For better, or for worse, I’m a Type A personality through and through. Apparently, us Type A folk are rigidly organised, overly concerned with the finer details and thrive on structured time management. And whilst this may not always sound like a good thing see this post on the perils of burn out, I do actually quite enjoy my Type A status. It is just the way I function best and make sense of the world around me.
Psyche labels aside, I’m the type of person who simply lives by a list, still carries a paper diary everywhere and if it involves a spreadsheet, or ticking off tasks from a post-it note, whiteboard or digital Wunderlist. I. am. ALL. about. it. I love to be organised and I love it when a plan comes together. Some may call me a control freak…Others may call me a natural project manager. 🤔🙊🔮
In this post, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how I personally plan for a super productive week to avoid feeling overwhelmed and bogged down when there’s so much to do. For some people, I can understand that what I’m about to say will sound like a complete and utter nightmare, but for me, there’s no better feeling than waking up on a Monday morning and having a scheduled diary and a weekly plan already in place.
I like paper diaries. Find which method works for you
Some people prefer to plan their week in the calendar app on their phone, others, like me, prefer to use a paper diary. My mum loves a good old A2 wall planner. Whatever method you prefer, find what works for you and your life/routine.
If you don’t, and you force yourself to use something new, the routine of updating and checking this place won’t stick and you’ll never look at. Naturally, this means that things will get forgotten, or won’t get done at all. Your to-do list and your weekly plan go together like peas and carrots. Check your diary to see how your week is shaping up and then add your ‘to-do’s’ into the gaps.
I prefer mornings and evenings. When are you at your best?
I recently read this article, which discusses what makes someone naturally a morning person, a night owl….or neither. I fall into the latter category. I’m generally at my best in the mornings between 8am and 11am, as well as in the evenings between 7pm and 10:30pm. I absolutely hate afternoons. Almost every single day, I have a 3pm-5pm slump. Honestly, if you want to catch me at my least energised, come and see me between those hours. 😴
Obviously, it goes without saying that as much as I’d like to, I can’t just take a nap in the middle of the afternoon, I have a full-time job, a home to run and commitments to fulfil, but I have identified exactly when I am at my best…and when I’m not.
Take stock of how you feel during the day and take this into account when planning your own week. Get your meatier or more difficult tasks done when your brain is working at its best and leave the more menial stuff, or more fun stuff for when you’re not feeling as energised or motivated. There’s nothing worse than trying to sluggishly drag yourself through a task when you’re feeling less than invigorated.
Be realistic with how long things actually take you
It’s all too easy to be incredibly unrealistic when it comes to our personal time management. It’s even easier to both overestimate and underestimate how long it will take us to do something.
My boyfriend is a great example of this. He tells me that it will take him say, 30 minutes to get ready to go out. 1 hour and 5 minutes later…I am still waiting for him! The same goes for when he’s cooking dinner. “It’ll be ready in 10 minutes,” he tells me…2 hours later and we still haven’t taken a bite! 🤭Like a lot of people, he completely underestimates how long things actually take to do. Either that, or he’s so chill it doesn’t even matter to him! It’ll get done when it gets done, I guess!
Whatever I need to do, I always add time on to how long I think it will take. Say, I need to catch a train at 10am and it takes me 20 minutes to get to the station? I’ll still give myself 30-40 minutes. Not only does this give me plenty of time, but it also means that I’m not rushing around like a mad woman and giving myself unnecessary anxiety. Always bear in mind that even tasks that may seem short and sweet, can be completely derailed by distractions or unforeseen circumstances! Keep your to-do lists manageable and factor in extra time for everything.
Keep your task list manageable and bitesize
If your to-do list is as long as your arm, choose 2-3 core things to complete each day. Something in the morning and something in the afternoon. You will then have enough time to get the chunky stuff done and perhaps some time left for all the smaller bits and bobs that need doing.
By keeping your list manageable it’s less likely that you’ll fall foul to procrastination. After all, you might blitz through your to-do list and have time to do what you actually want to do at the end. I.e watch that Youtube video or read that article.
For me, life makes better sense when I’m planned and organised and I’m able to have a productive week and get shit done. I know we’re not all the same though, so how do you ensure you have a productive week?