Three simple steps to a productive week

During the pandemic, my definition of a productive workweek changed. With extra time on my hands, I had time to reflect on what was truly important to me in my life, and guess what, spending extra time on my work at the expense of things like my family and my health didn’t make sense.

Over time, I developed the following strategy to help me plan for a productive week.

I’m happy to share my simple plan with you below in hopes that it will help you define what a productive week looks like to you.

Over the next week, try focusing on three things:

  1. When you wake up, spend five minutes and chart out how you will spend your time for the day. This should include everything from work obligations, to exercise and your creative projects. I like to do this right when I wake up because if I wait until I sit down at my desk at work, I generally miss setting aside things like exercise and my meal plan.

  2. As you go through your day, chart how you actually spend your time. For example, I give myself a 60-minute working block for writing a blog post every day. Sometimes I can finish it in about an hour, sometimes, it takes me 2-hours, it just depends on my flow. I won’t actually know how much time I spend unless I chart my time as I go.

  3. Before you set your schedule for the next day, review how everything went the day before to inform your next planning steps.

That’s it!

Tip: The most important part of this process is that you make sure you get to your most important work, project, or activity each day because not every task is of equal importance.

For example, if you find that you are spending two hours on email and only one hour on our creative projects, it’s time to consider a shift in your workflow.

Need something to get you started with this plan? Here’s a great post by Tim Urban who simply breaks down the day into a series of 10-minute blocks.

What strategies do you use to have a productive week?

(Photo Credit: Matt Ragland)

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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