if you want to set yourself up for success. Everyone has bad days and bad weeks. However, there are only 52 weeks in a year so if all of them are bad and leave you feeling disorganized and behind, it may seem like a year has been wasted.
But let’s think on the bright side. We have a fresh new year ahead of us. Now is the best time to plan and prepare for the weeks ahead so you can find time to be productive and meet some of your goals. Here are _ of my favorite must-dos to prepare yourself for the week.
Start on the Weekend
Yes, weekends may be for relaxing and catching up on errands, but this is also the perfect time to plan your week. You don’t have to spend the entire weekend obsessing over the upcoming work week. But you can easily take 30 minutes or so to get organized, tie up any loose ends and determine how you’ll make the most of your time over the next few days.
If you know you’re going to have a busy weekend or be out of town, start planning for the following week on Friday as you end your workday. It doesn’t hurt to start early but starting too late will usually defeat the process.
Get Your Calendar Out and Review Upcoming Tasks and Events
Odds are, you’ve already started filling out your calendar for the coming weeks. Sit down on Sunday evening to review what’s already there including any meetings, appointments, due dates or other responsibilities. Dermine if anything will need to be changed or postponed at this point.
Then, start planning for the week ahead. Brain dump everything you need to do and would like to do. Start filling in your calendar so you can be realistic and give everything a time slow. Also, plan for personal and self-care tasks like grocery shopping, exercise, etc. If there’s no room on the calendar, you may have to push some tasks to a future date.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
As you fill out your calendar for the week, be sure to prioritize your tasks and to-do list. Your to-do list may be large or it may be small. Regardless, it’s important to narrow down your priorities instead of just creating one big overwhelming list. Separate the ‘must-do’ tasks from the ‘should do’ or ‘would like to do’ tasks that may not really be assigned a hard deadline. Here’s how it looks when I prioritize my to-do list for the week.
- Write 5 client articles
- Catch up on work with 2 clients that have added extra tasks
- Homeschool my son for a few hours during the morning
- Meal plan and prep meals for the week
- Exercise 3-4 times per week
- Go to a therapy appointment
- Make sure everyone picks up after themselves around the house (self-included)
- Date night on Friday
- Catch up on grading some of my son’s homeschool assignments
- Choose one area of the house to deep clean and reorganize this week
- Clean out my email inbox and respond to a few messages
- Schedule content for my blog and social media posts
Would Like to Do
- Pick out the materials for my bathroom remodeling project
- Declutter my kitchen
- Start shopping for my son’s birthday later this month.
As you can see, my ‘must-do’ list is bigger than my ‘would like to do list’ but I’ve still narrowed down what my priorities are. I should get everything done on my must-do list and if I do get to my should-do list that would be great. But I don’t have to get to everything. In fact, whatever I don’t get might just get moved up to a higher position for the following week. Or, it could get removed from the list altogether if it’s not a true priority and I don’t want to overwhelm myself with it.
The key is to have a specific clear plan to prepare yourself for the week.
Do a Clean Sweep on Sunday Night
If having a messy house bothers you, you’re not alone. I can’t function or think clearly when my house is disorganized. However, cleaning can be very time-consuming if you don’t get organized and do it officially. One of my favorite cleaning hacks is gathering everyone in the house to do what I call a ‘clean sweep’.
It’s quick and doesn’t require us to deep clean but rather tidy up for 15 minutes or so. With all hands on deck, my family can get a lot done in 15 minutes whether it’s catching up on dishes, putting up the laundry, vacuuming, mopping, or dusting.
We try to do a clean sweep each evening but sometimes we have other things on the agenda. But no matter what, Sunday night is the best time for us to tidy up so we are firm with it on this day. Doing so sets us up for a smoother Monday morning where we’re not bogged down by cleaning tasks.
Plan and Prep Meals
Meal planning is key if you want to prepare yourself for the week and save time. We all need to eat and meal times will come whether you’re ready or not so you might as well plan for them. We buy our groceries every two weeks and plan our meals before even making a shopping list.
I bought a cheap whiteboard from Target that I use to list our meals for the following 2 weeks. That way, there’s a clear plan and all I have to do is prep. Prepping looks differently each week but I often give myself an hour on Sundays to prepare. Sometimes it looks like making a big batch of pancakes or breakfast sandwiches for the kids to eat all week. Other times, it involves preparing dinner for a few days or just chopping up some vegetables or preparing cooked rice to store in the fridge for easy access over the next few weeks.
No matter what I do, it all helps me prepare for the week ahead and spend less time in the kitchen.
Put Laundry Up and Pick Out Some of Your Clothes
Another quick and easy way to prepare yourself for the week is to put up any remaining laundry and pick out your clothes for the next few days. I ask my son to do this as well so he can get dressed quickly in the morning and start school.
Picking out your outfits for the week just gives you one less decision to make that day and saves time and energy so you can jump right into what’s important to you for that day.
Taking the necessary steps to prepare yourself for the week can make a big difference in you being able to optimize your time and have a more productive year. Keep these steps in mind when planning your week and also add your own productive tasks and hacks to help you get fully prepared for the week ahead.