Are you a planner or a procrastinator? Do you love to make lists and check off tasks or do you prefer to go from project to project and finish things at the last minute?
I am a planner. I love to make plans and check off tasks, but I also love to come up with new ideas while doing tasks, which can take me off track. What I have learned over the years to help keep me on track is to plan my week in advance.I have found that planning can save the day. As Alan Lakein said “Failing to plan is
planning to fail.” I have found this to be true over and over in my life both personally and professionally. Whether you are a dance teacher, administrator, or owner it is important that you take some time to plan your work for ultimate success. As we all know a little preparation goes a long way!
Have you ever been through a week that you just went through the motions without a concrete plan and reacted to all of the things around you? If so, think about how that made you feel. Now think about a time that you planned ahead, accomplished a bunch of tasks and projects and felt like you ruled the week? How did that make you feel?
We would all select the way we felt in the second example over and over, but we still don’t always plan out our time for one reason or another. I am going to share four strategies that work well for me to help me feel like I won the week!
Plan each week on Sunday
- I spend about 30 minutes each Sunday planning my week. I go over my
calendar and scheduled events and appointments and then I plan tasks and
- This helps me see the week at a glance as well as what each day looks like.
- I take about 15 minutes each week to analyze my calendar to see where I spent my time the prior week. I look to see how I did on completing my tasks. This is also where I see if I have loaded my weeks to full, which is something I tend to do. When you spend time analyzing your calendar each week, you can learn alot about how you manage your time and make the necessary adjustments.
Block time for projects, tasks, and events
- As you are making your plans for the week, be sure to block time for any projects, tasks, and events that you have. This is a game changer for sure. Spend 10-15 minutes each week planning where you will add the projects and tasks and be sure to look at your calendar so you don’t plan important projects right before, during, or after an event.
- When I am blocking time for a project, I make sure to block extra time around big projects to make sure I have time to complete them and then have time to look it over.
- Another thing to consider is blocking time when you are at your best and will have minimal distractions. You don’t want to set up a block of time for a big project when you are tired or there will be many distractions. It is important to know when you are at your best. I am best for creative tasks first thing in the morning, so that is when I plan big tasks and projects. My energy and brain power goes way down around 2:00 p.m., so that is the best time for me to do tasks like checking my email, running errands, or doing simple small tasks. This may not be the case for you. If you are not sure, keep a notebook for a week and track what work tasks you are doing, how you feel while you are doing them and how long it takes you. This will help you see when you are at your best and will in turn help you plan your days.
- A very helpful tool is to set reminders to help you stay on track, accomplish tasks and to show up on time to events. As creative types, we can easily get lost in projects and in turn end up arriving late to important events. I have found that setting reminders has really helped me to stay on track, accomplish my tasks, and always show up on time.
My challenge for you this week is to spend time planning ahead for your job and pay attention to what you accomplish and how you feel. Take baby steps to create great plans for each day. You will be happy you did and you will see your productivity soar.
Pam Simpson is the founder, president, and driving force behind Forte Arts Center, which was established in Morris, Illinois in 1993. In addition to building her business from a small, one room studio to a large, multi-location organization that offers dance, tumbling and cheer programs as well as private music lessons, Pam is a leading force in the realm of small business ownership in the dance and tumbling industries as she travels all over the country speaking to and educating for large organizations such as Rhee Gold Company, Dance Teacher Summit, and More Than Just Great Dancing. When not working on her businesses, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her daughter, who is a performer at Walt Disney World.