The small hand on the clock goes around 168 times in a week. And no matter how we spend each hour, the clock keeps moving forward. It can feel like others have more time than we do, and as we ponder why that is…time keeps moving forward. Somedays we wish we could make it hold still or go back in time. But it keeps moving forward.
So many of us desire more time in the day or feel like we could better utilize our time. If you can relate, you’re in the right place, alongside many women who are running the same race. We all grasp for this thing called time, in which we have no control over. Or do we?
Unfortunately I don’t have a fairy dust to sprinkle over you to give you more time. BUT, there is one magical way to having a more productive week in order for the hour hand on the clock to work to your advantage. Ready for it…
Marry your to-do tasks with your calendar & plan ahead
Most would agree that planning ahead seems logical. And marrying your to-do list with your calendar can transform how you approach each day. Even for those non-planners out there, this is a simple way for you to give structure to your week.
Try this simple method for planning and see how you can be more productive.
Plan your week
Look to the week ahead, either at the end of the day Friday before you check into the weekend, or on Sunday evening. Grab a scratch piece of paper or a planner and write the days of the week across the top so you have 7 columns. Use pencil because most weeks things don’t always go as planned.
Include scheduled and non-scheduled activities and to-dos
In each day’s column, write in the scheduled appointments you already have on your calendar [dr appt, work commitments, kids programs, etc.]. After you have those written in, write the to-do tasks you need to accomplish on each day [you can take these tasks from your to-do list, if you have one]. Take into consideration the scheduled commitments you have on your calendar. For example, if you have MOPS, school carpool, work appointment, and bible study all in one day, that’s not a day to slot in extra tasks. Also consider, some tasks aren’t time sensitive, so those can be written on whichever day seems more open.
Set yourself up for success by realistically assigning tasks to each day. If you know you’re more productive at the beginning of the week, stack tasks on those days. If you have deadlines coming up, give priority to those tasks. Look at the plan as a whole so you are anticipating the domino affect of when/what you need to accomplish. You want to have a sense of completion each day, not a sense of failure because you didn’t plan realistically.
Allow for buffers
Many times people don’t get things accomplished because they aren’t realistic about how much time it takes to accomplish tasks. Even simple tasks like commutes and getting out the door. Plus, things always pop up that we weren’t anticipating, so we need time to allow for those tasks, without it sending your week into a downward spiral. If you’re not the best at managing your time, you especially need to be sure to build buffer time into your days. This not only helps you become more aware of your schedule, but it helps you feel like you’ve completed more.
Readjust each night
Days can throw us for a loop when things don’t go as planned and expectations get put on us that we weren’t anticipating. Each night, quickly review and re-adjust your tasks and schedule in each column, moving tasks around as needed so your week can stay on track. By making small adjustments each day you can stay diligent; even though one day didn’t go as planned, that doesn’t mean the whole week is out the window. Looking at the day ahead, also helps you start each day with a plan.
Stay disciplined to the plan
If you’ve done the work to plan, stick to it and look at the plan. If one day doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up on the week. Keep the plan posted or on your desk so you can be checking things off. The best part is crossing things off!
Looking ahead will make a difference. Remember, you can’t run a marathon with no training, but with each practice run, your body changes. And with each week of a little discipline, so can your productivity. Marry your to-dos with your calendar and keep on running.
The clock keeps moving forward so don’t stay standing still.