“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” – Alan Lakein
Life is about progress. To advance, you must carefully set goals, create plans, and take action towards the outcomes with absolute efficiency.
This article shows you how to get the best out of your week. It discusses the practical approaches that ensure you get the most value by putting the minimum efforts in accomplishing your week’s schedule. These methods are results-oriented, efficient, and simply work. This article also explains why the proposed tactics are crucial to ensure your fast climb up the ladder of success.
How to get the most done
Before I embark on the subject, I must insist, to get the best value out of your efforts, you must define clear goals to achieve. I can’t overstate its importance because goals have no substitute when it comes to improving your life.
Likewise, you will realize that nothing is as important as proper planning in determining how fast you move up the ladder of success in your career and life as a whole. If your life’s desires are in shambles, you hardly see improvements. In fact, how would you measure progress?
The good news is, we all plan our lives, either consciously or not. That means you have the basics of planning. For instance, you may foresee the day and analyze how busy it will turn out. You may plan to attend meetings. You may plan time for lunch. You may plan to attend anniversaries. You may plan to go on a date. All these are plans, but may not hold the same value in improving your life.
It is a fact that planning activity differs from one person to another. The differences come down to the impact of the plan in the future perspectives and the kind of tasks we choose to prioritize. Nevertheless, the planning process determines the quality of the outcome, which is better than not having a plan at all. To reap the most benefits, you must know how to plan, even better, you must know what to focus on.
The best thing is, both planning and goal settings are skills, and like any other skills, you get better with practice. To get there, you must learn how to do it. To help you get the best, the article 7 Effective habits for achieving personal excellence hints out some aspects of goal settings and planning. If you want to learn the whole process, I recommend the eBook Your Inner Child Is Calling. The book, will tell you a lot on how and why goals and plans is simply the best way to go.
Now, let us see how to reap the most benefit out of the week.
1. Plan your week ahead
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Planning is key to getting the best returns out of your efforts. You must know that goals and plans dictate where your life goes. Hence, planning must be done when you are most alert, clear headed and with a good state of mind to think.
First, when is the best moment to plan?
In my opinion, Sunday is the best day to plan the week. I choose this day for two major reasons.
- Sunday, for most people, is the moment to relax and prepare for the week ahead. Sundays come with clear and stress-free mindsets, after spending Fridays and Saturdays, hence the best moment for planning.
- Sunday, especially the late evening, is a great moment to reflect on how best to spend the week. The moment of reflection is crucial to visualize and give your mind something to work on. This is simply important and worth practicing.
I discourage Mondays. It is not the ideal time to plan your week because it is the first day of the week and tends to be a bit tense and busier. To spend the best moments and love your “blue” Mondays, plan ahead, and know exactly what to doand acquire from your efforts. Then, you will notice how productive your routine becomes.
Then, how do you plan?
That question leads us to the crucial part – the planning process. Here is how it’s done.
- Identify key goals for the week and jot them down. Be critical and analyze your schedule. Goals must be written down either on paper, computer, or whichever convenient to you. Just put in writing.
- Break goals into small doable tasks. Tasks can be processes or steps you will go through to accomplish the goal. List all of them down.
Use the list of tasks you come up with as an input to the following step, Prioritization.
2. Prioritize tasks
“One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.” – Chinese Proverb
Prioritization is key to getting the most done with time. Prioritization here means you identify what is crucial and more significant towards achieve your week’s goals. You have to understand that, tasks don’t hold the same significance and importance towards achieving your goals. For instance, going for coffee or tea doesn’t have priority over finishing a crucial report with a strict deadline. That is when prioritizing comes to play.
From the list you generate after breaking goals into simple tasks, here is how to prioritize them:
- Most important tasks first
- Arrange your tasks in order of priority, from the topmost important to the least important.
- Start doing the most important tasks first.
- Put only minimum number of tasks in a day’s and week’s schedules. It is crucial that to aim at meeting your goals with high efficiency and produce quality outcomes. Remember, it is not the quantity but the quality of the outcome that matters.
- Know your peak times
- Identify your most productive times of the day and schedule your most important tasks for those times. It is the ideal moment to accomplish tasks demanding too much brainwork.
- Work on minor tasks during nonpeak times. That way you efficiently utilize your day.
- Worst comes first
- You are likely to avoid doing unpleasant tasks. That shouldn’t be the case. To kill procrastination, schedule the worst tasks in the early morning.
3. Manage time efficiently
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” – Lee Iacocca
Time management is key to efficiency. You measure efficiency by the quality of work done within a set period. To ensure you manage your time well, do the following.
- Keep a busy schedule
This works for me, every time. My mind automatically knows that there’s a limited time to finish tasks, hence, every second counts. When the mind is conscious about the value of time, it automatically defaults to efficient mode and prioritize on what must be done. You will concentrate. You will avoid distractions. You will not lose or waste time. You will complete tasks efficiently to avoid redoing the work – because that is a huge waste of time.
- Don’t lose time, both yours and that of others
Avoid wasting time by engaging in both unproductive chats and tasks. Planning avoids unproductive patterns because you know what awaits you and must be done before the end of the day. When you get to work, simply do your job. That is why you are there. Don’t engage in any unnecessary activities, unless is it more important than what is on the schedule. Even then, it must be put on the schedule to merit your time.
Avoid distracting others. Unnecessary chats waste invaluable time, if used productively, could lead to tangible results. Do you know when you distract someone they may possibly never gain their level of concentration again during the entire day? Think of that when you want to unnecessarily distract someone. Let them work. Likewise, if someone comes to you with trivial subjects, tell them you are busy, simple. No hard feelings. Don’t entertain small talks when you are at work. You are wasting a very precious asset – that’s time. Keep doing the necessary and get it done on time.
4. Evaluate your efficiency
Evaluation is crucial to determine your progress towards the outcomes. It gives feedbacks on various dimensions like the quality of the outcome, the weaknesses in doing the tasks, the resources needed to complete a goal, and the time it takes to get the desired outcome.
A good plan channels your best efforts to accomplish the most important tasks, in turn you get the best outcomes. That way, you employ minimum possible efforts to get a lot more done with time that couldn’t be done otherwise.
How to evaluate efficiency?
When you plan, you envision the outcome of each task. This is a goal in itself. To evaluate, you must measure what you finally achieved with the expected outcome. For instance, if you planned to finish a report by Tuesday afternoon, then you can evaluate the efficiency at the end of the day if you have met your goal or not.
This process is crucial in determining how efficiently you achieve goals and revealing your weakest areas that might need some fixing.
In my opinion, for maximum efficiency, it is essential to do this process periodically, especially on daily basis to know what to improve on the following day’s schedule. That way, you incorporate feedback on the subsequent tasks on real time basis.
However, you can evaluate yourself on weekly basis at the completion of each task or milestone as set on your plan.
5. Get enough, healthy sleep
Well, resting is crucial and should not be underestimated. Your body is the perfect machine and must be cared for to ensure efficiency. A good sleep has a therapeutic value to your body and mind. It is ideal to sleep at least 6 hours every day, but 7 to 8 hours is recommended. You cannot sacrifice your sleep for too long and expect to be efficient at what you do; that is absurd. Your efficiency reduces with each day you deprive your body with enough rest.
You must regularly practice physical exercises. Exercise makes you feel better and more alert because when you exercise, your body produces the feel-good hormones – endorphin. It is more of a natural happy drug. This hormone is crucial to make you more alive, happier and look forward to doing a lot more in a day. In the end, you are more alert and more efficient at work. Exercising gives you so much energy during your working days and leads to a healthier life.
These methods can work monthly, quarterly, or annually. The only difference is how you manage tasks depending on the period you choose. Either way, you get the best value of what you do.
This is what you gain in the process
Now that we have seen how the week can be efficiently spent, let’s see why the process is essential to ensure success in your life.
1. You efficiently get more done in a short time
Planning is the only way to get things done efficiently and produce best results. When you plan, you choose to concentrate and accomplish tasks that are more crucial and lead to your desired outcomes. This way, you maximize the return of your efforts and get the best value. Your major focus is on the goals that advance you to next steps in your life and career. In doing so, you eliminate distractions by denying them time on your schedule. The efficiency at which you undertake the routine determines how fast you move towards the quality outcome of your desires.
2. You are conscious of what to achieve
You certainly can’t efficiently meet any major goal if you are vague in what resources are required to accomplish it. When you plan, you identify the demands towards accomplish your tasks efficiently. This avoids acting on impulse, which is not the best things to do especially when it comes to success. These demands may be money, skills, or any other thing necessary to make you meet your goals.
3. You foresee obstacles
Planning entails knowing in advance any possible glitches and obstacles that may lead to avoidable failures. You can change your plan to avoid or mitigate failure.
We face challenges in your everyday life. It is true that challenges make us grow, but some challenges simply reveal the ignorance, inefficiency, and lack of vision in your desires. These challenges may lead to unnecessary failures. Hence planning makes you aware of the uncertainty of the future.
4. Evaluating your performance
Evaluation is a great feedback mechanism on how far you are from reaching your goal. It also shows you how to arrive at the quality outcome. If you properly analyze your performance and use the feedback to improve on your routine, then your efficiency is bound to improve quick and with no time. This simply means that, you are conscious of what you do on daily basis and you work to improve the quality of your outcomes. Feedback is the best ingredient to advancement in any area of your life, and is not only limited to the career.
5. It is the best way to lead a fulfilling life
Planning is simply essential. Of course, you can lead a life without planning, and most people do that. However, to lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life, planning becomes a necessity. Once you understand that, you will see the need to incorporate planning in all other areas of your life, starting from how you manage your finances, relationships, career change, family, and others. Planning is the way to lead a life with purpose.
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