How I Map Out a Successful Week

Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
1111
successful week hero.jpg

One question I'm frequently asked is about time management. How do I schedule work, family, and personal events in an effective way? To be fair, I'm not always successful at achieving a perfect balance, but I've implemented a few processes that help me benchmark whether I'm using my time wisely. Each Sunday night, I go to bed with the same goal: to feel satisfied about the previous week and to outline what I'd like to accomplish over the next seven days. Here are the five things I do to map out a successful week.

1. Look at the week on a macro level. In order to have a good sense of the week ahead, I first look at my schedule on a larger scale. I pay attention to how many meetings I have, so that if there's a day when I won't be in the office, I'll know ahead of time to front load work the day before so that it still gets done on time. I'm diligent about my to-do lists, but make sure to build in wiggle room for unexpected delays. This also applies to our meal planning, so that if I see that G and I will both be home for dinner on Monday and Tuesday night, but I have plans Wednesday night, we buy the appropriate groceries. In the past, we did one big shopping haul, only to realize that food was going to waste on those nights when nobody was home to cook. By looking at the week as a whole, it helps me know what to expect each day so that I have realistic goals and can execute against them.

2. Maintain rituals. I find sticking to a routine ensures that each day is productive. I'm a creature of habit, but it's even more important now with Sloan, because babies (at least ours!) do really well with predictable schedules. Each day looks more or less the same. I get up at around 6:30, wash my face, apply lotion, then go into the kitchen. I make Sloan's breakfast (she typically rotates between eggs and chicken sausage, waffles with greek yogurt, oatmeal with bananas or cottage cheese with berries) and while I prepare it, I drink a cup of warm water with lemon. After she finishes her breakfast, we go for a 45-minute walk and then come home and I shower, do my makeup, and change into my clothes for the day (whether that's my work attire or a casual look for the weekend). I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times each day and make sure Sloan has a whole ritual around going to sleep (which includes dinner, bath time, reading, a bottle and then a lullaby). I respond to emails at specific times (so that I'm not answering sporadically throughout the day, interrupting other tasks), take designated breaks, and end work by a certain hour.  

3. Always have something to look forward to. I'm a big fan of positive reinforcement and believe that each day and week should be peppered with things that get me excited. Sometimes those things are small (diving into a TV series, or ordering in from my favorite restaurant) and other times they're bigger (like this recent girls' trip), but they make a difference and keep my regimented schedule (see #2) from feeling monotonous. 

4. Identify what motivates you. We all find motivation in different places and I think it's important to acknowledge what drives you. For me, it comes from one main place: fear of failure. I'm competitive and never want to feel as though I've become complacent or that I'm not reaching my potential. I've been asked before what compelled me to continue working on my blog in the beginning when, for months, I received essentially no traffic. And it was based on fear. Even though I had no comprehension of the scope of what the site could lead to, I was scared to stop since I felt like that was giving up. Now I set goals for myself (and the company) each quarter so that I have something concrete to work towards on a weekly basis. It helps me from ever feeling complacent and serves as a constant motivator to always try and push myself.

 5. Take care of the little things. A little organization goes a long way in simplifying my life. Since my job is public-facing, seemingly trivial things, like making sure my hair is done and my nails are polished, are pretty important. But I also don't want to spend too much time or energy on them, so I make sure to take care of everything by the time Monday rolls around (I'm lucky that a blowout lasts me nearly seven days), so I start the week looking and feeling my best. The same goes for planning my outfits based on my schedule that week, handling our food prep, and making sure any loose ends (returns, errands, etc.) are handled so that I can focus on the bigger picture.

P.S. - A more complete picture of my morning routine (though it's changed a bit since October, along with Sloan's rapidly evolving habits), and my time-saving tips