Tell me if you can relate to this: When a new week approaches, you feel stressed out because you’re not prepared at all. By the end of the week, you feel frustrated because you didn’t use your time in the most productive way.

We’ve all had the Sunday scaries for the week ahead. We’ve all left things until the last minute and then complained at the end of the week about not having enough time. And yes, that’s me calling you and myself out.

This anxiety and dread usually happens when you go through the week without a plan. If you don’t know what you need to get done and when you’re going to work on it, the chances of it happening are pretty slim.

Planning your week gives you time and space to figure out how you’re going to fit everything in. If you’re trying to make progress at work and in your personal life, planning your week will help you get there. Plus you won’t feel like a chicken with your head cut off trying to do things at the last minute.

In this post, I’m sharing five steps that will help you plan your week in a more productive and efficient way!

Why you should plan your week

If I don’t have a hint of a plan for my week, I will stumble my way through my work trying to get everything done at once. Those are the kind of weeks where I feel totally unfocused and flustered, and naturally I want to avoid that as much as possible.

Planning is important because it helps you use your time in the most efficient way. You can realistically gauge how much you can get done and how much time you have to do it. That way, you can feel accomplished knowing that you did what you set out to do.

My routine these days is to sit down on a Sunday evening and review my goals and monthly plan. I’ll figure out what really needs to get done for the week ahead and what I’d like to get done. Once I have my weekly plan, I can go to bed with a little more peace of mind before the week begins.

“You have a choice in life. You can either live on-purpose, according to a plan you’ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others.”

– Michael Hyatt

How to plan your week

When planning your week, you basically want to create an outline of what you’re going to do each day. This plan doesn’t have to be super detailed (that would be better for a daily schedule), but it should help you feel prepared for the entire week.

Tip: Before you begin planning your week, make sure you have all the tools you need to keep you on track. For example, I use a blank notebook for writing notes, Asana for setting deadlines, and a weekly calendar to keep track of appointments.

Step 1: Review Bigger Plans

  • Review any yearly goals you’ve set for yourself.
  • Review your monthly priorities and plans. Here’s a post on how to plan your month in advance.
  • Make note of any appointments or events that you need to plan around.

Step 2: Make A Detailed List

  • Make a list of every little thing you need and want to get done this week. This list could range from big projects to tasks like grocery shopping.
  • Go through the list and see if there’s anything that could be moved to another week if it’s not urgent now.

Step 3: Set Your Priorities

  • Figure out what absolutely needs to get done this week based on your list. Label or highlight these tasks as your weekly priorities.
  • Keep your weekly priorities list to 3-7 items.

Step 4: Design Action Steps

  • Create a bulleted list of action steps for each priority on your to-do list.
  • Think about action steps that will help you get your priorities completed or even just started.

Step 5: Make Your Schedule

  • Figure out which of your priority tasks you’re going to work on for each day of the week. Assign each priority from your list to a designated day.
  • If it works for your schedule, group similar tasks together so your brain doesn’t have to switch between different types of activities.
  • For each day of the week, choose the ‘one big thing’ that must get done. This will help you to stay focused and accomplish the most important thing first.

Sidenote: Sometimes your priorities for each day will change even after you’ve planned them. That’s just life. As much as you possibly can, try to stick to the plan you’ve set for yourself. Just don’t be hard on yourself if other things suddenly have to become priorities.


Posted by Jay Shapiro

Jay Shapiro is the founder and managing editor of Sharp & Healthy. He has co-authored NT Times bestseller Slow Food, Fast Results. Jay has been featured in Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur, and has received an undergraduate degree in the field of business management from the University of Pennsylvania.