Congratulations on making it this far! I'm excited to share with you three simple ways you can win your week. As I said in the last lesson, if you can't win your week, how could you win your month, year, or life?
Learning how to plan your week really zones in on the action part of the bigger picture. You have an idea of where you're going, and this is where the progress happens. This is also a great place to start if you're feeling overwhelmed and like you can't even grasp thinking further than a year or 90 days.
Theme Your Days
This tip changed everything in my life after I learned it from copywriter Joanna Wiebe. Theming your days means each day of the week has its own theme and specific types of work that falls under the umbrella of that theme. The idea is to prevent you from context switching, which is a huge productivity killer. Science has shown that switching from one task to another has a focus delay of 20 minutes. When you go from writing to answering an email to creating something on Canva, your mind becomes like a pin ball machine. Switching tasks causes a loss in focus, energy, and output.
By theming your days, you allow the mind to stay within one lane and therefore create an efficient flow of output. For example, I have two client days a week. On those days, I only focus on client work and delivery. That means creating sites or emails, then answering questions and doing discovery calls.
Another day is set for marketing and business development. That's where I spend time promoting my podcast, answering questions my team has, making sure social posts are ready, and reaching out to connections for possible collaborations and interviews.
Another day is set aside for content creation and authority building. This is when I focus solely on writing and creating.
So you get the idea. The most important thing to remember is on marketing and business development days, I'm not doing client work or write long form blog posts. On client days, I'm not working on anything marketing related. The purpose is to keep your brain in one lane per day, and that's when you'll watch your productivity skyrocket.
Since adopting this habit, I've been able to get more done than I ever have before. When you have theme days, it's like you're comforting your ego. You're letting it know there's a time and place for everything, so there's no need to worry. If you're working on client work, you don't need to keep thinking about your marketing plan. You have a day set aside where you can focus on it. You give yourself permission to be singular in focus on any given day. It's the best.
Every Sunday Schedule the Week Ahead
Or every Friday when you finish work for the week. Whichever works for you. I switch between the two. On Friday's you're in the work mindset already, so you're better able to know what's most important to get done in the next week. But Sunday's work great, too.
I like to keep a physical planner and schedule my week by hand. So the way I explain this tip will be from that context. If you're purely digital, you can still tweak what I say to fit your needs. I love doing this because when you start your workweek on Monday, and everything is scheduled out, it's as if an assistant managed your time for you, and all you have to do is show up. I love it.
When you're scheduling your week, write down the theme for each day at the top of their columns. Or make it a recurring appointment on your calendar. Then, write in your non-negotiables first. Those are things like exercise, morning routine, a lunch break, and creative work. Things you MUST create time for in order to feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled. For every morning, I block out time for writing, my morning routine, an hour lunch, then plug in exercise in the afternoons on certain days.
Next, ask yourself, "What are the most important things to have done by 5 pm on Friday?" Write those down. The cool thing is that if you've set that vision for the year and even for the next 90 days, you should be able to answer this with confidence every week. What are the things that, if you finished, would move the needle forward? Block out time for those.
After those are scheduled, go into your digital calendar or wherever you book calls and appointments and fill those into your week. By now, you should see a clear picture of what your schedule looks like this week.
At this point, see if there are any empty time slots. What could you use those for? Rest? Working on a project? If your schedule is maxed out, does your schedule feel good to you? If not, where could you change how your time is spent?
Alright, now there's one more thing I want you to think about when scheduling your weeks. Which brings us to #3.
Guarantee Recovery Every Day
This is another awesome tip I learned from Brendon Burchard and one that's tough at first but so rewarding (and a game-changer) when you make it a habit.
Too often, after people spend most of the day working, they crash, maybe watch tv, go to bed, then repeat. Or something similar to that. Their energy is completely drained, and they've lost that sense of intention. The thing is...by waking up and repeating that cycle, your energy doesn't have a moment to truly regenerate. You need to guarantee for yourself that you'll have recovery moments.
Afternoon workouts are great. Schedule a walk right after work with your significant other, your kids, by yourself, or whichever to wind down. Other examples are no social media after 6 pm. No electronics after 8 pm. Taking hour lunch breaks. Giving yourself a week off after burning both ends of the candle for months.
Scan your schedule for the week and make sure you have a recovery activity written down for every day. This is how you set yourself up for consistent productivity. By being mindful of your energy, deliberate with your time, and creating boundaries.
Productivity doesn't exist when there's no intention or meaning behind what you're doing. Anything outside of that is busy work. Anxiety. Stress. And of course, you'll still feel stress some days, but rather than let it discourage you, you'll see it as a signal to rest or to change something moving forward.
When you feel frustrated, you'll have the comfort of knowing that everything you're doing is with intention and purpose and may find yourself being more patient or hopeful.
With any of the tips I've shared throughout this course, I ask that you give yourself time to test them out. Allow yourself the room to adjust and mold them to what works best for you. My week and these days may not look like yours. My morning routine may not either. And that's a great thing! Everything mentioned is meant to be a solid foundation and framework, then you get to pick which building blocks to put on that foundation.
During this time of discovery, you may find yourself frustrated or wanting to dip back into old habits. It's a normal and natural process of changing habits. The discipline is always needed most at the beginning. So in the next lesson, I'll talk about some ways you can support yourself when you need to get back into the flow. See you there.