5 Ways To Hack Your Weekly Schedule To Get More Done

If your to-do list never seems to get done and you feel behind by Monday afternoon, it’s probably time revamp your weekly schedule. Here’s a weekly check-in plan that actually works.

5 Ways To Hack Your Weekly Schedule To Get More Done
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Many productivity experts advise doing a weekly reviewing and planning session.


It’s a good time for figuring out where you’ve been and where you’re going. If you’re trying to get a grip on your time and your life, setting aside time each week to ask these questions is one of the best strategies you can use.

But what if you’re already in the habit of carving out time to plan? Here are five tweaks that I think can make a weekly check-in even more productive.

1. Choose the right time.

You can do a weekly check-in whenever. I used to do it on Sunday night. That’s better than Monday. When people plan on Monday, they waste most of Monday, and since no one works that hard on Friday, you end up with a pretty short week.

But when I interviewed David Allen, he mentioned that lots of people do this on Friday, and I realized that was a much better option. Doing a weekly review on Friday means I can enjoy my weekend because I have a plan for tackling Monday. It turns what might be wasted time (Friday afternoon, when everyone starts dragging) into useful time.

2. Celebrate what’s been done.

The team at productivity app IDoneThis has convinced me that the “done” list is as critical to productivity as figuring out what you still need to do. Some 41% of items on to-do lists never wind up happening, and yet the world keeps moving forward.


Something is happening, and often something good! So look back at what you’ve accomplished over the previous few days. Celebrate your progress. Make a note of things you’ve learned that you can incorporate into the coming week’s plan.

3. Remind yourself of your priorities.

Hopefully you’ve already thought about your big professional and personal goals for the year and broken those big goals down into steps. As you look forward to the coming week, choose a few of those steps to block into your calendar. Giving activities a time slot greatly increases the chances that they happen.

4. Be realistic.

A week has 168 hours. You’ll probably be sleeping and showering for at least 56 of those. Stuff will come up that you’ll need to address. If your priority list requires you to do more than five substantive professional tasks and three substantive personal ones per day, you will find yourself re-enacting the exact same weekly review next week, wondering what went wrong.

5. Get a jump on the week.

Here’s the fun part of the weekly review. Once you’ve figured out your tasks for the next week, you’ll notice that some are pretty simple: email a few people, schedule that dentist appointment, sign up for that 5K in two months. The upside of doing your review on Friday is that you still have time left during business hours to knock off a few of the next week’s priorities before the week even starts. We spend so much of life feeling behind. It’s nice to feel ahead of the game for a change.

Do you do a weekly review? What do you do during this time?

About the author

Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management and productivity books, including I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time (Portfolio, June 9, 2015), What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2013), and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, 2010). She blogs at