The Art of Planning Your Work Week

Let’s face it; it is hard to transition from planning for school and life around school to life centered around work and being an adult. It was easier to say, “Ok, I’ve got this and this test to study for and this project to finish by this date. Well, it looks like I won’t be going to that event, but I could still go do that if I finish this paper before then.” It was simpler just to work life around school and responsibilities. Now you have to figure out how to manage not only a job, but how to manage family time, friend time, hobby time, budgeting, chores, car maintenance, taxes, household chores, and whatever else falls under the adulting category. I could go on and on, but I don't need to overwhelm a person with all the details at once ;).

One might think, “Well, can’t you just replace the time you use for school and replace it with a job”? I’m sure some could, but I know it was a hard transition regardless. I felt that I had more to manage…more responsibilities to master…more things to incorporate now that I was not bound by school due dates and exams. Overall, I felt that more was expected of me from work, from family, and even from friends. I felt that there was so much I wanted to pursue and experience or accomplish, but there was not enough time to conquer it all.

I decided I needed to apply my planning skills I used in school to my next phase in my life: adulthood as a new graduate. I discovered that it was easy to apply my planning process that I had used for school towards planning for my work week, I just had to change my mindset and perspective.

After some trial and error, I have come to realize that there are multiple ways to go about planning your week and each way works differently for each person, but I find that there are four core steps in any planning process one person may use.

These steps require you to be self-aware of your goals and to prioritize what is important to you. Keeping a grasp of your vision, your passions, your life purpose, will be the key to making your planning successful and worthwhile.

I won’t lie to you, it can be cumbersome at first, but once you have your planning rhythm figured out and all the kinks unraveled, you will become a planning addict! Now before I reveal the four core steps to planning your week, I want to recommend HIGHLY that you dedicate some time on a regular basis (ideally once a week) to invest in planning for your week. By doing this, it will help you to stay on track with your goals and projects.

Without further ado, here are the four core steps to planning: 1. Review your current events- look at your calendar, sticky notes, mind palace…whatever you use to keep track of your activities/schedule…and see what already as reserved time on your schedule. PRO TIP: Try writing out everything that takes up your time…work, chores, grocery shopping, social events, hobbies, etc. and perform what I like to call a Brain Dump. A Brain Dump is where I write everything out that I dedicate time to on a daily basis. By performing a Brain Dump, it helps to envision everything that I have going on in my life. 2. Review goals and projects – Now that you have written your current events out, review your goals and projects. If you have your goals written out, like SMART goals, pull those out and evaluate where you are at with your goals. Are you on track? Are you behind on your goal date? Are you currently working on a big project and need to adjust your action steps? This is a great time to see where your progress is on your goals or projects, as they should be the driving force in allocating your time. 3. Determine what is realistic - Now that you have dumped your brain and re-established what your goals are and where your stand with your projects, it is time to determine what is humanly possible for you to realistically accomplish in one week’s time. This is where adulting comes into play. PRO TIP: Don’t trick yourself into saying, “Oh I can do that next week,” or “I can do that later.” If you ever say this, then you need to reevaluate the importance of that task.   4.Keep yourself accountable – Once you figure out what you are genuinely able to do, you need to figure out how to keep yourself accountable for sticking to this new realistic plan of action you have developed. There are multiple tools and methods to test out and see what works best for you. I find that setting reminders to specific tasks, like picking out your clothes, go to the bank, call mom, etc. help me to stay focused. I even have a reminder to remind me to check back on my action plan for the week.

I challenge you to spend some time researching different paper planners, productivity apps, and methods (like calendar blocking or bullet journaling) and see what grooves with you best. Trust me, spending a few minutes to play with planners and apps will be worthwhile.  

Like I said already, these four steps are just guidelines to helping plan for your week as you pursue this thing called adulting and working. Remember: Just keep swimming! How do you plan out your week and prepare to conquer adulting? Tell us in the comments!  

Written by Cheyanne Flerx

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