Question: Why Saturday?
Answer: Why not? No seriously now; because the best way to execute success is to plan for success. The day really isn't important, so let's call it "End of the Week" Tips for a More Productive Next Week, if you prefer.
Question: It was a tough week this week, so why can't I just put this off and worry about it next week? Besides, I love the exhilaration of scrambling everyday to make deadlines and putting out client and project fires as they arise!
Answer: Think about it, you probably experienced a tough week at work, scrambling to make deadlines while putting out all those client and project fires, because you didn't plan for the things you could control.
Question: But I can't plan because I'll just have to change everything next week as circumstances change?
Answer: So what? What you said and what I heard are two different things. I heard, besides fear, is "I choose guaranteed failure rather than give myself a great chance at success" or, maybe even, "I'm really comfortable with chronic failure". It's not cast in stone; it's just a plan for goodness sake - so change it as need be.
Those who set goals and plan for success more often reach their goals and enjoy success than those who don't.
5 Saturday Tips for a More Productive Next Week
- Review the Past Week: Regularly schedule time to review your week's progress and update your "To Do" list or "Next Actions" list. Whatever you call it, you need at least one Master Tasks List. This is a great time to cross off those tasks and projects that you've completed during the week, taking a brief moment to recognize and enjoy your success at getting these things done. Now, that your lists are updated, you know what's left to be done and tackled next week.
- Take a Weekly Task Inventory: Take inventory of all the notes you made this week of things needing to be done, new projects, and requests of you that require your oversight. Now organize and add these new tasks to your Master Tasks List. If you don't track it, you'll lose or forget it.
- Assign Responsibilities: Review your Master Tasks List and see who should be responsible for getting each item done. If possible, and if it makes sense, do delegate those items on your Master Task List that can be perfectly well done by someone else in your organization. Besides providing balance to your work load, this is a great opportunity to provide growth, training, and to build responsibility. Do not, however, remove this task from your Master Tasks List as you are still ultimately responsible for it getting done. Either tag it as being assigned to "so-and -so", or create a sub-list for assigned tasks. Another possible option is to just decide not to do a certain task. This is not recommended for any important tasks, however there's not a task list I've ever seen that doesn't have one or two items that require no action at all and are kept on the list because of guilt, self-loathing, or wishful thinking.
- Schedule Your Time: Only when you have a complete list of what tasks need to be done, either by you directly or by those you've assigned work to, can you even attempt to plan out your schedule for next week. What to do first, and when? I can't tell you this, nobody can. What are your goals for next week? Don't have any, then stop now and decide on a few. So first, prioritize what's most important to meet your goals, and nail down certainties. For instance, you may know that a certain project is "hot", so you need to get that under control early in the week. Or, there may be a certain day and time that something "has" to happen, like a meeting or appointment on a certain day at a certain time. So plug those items into your schedule, and now those are out of your way. Work your way down your list, shuffle, rearrange, manage and think. If you don't control your schedule, others will do it for you! What will not fit into next week needs to be scheduled in future weeks.
- Self-Reflection & Assessment: Take a step back. Relax and take three deep healing breaths...slowly breathe in... breathe out. Or whatever it takes for you to objectively look at your lists, schedules, and progress without guilt, revisionist history, or justifications. Again, please do recognize and take enjoyment from those things that you did well, completed on time, and were successful at. Don't, however, make this a pity-party or a time for excuses. It's hard, but objectively look at yourself to learn what is working, and what isn't working. Did you schedule too much? Well then, for next week try to inject a little more reality into your schedule. Did you do too little? Doubtful. But again, this is the time to make necessary adjustments. Did you meet or exceed your goals? Maybe you got a lot of things accomplished, but they weren't the most important and goal related tasks on your Master Tasks List. We tend to first tackle the easy tasks and put off doing the more important tasks on our agendas. So learn from your experience, learn about yourself (motivation and avoidance), and focus on doing things better. Remember, in general, do more of the things that went well and you were successful at. Otherwise, recognize where there is room for improvement, plan accordingly, and make changes in your behavior or how your tasks get done, in order to do better.