It is an undeniable fact that every person is totally and entirely, in every manner and aspect, primarily governed by the time factor.
So it doesn’t matter whether you are a student or a professional or even a retired person, all your routines, habits, goals and objectives in life are measured on the basis of time.
Time allocation or time governance can be measured on various scales.
These scales can be seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and even decades, either alone or in combination of one another.
But have you ever considered that there is something else that governs or defines the scope of time measurement as well.
It is the way or your understanding of using the right type of time measuring scale to know how much time to allocate into everything you do or plan to do.
This is because time is the most valuable resource that you have with you. So how you spend and measure it defines how much you value your time or what is the significance of time to you.
So what is the right type of time measuring scale?
In our opinion, measuring time in terms of week is the most appropriate way to plan time allocation and measure your performance in terms of benefits derived vs time spent.
Significance of making weekly schedules or plans rather than completely relying on other time parameters
Now perhaps you might be wondering why we put more emphasize on measuring time in terms of week and refer to it as the most suitable method of time measurement.
So to understand our opinion in a better way, consider the following cases –
Using ‘Day(s)’ as a way to measure the time spent
Given the fact that in a single year there are 365 days, you actually have 365 opportunities to change your life.
However taking into account how fast each day passes, a single day is only enough to complete very small tasks or achieve very minor goals.
Long and big goals can also be divided into as many as 365 different levels or steps of gradual progress, with adding little accomplishment each day towards achieving the final goal.
Again considering the fact that how speedily each day begins and ends, measuring your overall progress on the basis of a single day’s performance would be unjustified.
You need an aggregate of a few days of performance to check your performance level or how far you have achieved.
A clear reason for this is that even if you haven’t been able to perform on any single day, you can always do better the next day and cover up your loss from the previous day.
Using ‘Month(s)’ as a way to measure the time spent
A month generally means an equivalent of 30 days or 4 weeks. Measuring as per months can be good for achieving medium range goals.
While you can divide your monthly goals into 30 steps for each day accomplishment, measuring on the basis of each day performance is still not reliable.
The reason for this is the same as mentioned in the previous section.
On the other hand, a month can be regarded as a better but still not a good way to analyze your performance for bigger goals such as your yearly goals.
This is because a month long time is a significant portion of time spent.
Therefore for example, chances are that for any specific goal, you might be unable to figure out any critical mistake in the first few months of starting it.
Hence, realizing this mistake in between or near the end would make you regret wasting so much amount of your time and feel demotivated.
Using ‘Year(s)’ as a way to measure the time spent
Almost every one divides their entire life based on ‘Yearly’ goals.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, deliberate or spontaneous, you pretty much know about your yearly goals.
For example, you know till what age to complete you high school and enter college, start your career, get married, have children, buy a car and then a house and finally retire.
So it means that your life’s biggest and most important goals are classified on the basis of a single year or a group of years.
But what most people do is that they only rely on making yearly goals in relationship with their age and analyze their performance on a year-wise basis as well.
While this might work for few people, in most cases it turns out to be the worst possible strategy as you only have a handful of years in your entire life.
Using ‘Week(s)’ as a way to measure the time spent
Finally comes using ‘Weeks’ as a way to measure the time spent to analyze your performance.
Based on what we have discussed so far, you might have realized the significance of using weeks as a way to measure your performance.
Whether it is your monthly, yearly or lifetime goals; using week to measure them is the most appropriate way.
Taking into account the relationship between days, weeks, months and an entire year, analyzing your performance on a weekly basis can totally change the way you are making progress.
We have already discussed how measuring daily performance is unjustified, and measuring your performance with a month or year wise approach can be regretful and demotivating.
Therefore, by setting goals into a 4 week or 52 week plan where each week’s performance is critically evaluated at the end of the week, is the best approach towards time allocation.
8 Steps to plan a perfectly balanced weekly schedule
Making weekly plans is also helpful as you can divide your seven days to fulfill your different needs and responsibilities that you otherwise won’t be able to do.
For example, the time you need for entertainment or enjoyment.
It is possible that your daily schedule doesn’t allow you to have even little or no time at all for any form of entertainment.
But realizing that you are a human and not a robot, you do need some time to take your mind off from this stressful workaholic routine.
Again, deciding to take one long break each month could be a good idea but most people in such a case would then be already too much exhausted and remain unsatisifed.
Therefore setting weekly plans or incentives is also a way to keep yourself afresh, motivated and focused, and to maintain a balance in your normal life.
Probably if you are now wondering how to set your weekly goals or plans, let us now look at 8 steps to plan a perfectly balanced weekly schedule.
1. Pick out the starting point or day
To begin making your weekly plans, the first most important thing to do is to pick out the day when you want to start your week.
Generally, using your Saturday’s or Sunday’s to set your weekly schedules can be the best day to properly end your last week as well as make plans for the next.
But in any other case, such as if you do not have an off on your weekends due to the nature of your job, it is not an issue as well.
Usually people who work in a supermarket for which weekend days are rush days and bring in heavy sales, or the healthcare sector which needs to operate on a 24/7 basis, don’t get an off on Saturday’ and Sunday’s.
Instead, they get off on some other day or days of the week.
So find the most convenient day to plan your entire week, no matter if it is a weekday or a weekend.
2. Make lists of all your goals
Second most important step is to list down all the things that you would want to do during the coming week.
Whether it is important, less important or just for fun activities or any weekly portion of your long term goals, just give it some thought and then whatever comes to your mind, write it down.
At this stage, do not waste your time in deciding anything further such as the priority, importance or rewards associated with these goals.
3. Analyze your past week
If this isn’t your first time at making weekly plans, then you definitely have to analyze your last week’s performance as well.
See what you have accomplished so far and where did you go wrong.
Discard the goals that have been achieved, add new ones, upgrade your habits and routine and learn from the mistakes you made.
If any goals couldn’t be achieved during the last week, you may want to add them in the list of goals you made for your next week in step 2 above.
4. Check your calendar for any special holidays or important occasions during the next week
Before moving further, check your calendar for any special holidays such as Labor Day, bank holidays, etc. or important occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. coming up during the next week.
This way you will ascertain any extra amount of time that you might get and the extra amount of time that you will need to celebrate the important days in your life.
5. Set priorities
So far you have achieved two important things to lay down the foundation of your next week’s schedule.
First is the unsorted and extensively compiled list of all the things for the next week and few from the previous week as well.
Second, you now know the amount of time that you have and the amount of time that you need to spend on any compulsory occasion.
This means that you are now all good to set your weekly plans according to their priorities and importance.
Make two columns in front of the list of things that you have compiled so far.
In the first column, write whether it is important, semi-important, less important or totally avoidable.
In the second column, write the amount of time along with the recurring nature of the task. For example, in front of doing laundry, you might write 30 minutes after every two days, etc.
6. Make a check list or checklists with timeslots
Now that you have categorized all your tasks according to their level of importance and time allocation, it is time to formally arrange them into a checklist.
Checklists can be made into any type and format. You may search on the internet to get some really helpful and productive ideas on making a checklist.
Then depending on what format and design you choose, you can rely on a single checklist for an entire week or make several checklists with time slots.
Several checklists mean making one aggregate checklist for an entire week along with one checklist for each day of the week.
In each checklist, start writing your goals on the basis of the most important things first, followed by the semi-important and then the less important in the last.
If possible, you may also make a different checklist to distinguish between your normal routine habits and goals.
This way you save time while making the checklist for the next week since you will have very little changes to make to your normal routine habits checklist.
Remember that while one checklist can be enough to keep a track of an entire week’s performance, a daily checklist in addition to a week’s checklist, will give more details and insights on your performance.
7. Keep buffer and contingency time slots
Never underestimate the importance of having a buffer time in between two consecutive tasks or the need of having contingency time slots.
Some tasks are very stressful both for your mind and body, so it is possible that once you finish one such task, you would definitely need some time to rest before starting the next one.
In addition to this, always keep some time for contingencies as well.
Remember that no matter how well you plan and perform, there is always a chance of getting delayed due to reasons that will be beyond your control.
So keep some extra time as well so that you do not panic and face unnecessary stress.
8. Be willing to sacrifice
For extreme and rare cases, be willing to sacrifice any other activity in order to meet the goal of the most important tasks first.
For example, reducing your sleep time, the time you spend watching television, using a car or bike even to travel at short walkable distances, outsourcing a few routine tasks, etc. are all such cases of making some extra time by sacrificing other things.
Given the above 8 steps on planning your weekly schedule for a balanced week, we are sure that starting next week, you will hopefully see a significant difference in the way you allocate and spend your time.
But as a last advice, whatever you do or are doing, make sure to give one hundred percent to it. Put all your energy and effort and stay focused as much as you can.
Make it a habit to sync your mental and physical presence at the single task that you are currently doing.