Do you ever get to the end of your week and feel like you have nothing to show for it? You know that you were busy the entire time, but somehow your to-do list still has plenty of boxes unchecked.
This usually happens when we go into the week without a plan. When there isn’t a defined strategy for accomplishing your tasks, “urgent” issues appear and push your important tasks to the backburner.
As you prepare for the week ahead, open your calendar, planner, or notebook from last week. You’ll need to fully remember everything you did last week in order to make improvements. Find a few minutes of silence (weekend mornings over coffee are a great time!), and review and write down the following questions:
What went well last week and how can I build on it?
In what areas of your life did you do a great job last week? This could be at work or at home. How can you replicate, or build upon it, this week?
What didn’t go well and how can I improve it?
First things first, there isn’t a person alive who would mark themselves as perfect and not needing any improvement. Don’t use this question as a way to be disappointed with yourself. Be as objective as you can. Self-assessments are about constructive feedback. It’s not about beating yourself up; it’s about looking back and seeing where you can course-correct.
What people do I need to focus on this week?
Sometimes we get so caught up in the tasks that we lose sight of the people who also need our attention. Just because you’re in the midst of a huge project at work doesn’t mean you can forget your kid’s basketball game on Thursday night, or that you offered to help your spouse with a home project. Maybe, after looking through your calendar, you will have to work late every single night this week. Knowing it upfront means you can communicate your schedule ahead of time and manage expectations.
If this week is a success, what are the three things that need to happen?
When 5pm on Friday hits, what are three non-negotiables that you need to have accomplished? Where can you set aside time to make sure they happen in your calendar? Time block it in. If there isn’t any time, determine what priorities need to move or change to make it happen.
Every day and every week are chances to start fresh. With a little self-reflection—and four simple questions—you can course-correct your schedule and have the most productive week yet.