Outside of vacation time, an “easy week” is a rare thing for a lot of busy professionals. Even if things are relatively quiet at work, there’s always something stressful going on at home or with your family. A busy/push week that leaves you little free time is a normal week for a lot of us.
No matter what your idea of a normal week looks like, sometimes you find yourself in an extra intense one. You might have a big deadline approaching, or are slammed with extra meetings at work. Whatever’s going on, you’re going to have even less free time than usual. Maybe your days are going to be longer than normal.
Some people would call this a hell week or crazy week, but I like to use the term “push week.” It’s useful to reframe the way we think about these periods and not assume that they’ll be miserable just because they’ll be busy. It may take a real push to get through the week in a way you feel good about, but you absolutely have the capacity to make that push.
Time Management During a Push Week
Some parts of a push week are outside your control. If X, Y and Z absolutely must get done, then you must create enough time to get them done. Time management—more specifically, how well you implement your time management strategies—determines how many hours you spend on those tasks and how much time you’ll have left for everything else you want and need to do.
I have four tips for good time management during a push week.
- Have a flexible plan for the week. This is so, so important especially for one of those push weeks. A flexible plan builds on the things you know you can count on for certain, and includes space for breaks and for things that pop up throughout the week. Starting the week with that plan in place makes it easier to dive in with purpose and focus.
- Determine your non-negotiables upfront. It’s easy to let things slip during a push week. Suddenly it’s Thursday and you realize you haven’t eaten a balanced meal or had time for a walk since Monday. As you’re making your flexible plan, build in time for the things that you need to fuel your body and keep your energy going. Sleep, exercise and eating well are all parts of a good time management system.
- Focus on what only you can do. There won’t be time for everything this week, so some tasks will have to be skipped or delegated to others. Your time and energy is best spent on the things that you can’t hand off to someone else. What tasks really need your touch, and which ones can someone else handle this week?
- Alert everyone that it’s a push week. If you have a work team, they’ll probably already know when one of these big weeks is coming up. But the other close people in your life should know, too, so they can support you and manage their own expectations. The last thing you need when you walk into the kitchen after a 12-hour day is to find that someone was expecting you to cook dinner. Let your loved ones know that this is going to be a busy week and you’ll have limited bandwidth. If you need someone else to take over walking the dog or picking up takeout this week, bring it up before the week begins.
I can’t stress enough what a difference this kind of planning can make, no matter what kind of week you’re expecting ahead.
To that end, my next masterclass—Weekly Planning That Works, Even in Times of Uncertainty—is all about planning. This 90-minute virtual training will help you to learn:
- Why things keep falling through the cracks, and the actual steps to know that things are handled.
- How to stop scrambling to meet deadlines, get everything in one place and know that you will still get through it all.
- How to get more stuff done than you ever have before, without working so hard… even during uncertain times.
- Simple tools to feel ready for next week when it’s only Friday.
I’m offering this masterclass twice because I know it might be a push week for you, and I want to make sure you get a chance to join me. The more stressful things get, the more you need a plan. Click here to learn more and register for your choice of session (August 26th or 27th).
Wishing you a peaceful week, no matter how busy it is!