One of the most important lessons learned during my career was from a self-made multimillionaire business owner who dropped out of school after the fourth grade. While he had little formal education, he knew what he was doing and how to get things done!
His advice was simple:
Spend 5 or 10 minutes each Sunday evening to plan out your week.
He was clear he planned only the main things he wanted to get done the following week, not every little detail. If you spend more than a few minutes on this list, you are overthinking it. With practice, you will intuitively know what to put on the list.
Write it down
That little piece of advice took me far in my career, adding to my productivity tremendously throughout the years. The very act of writing it down can make a huge difference in what you accomplish. Neuroscience confirms this fact, as shown in the article: Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them.
While I changed the day from Sunday to Friday evening to clear my mind for the weekend, it was an invaluable lesson. From that point forward, my career took off. I made it a habit and continue doing it to this day.
I have added one thing to this habit over the years. I now transfer each item on the list to my calendar as an appointment. Even when I do not know precisely when I will do it, I add it as an appointment anyway.
It is a simple matter to reschedule the time and day when needed, although I seldom have to do this. Using the web-based version of Google calendar and sharing it with others is a simple matter nowadays. I share it, by the way, to build additional accountability.
Use this simple tip of spending a few minutes to plan each week, and you will find it most rewarding. Add what you want to get done to your calendar and become amazed at how much more you will accomplish!
Always remember, taking a little time to plan can save you a great deal of work, as this wise man once said:
"An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing." Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)