Busy Week Ahead? Set the Stage for Success on Monday
When you’ve got a week full of big projects and too many deadlines, getting organized is your best strategy for meeting all your responsibilities without losing your mind. If you’ve got a busy week ahead, learn how you can set the stage for success on Monday morning so that you can stay on track all week long.
Set priorities for the week
While many people like to check their emails and phone messages first thing Monday morning, this can actually be counter-productive to meeting your goals. Instead, take the time to review your schedule for the week as soon as you arrive. This will allow you to establish your major priorities before you encounter any smaller tasks.
Take note of any meetings, deadlines and project milestones that you see. While meetings will already be in your schedule, use this opportunity to create blocks of time for projects with nearing deadlines so that the time you need to work on each task is protected. It can also be helpful to write down the top priorities for the week.
Scan your inbox
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the week’s priorities, you’re ready to check your messages. When it comes to your email inbox, scan it, looking for messages in the following order:
- Changes to your weekly priorities
- New meetings you must attend
- Fires you need to put out
- New tasks and deadlines due the following week.
Once you’ve ensured that you’re familiar with everything that needs to be done for the week, you can flag the rest of your emails to read later and begin going through them as you have free time throughout the day.
Write a daily task list
If your company operates as so many others do, it’s common to have multiple meetings pulling you away from your desk on Mondays. While creating a daily task list is useful any day of the week, it’s a critical exercise for Monday. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overestimate how much you can complete in a day when you create a to-do list, so staying realistic will be your productivity key for the day.
To make an effective task list, don’t just write down each task. Instead, think about how much time you’ll need to complete each item and include that on your list. While you should be able to create a close time estimate for tasks you regularly complete, working on big projects can be trickier. For these items, estimate the time you’ll need for the task and add a cushion of 15 minutes or a half hour. Once you’ve completed your list, add up your task time. If you end up with more task hours than work hours in the day, it may be time to evaluate which tasks can wait until later in the week.
Note: If none of your tasks can wait, this is your opportunity to let the boss know you might need help. While no one likes to admit they can’t complete something by the deadline, it’s always better to let them know on Monday morning than it is to wait until the day before something is due.
Start your most difficult task
If you have a difficult task on your to-do list, try to start it as early in the day on Monday as possible. Completing the most daunting task on your list early in week will make everything else you have on your plate seem easy. It also has the added bonus of lifting a weight off your shoulders. Instead of spending all week dreading that one hated task you’re putting off, you’ll already have the confidence that you can tackle anything that’s thrown at you with ease.