Use Friday To Plan The Following Week

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Many of us have little rituals to help us transition out of the work week and make the weekend as relaxing as possible. Maybe you go to happy hour; maybe you order takeout; if you’re me, maybe you tidy up your apartment and light a scented candle.

Productivity expert Laura Vanderkam suggests adding one more item to your Friday to-do list: planning the next week.

Long-time blog readers know that I always suggest people plan their weeks on Friday afternoons. This is a great time to look through the upcoming week, and make a list of top professional and personal priorities.

Vanderkam explains that Friday afternoons—or whenever your workweek ends, if you don’t work Monday through Friday—are excellent times in which to evaluate what the next week might look like, and how you can schedule that week to include not only your immediate responsibilities and tasks, but also some of those long-term, big-picture to-dos that we tend to put off.

In other words: if you’ve been itching to start a new exercise program, get the family back in the habit of regular weekday dinners (or if that doesn’t work, breakfasts), or meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in months, spend part of your Friday afternoon putting that goal on the calendar.

Vanderkam also suggests using this planning session to “triage your calendar for the next week.” Look for items that can be delegated, deleted, or declined, and then look for errands and tasks that can be batched. Maybe you’ll be able to free up a bunch of time that you can put towards a work project or personal goal—or, you know, you could simply use that time to relax.

I tend to incorporate this type of planning by month instead of by week, and it’s been immensely useful in helping me determine how many freelance and social commitments I can take on each month. If you also do these types of planning sessions, how do they work for you? Do you have a better work-life balance overall, or do you find that both work and life get in the way no matter how you try to plan and prioritise?


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