There are tricks to strategize your week for optimal productivity. The joy of checking items off your to-do list can feel like crossing a finish line. However, what works best for you to feel productive might not work for everyone else. It’s all about figuring out how to get organized and best prepare for the week. Here’s five suggested ways to have the most productive week.

Plan Your Week Ahead of Time

As the saying goes, without a plan, the people perish. The best way to get a hold of your week is by planning ahead, so start on Sunday night or even the Friday before. Without a plan, it’s almost like stumbling in the dark without turning on the light switch. You can start your week confidently knowing what is coming your way when you login for work.

Figure Out Your Priorities

Make yourself a list and check it twice. Determine what you need to do first and which deadlines and responsibilities are the most time-sensitive.To start this process, you can list everything you need done, and then go back and organize the list by deadline. This will prevent you from getting lost in busy work and focus on priorities.

Automate Smaller, Repetitive Tasks

There are some everyday or weekly tasks that are a part of your routine. For those items, it’s easiest and most effective to automate them. Some regular tasks might include weekly check-ins with your direct supervisor or direct report, sending thank you emails, or cleaning out your inbox. Schedule these tasks ahead and automate them so you don’t have to think twice about whether they got done. 

Block Off Time on Your Calendar

In addition to scheduling ahead, blocking out time on your calendar is another tool to help you have a productive week. Whether it’s your personal calendar or your work calendar, when you block off focused time on the calendar you know where your attention and energy will be. You might block off time for writing, for working out, for phone calls, or even for regular breaks in your day.

Take It One Step at a Time

A part of planning ahead for a productive week is to take it one step at a time. Blocking off time, scheduling meetings, and making to-do lists are just some tools to help you stay organized. Take these steps and any other time-optimizing strategies one at a time for the best results.