If you hadn’t already guessed from my incessant mention of it on Instagram, I’m an organisation FREAK. I can’t leave my house in the morning unless I’ve made the bed and my life pretty much revolves around making lists. Acceptance is the first step to recovery as they say.
It’s kind of a necessary evil if, like me, you work for yourself alongside a full-time job though. The bed making part maybe not so much but the lists and planning I can’t live without when it comes to keeping on top of my freelance work.
If you could use a little help in the organisation department, here’s how I plan my week to make sure it’s as productive as possible.
Planning my diary is an essential first step. I include everything from my weekly salsa session to any nights I know I’ll need to work late at my full-time job. It helps to give me a realistic idea of what I can and can’t do freelance-wise over the next seven days. I colour code by activity too (just when you thought I couldn’t get any sadder), highlighting leisure in pink, birthdays in orange and work in blue so I can clearly see what kind of week I have ahead. It also helps draw attention to any periods that have been overly work-heavy and encourages me to schedule in some downtime.
Create to-do lists – plural!
Then come the lists. I’ve written a whole post about how I write efficient to-do lists but, as a general rule, I split them into work and life and then again into ‘right now’ and ‘at some point’. The ‘at some points’ are things like working on my website that don’t really have a deadline whereas the ‘right nows’ are blog posts and social scheduling I do on a weekly basis.
Give each task a day
Once I’ve got my lists, I assign the urgent tasks to a day of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are usually my most productive days so I focus on getting the majority of my client work and emails done then. Blog post writing and Pinterest scheduling I like to save for weekends. Whichever way it works that week, breaking up the workload by day makes everything seem a lot more manageable.
I actually use a planner with tearable pages and a column for each day of the week for this which makes the whole process a lot more straight forward.
Despite being organisation-obsessed, not even I manage to tick all of my to-dos off every week which is why it’s important to be flexible with the planning process. Sometimes, the creativity just doesn’t flow and catching up on Queer Eye is the only thing I have the mental capacity for. Others, juggling two jobs, a semi-regular gym schedule and a social life just means that some tasks inevitably get taken over to next week’s list. I’m ok with that. I’ve come to realise a bit of chill time and a Netflix binge are a very necessary part of my weekly plans if I’m going to get in the mindset for productivity.
How do you plan for the week ahead? Any tips to add to the list?