11 Ways To Plan The Most Productive Week Ever

If you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for productivity and organisation tips. I love being time efficient (sounds lame but it’s true) and making the most of my day. 

I know fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs have some struggles here. I definitely did when I first started. I was always wondering how I should plan my workday to get the best results!

Do you ever find yourself asking these questions?

How do I increase productivity?
How can I spend more time on what’s actually important?
How do I stay focused at work?
Which tools and products will help me keep productive?

Well, you’re in the right place, pal! 

I’m here to give you a whole fifteen tips on how to plan out your most productive week EVER. You can also grab yourself a free blog post planner if you stick around 😉

11 Ways To Plan The Most Productive Week Ever | Struggling to keep motivated and stay focused? Need some productivity tips to plan your week? You've come to the right place, pal! These tips are perfect for bloggers, small business owners & creative entrepreneurs. Click through to read my 11 ways to plan your most productive week ever PLUS get access to my free blog post planner!

PLANNING

Set Weekly Goals

Start by setting your goals for the week.

This is something I’ve started doing fairly recently and the effects have been amazing. It’s been great for keeping focused when I have a million and one tasks and ideas I want to work on. I start each week by saying “okay, this week I’m focusing on X, Y & Z and I’m going to achieve A, B & C!” 

To set your weekly goals, just answer the following question: what do you want to achieve this week and how will you get there? 

Your goals could be as little as ‘tidy desk’ or ‘create new Asana board’ or as big as ‘reach 800 Instagram followers’ or ‘book 2 new clients’. 

Not sure if setting goals will be beneficial to you? Think again. Here are 5 reasons you need to be setting goals in your blog or business:

  • Accountability. By writing your goals down, you are holding yourself accountable to achieving them. It may sound silly, but believe me, it works. 
  • Gratification. When you reach a goal, you’ll feel amazing about it. Big goals, little goals - a goal is a challenge and every time you complete it, you’ll feel accomplished and it will make you super happy you set goals in the first place.
  • Motivation. That feeling of gratification won’t come out of nowhere. Nope. Goals will keep you motivated and on the right track to get to where you want to be.
  • Progress. When you have something to work towards, you will actually make great progress in your business. Goals also help you measure your progress - when you achieve one, you can set a larger one, and so on. 
  • Focus. Once you’ve set yourself some goals, you’ll feel super focused. You’ll know what you’re working towards in your blog or business, and you can stop flying from one idea to the next.

Related: The Ultimate Guide On How To Set Business Goals (includes FREE Goal Getter Goodies)

Action: Set weekly goals for your blog or business and write them down on a post-it note or create a new goal-card for the week to print and have on your desk.

Declutter Your Workspace

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge neat-freak and I can’t work on a messy desk. A tidy desk is a tidy mind - that’s the saying, right?

Spend 20 minutes or so at the end of your week to declutter your workspace and get it ready for your epic productive week ahead!

I strongly recommend in investing in Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying to find out how to best declutter and re-organise your workspace! I got this as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and it’s changed the way I think about everything when it comes to clearing out and organising my space. Definitely worth the read!

Action: Simple - have a tidy and declutter your space! Go go go!
11 Ways To Plan The Most Productive Week Ever | Struggling to keep motivated and stay focused? Need some productivity tips to plan your week? You've come to the right place, pal! These tips are perfect for bloggers, small business owners & creative entrepreneurs. Click through to read my 11 ways to plan your most productive week ever PLUS get access to my free blog post planner!

Batch Tasks

Say hello to my new BFF!

I remember the days when I didn’t batch tasks and I was ALL over the place. Spending 20 minutes on my Instagram each day, 30 minutes working on my blog every other day, and checking Facebook groups every 5 minutes for ways to interact with potential clients - it was exhausting, to say the least.

Batching tasks essentially means blocking out time to complete a certain group of tasks. You can do this every day (i.e. 20 minutes from 9:10am to 9:30am each day to check emails), weekly (i.e. scheduling all your social media content for the week on a Sunday) or monthly (i.e. create a new pillar blog post on the last Sunday of every month). 

This method improves productivity, keeps you focused, and it’s actually quite fun!

For more info on batching your tasks, have a read of these awesome guides:

Action: Write a list of all the tasks you do each and every week. Are there any you can group together? How long will each of these groups take? Now pick a day to do each of these tasks on and trial a weekly batching schedule for the next couple of weeks. You won’t regret it!

Prioritise Tasks

You need to keep your tasks prioritised so you know exactly what you need to do first and what can wait. If you don’t prioritise, it’s like the equivalent of trying to bake a cake with instructions in the wrong order. 

In order to have a productive week, plan out your tasks in time blocks (oh hi again, batching) and label each task/batch with a high, medium or low priority label. I like to use three different coloured highlighters to help me quickly see what needs to be done today and what can wait until tomorrow.

Action: List everything you need to get done this week and prioritise your tasks using my highlighter method!

Schedule In Advance

Save yourself time during the week and schedule all your social media posts, blog posts & emails in advance. 

I use the batch scheduling method to plan out and schedule all my Instagram posts and emails throughout the week. My Twitter and Facebook posts are already scheduled in and and loop around thanks to MeetEdgar and having BoardBooster means I never have to worry about my Pinterest being inactive again.

To plan and schedule my Instagram feed, I use Planoly. Planoly is an amazing visual planner and scheduling app that helps you visualise your feed, track your analytics, and monitor comments on your posts. 

Related: Why I Use Planoly To Plan My Instagram Feed

When it comes to scheduling emails to your mailing list, you can’t get better than ConvertKit. Not only can you schedule emails in advance, you can track subscribers with bespoke tags, create scheduled email sequences (I use this feature for my free email courses), custom design your email templates, and more!

Action: Pick a day of the week (either Sunday or Monday work best for me) to plan out and schedule an entire week’s worth of social media and email content. If you post to your blog more than twice a week, you might want to pick a day to schedule that in advance too!

Download My Free Blog Post Planner

Speaking of planning your blog, use my free blog post planner to brainstorm new blog post ideas for the week, check you’ve got all the right elements in place and maintain your old posts so your content is always up to date!

There is also a calendar aspect of my free planner so you can use this to organise when your posts will go live and check-in each week to see what you need to schedule for the upcoming week.

Action: Download the planner here!

Plan Your Week On Paper

Now you’ve set your goals, organised your workload into batch days, prioritised your tasks and scheduled everything in advance, you’re going to want to see an overview of your week. 

Use an IRL paper planner to plan out your week so you can get a good idea of what each day will look like. 

I recently purchased the Refresh Weekly Planner by J.Lynn Designery and I LOVE it. Each month has a monthly spready so you can plan big events/launch days/birthdays/etc and the weekly spread has space for AM/PM tasks AND to-do lists. Perfect!

 

I also love that the Saturday and Sunday spaces are the same size as every other weekend - great for the weekend hustlers among us!

There’s also a notes section at the end of the week, which is the perfect size for a little ‘weekly thanks’ - I like to say 3 things I’m thankful for that week to get me thinking positive for the next week to come.

I’ve been using this planner each week to plan the week ahead and it’s really increased my work productivity. I couldn’t have found a better weekly planner if I tried!

Action: Plan out your week in your weekly planner or invest in the Refresh Weekly Planner if you haven’t got a 2017 planner yet!

ACTIONING

Try the Pomodoro Technique

Okay, this is quite new to me but I’ve been recommending it to everyone since I got started with it. 

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method where you use a timer to block your tasks down to 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between each ‘pomodoro’.

Learn more about it here.

When I find myself starting to lose focus, I say to myself ‘okay, I’m going to get X done in the next 25 minutes’. I pop my Simple Pomodoro timer on for 25 minutes and focus on what needs to get done. 

After the timer is up, a nice little break reminder message pops up and I set the timer for a 5 minute break. I use this time to browse Facebook, scroll Instagram, reply to emails, etc. Then get back to the task at hand for another 25 minutes - and so on, and so forth!

I would recommend using this technique if you:

  • Tend to get lost down the rabbit hole of social media instead of doing work
  • Always take longer than expected to complete a simple task
  • Find yourself procrastinating more than working on what matters

Personally, I’ve found this technique to be the most helpful when I’m working with clients on their social media accounts. It’s so easy for me to get lost on Pinterest when I’m already on their for a client. This technique means I can say ‘this looks interesting, but I’ll save it for my 5 minute break!’

Action: Install a Pomodoro timer app (there’s a great one for Google Chrome here) or invest in a real Pomodoro timer and start implementing this technique! 
11 Ways To Plan The Most Productive Week Ever | Struggling to keep motivated and stay focused? Need some productivity tips to plan your week? You've come to the right place, pal! These tips are perfect for bloggers, small business owners & creative entrepreneurs. Click through to read my 11 ways to plan your most productive week ever PLUS get access to my free blog post planner!

Track Your Tasks in Asana

Asana is my new productivity BFF. I tried a couple of online task trackers before; Wunderlist, HelloFocus, Trello, etc. But nothing stuck until Asana.

I LOVE the calendar aspect of Asana so you can see what’s coming up and drag and drop tasks to another day if necessary. Also, Asana have recently introduced a boards feature, which is great for tracking a repetitive workflow (i.e creating a new blog post or onboarding a new client). 

I definitely recommend using Asana to pop in what you need to get done each week to help you visualise your workflow. If you want to learn more about the benefits of using Asana, take a look at this great blog post from Lauren Hooker at Elle & Company.

Action: Sign-up to Asana and start plotting in your tasks for the week with deadlines and notes. You can even delegate tasks to others if you have a team! 

Spend Less Time In Your Inbox

This one is probably not for everyone and will definitely depend on the way you work personally.

I find that the less time I spend in my inbox, the better. I schedule certain times of day to check my inbox and try to stay out of it for the rest of the day. Otherwise, I find myself replying to emails here and there all day - something that disjoints my day and limits my productivity. 

Action: Pick 3 times of day to check your inbox. Set timers to remind you and keep that tab closed for the rest of the day!

Write Down Your Tasks The Night Before

This 5 minute job will help you save so much time the next morning. When you’re done for the day with your blog or business, take a moment to write down what you need to do the next day.

Maybe it will include things you didn’t have the time to accomplish today or even things you forgot about. Don’t forget to prioritise this list too so you know exactly what you have to focus on when you get to your workspace in the morning.

Action: At the end of your workday, bullet point 3 to 5 things you need to get done tomorrow. Highlight the most important tasks and leave your work behind - you’re done for the day!

How do you plan your week?

I really hope these tips helped you to plan your most productive week! 

Do you have any personal tips or productivity hacks that help you plan your week?

Tell us in the comments - let's geek out over productivity tips!

Download your FREE Blog Post Planner here!

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The Ultimate Guide On How To Set Business Goals

I recently had a major goal and planning session for my business. I felt wide awake at 12:30am and decided to sit down with a blank Google Doc and really think about where I wanted to be by the end of next year. 

It was pretty daunting and I struggled to get started. But, once I did, the words flew out of me like Buckbeak flew outta Hogwarts - and it felt great!

I know first-hand how hard it is to really think about what your goals are and the challenges of putting them into writing, so I wanted to pull together an ultimate guide for you to do the same for your business.

Keep reading to learn how to set goals for your small or creative business and why it’s so important!

The Ultimate Guide On How To Set Business Goals | Do you struggle to sit down and set goals for your small business? This guide will help you tackle your fears, find your vision and gain clarity in setting aims and objectives for your business. Click through to read this ultimate guide and grab your FREE goal getting goodies pack! This guide is perfect for creative entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to set business goals and boost biz productivity!

Why you need to set goals

If you’re not used to setting goals for your business, you might be reading this thinking ‘bleugh, what a waste of time. I’m doing just fine without ‘em!’ 

I used to think the same.

I thought, what’s the point in setting goals - it’s not going to make me work harder or make any more money. It’s not going to help me get to where I want to be.

Oh, gal was I wrong.

Here are 5 reasons you NEED to be setting goals for your business:

  1. AccountabilityBy writing your goals down, you are holding yourself accountable to achieving them. It may sound silly, but believe me, it works. Last Monday, I set 5 weekly goals (which I’ll get onto later) I wanted to achieve by Friday night - and I did it! All 5 goals were checked off and I felt great about it!
  2. Gratification. Just like I said, when you reach a goal, you’ll feel amazing about it. Big goals, little goals - a goal is a challenge and every time you complete it, you’ll feel accomplished and it will make you super happy you set goals in the first place.
  3. Motivation. That feeling of gratification won’t come out of nowhere. Nope. Goals will keep you motivated and on the right track to get to where you want to be. If ‘past Zoe’ set a goal to reach a certain number of new clients in a month, then ‘present Zoe’ really should stop scrolling through Facebook. You see what I mean?
  4. Progress. When you have something to work towards, you will actually make great progress in your business. Goals also help you measure your progress - when you achieve one, you can set a larger one, and so on. It helps you understand how fast your business is growing and goals can act as a warning sign if you’re not achieving them on time.
  5. Focus. Once you’ve set yourself some biz goals, you’ll feel super focused. You’ll know what you’re working towards in your business, and you can stop flying from one idea to the next. The more goals you set yourself, the less focus you’ll have so take it easy if this is your first time!
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Tips before you get started

Before you start your mammoth goal-planning sesh, you’re going to want to make sure you’re ready to think clearly and realistically about your small business.

Clear your mind

Go for a walk. Take a long bath. Listen to calming music. Make sure your mind is free of worry and stress so you can completely focus on your business.

Get somewhere quiet

I know this can be hard for some, but try to find a quiet spot before you get started on planning your goals. 

Turn off your devices and notifications

You want to be in a distraction free zone, folks. That means phones away. Tabs closed. TV off. You get the jist.

Get focused

If you have anything that makes you feel super focused, do it now. I love drinking a cup of coffee to get me into the work zone (even at stupidly unhealthy hours of the day). Whatever it is that gets you into the right mindset, take the time to do it before you move onto the next step.

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Realise your ‘why’

When setting goals, it’s easy to get lost in the nitty gritty and forget about your ‘why’.

Your ‘why’ is the reason you are running your business in the first place - it should be a deep-rooted purpose and much more personal than just about making money.

It could be that you want to have control over your lifestyle. You want to be your own boss because you love having a say in what you do and when you do it.

Maybe you want to travel more and live that laptop lifestyle every entrepreneur dreams of. 

Perhaps you’re ‘why’ is more family focused - you want to be around the house more to help your children with their homework, or see your baby girl take her first steps. You’re sick of missing out on everything and you want to be there for them.

On the other hand, your ‘why’ could be based on self-care. You have days where you can barely get out of bed, let alone go to an office job. You work hard every day so you know you’re going to be fine when you don’t want to work at all.

Your ‘why’ should be the reason behind every decision you make in your business. If you ever come to a crossroads and one path leads you away from your ‘why’, head in the other direction, my friend - even if it’s not the easiest path to take.

Think about the big picture

Okay, so you’ve defined your ‘why’, now you need to think about your big picture goals. These should be large targets you want to achieve by the end of the year. 

I can’t tell you what your company goals should be, but here are some ideas that might get your cogs turning:

  • Set an income goal. If you want to make a certain amount next year, go ahead and write it down. 
  • Set a goal based on sales or bookings. You may be focused on the number of clients or customers you get instead of the amount of money they bring in. If you want to work with 10 new clients in the next 6 months, or you want to sell to 5 customers overseas, they are great goals to start with.
  • Set a reputation goal. Want to be recognised for your expertise or become to go-to gal for something in your niche? Yaaas, get ambitious and write it down as a goal for next year!
  • Set a growth goal. If you want your Instagram following to reach a certain number or your want your email list to grow by 50%, add this to your list of big-picture goals.

These are just ideas but you know your business and your current situation best.

Break these big goals down into smaller goals

Okay, you’ve got your big picture goals - now you just need to think about how you’re going to achieve them!

I like to break my big goals down into 2 or 3 ‘mini goals’  (or objectives). These mini goals will just help you clarify exactly how you’re going to reach your big-picture goals!

For example, if you want to sell 10 of your highest priced packages in 2017, you might want to create a free email course that reaches 200 students, create a Facebook group that reaches 500 members and add 5 past clients to your referral scheme. You get me?

To help you define your business objectives, get started by answering these 5 simple questions:

  • What steps do you need to take in order to reach this big picture goal?
  • What obstacles will be in your way and how will you overcome them?
  • How many of your products or services do you need to sell in order to reach this goal?
  • How many new clients or customers do you need in order to reach this goal?
  • Do you need to write a certain number of blog posts/appear on podcasts/present webinars/etc to achieve this goal? If so, how many?

Of course, these questions might not apply to your goals or your business but they should help you get started!

Your goals need to be SMART

I feel like I’m back in Business class but this is an extremely important step in the goal setting process.

With every mini goal you set, make sure they are SMART. 

Specific. Have you detailed the who’s, what’s, how’s, why’s and when’s? Get as specific as you can for each goal you set. You don’t want it to be super vague.

Measurable. Can you easily track the progress of this goal? If you have a goal to reach a certain number of product orders, this is easy to measure. One of my big picture goals is to be seen as an expert in influencer marketing but I have made it measurable by setting smaller goals alongside it (i.e. be invited to speak on 2 podcasts).

Attainable. How realistic is this goal for your business? It’s great to dream big but don’t aim for the stars if you haven’t built your spaceship yet. By the same token, don’t make your goals super duper easy to attain - you won’t actually benefit much from really easy to achieve goals.

Relevant. Remember your ‘why’? Think about if your goal is relevant to your ‘why’ and if it is inline with your vision for your business. Is your goal consistent with your other goals? Do they all link together well?

Timely. Your goal should include a time limit. When do you want to achieve your aim by? Within 30 days, six months, a year? Getting specific about your timescale will help you focus your tasks, which will help you with your time-management skills!

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Set weekly goals each Monday

Since working out my goals for next year, I’ve realised how much of a #goaldigger I am and I’ve decided to start setting four or five goals for my blog and business each Monday morning.

This takes me around 5 minutes to think about and write down but it saves me so much time in procrastination and gives me an invaluable level of focus each week.

Examples of weekly goals could be:

  • Post on Instagram once per day this week
  • Write one 1,500 word blog post
  • Finish one module of new e-course
  • Gain one new client
  • Start on marketing plan for business
  • Update 5 old blog posts

And so on, and so forth!

I wasn’t sure how much setting weekly goals would help or whether it would even be worth the time - but it’s honestly been so rewarding to achieve them all! It feels like I’m progressing with my business and getting one step closer to my big end-of-year goals!  

How to keep track of your goals

Depending on the type of goals you have, you might want to create a visual aid to help you keep track of your progress. 

You can track how close you are to achieving a goal by creating an outline that you fill in whenever you get one step closer. Bleurgh, that didn’t really make much sense - did it?

Let me give you an example!

If you want to sell 100 spots on your first e-course, you could draw a 10x10 grid on a large piece of card and fill in one of the squares whenever anyone enrolls in your course. Gradually, as students enroll, your grid will fill up and you’ll feel more and more accomplished! You could even use different colours for each square to make it bright and colourful!

Here are a few other ideas on how to track your goals:

  • Create a spreadsheet or Gantt chart to track your progress
  • Use a chalkboard to write your big and small goals and cross off each goal you achieve
  • Get creative with colourful post-it notes on a whiteboard - move goals from ‘aims’ to ‘achievements’ columns when you reach them
  • Create a certain number blank profiles for clients you want to book - each time you book a new client, illustrate the outline to represent your new client!

Okay, that last one was kinda silly but I still like the idea ;)

Basically, tracking your process has two distinct advantages. It acts as a visual reminder for you to keep motivated and stay on track to achieving your goals. Plus, it acts as a reminder of how much you have achieved when you start to reach your goals!

It’s a win-win scenario!

Tell me about your goals

I really hope this guide was helpful for you to think about setting business goals.

I’d love to hear what your goals are for your business in 2017 and how you hope to achieve them! Let me know in the comments and we can have a chat about it :)


Grab your FREE Goal Getter Goodies!

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