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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

How to Plan Your Week for Maximum Impact

For those of you who’ve never heard of him, Jack Dorsey is the co-founder of Twitter as well as the CEO of Square. Even more impressive: He once led both companies at the same time.

Obviously, this sounds like a totally nuts idea: How does one guy lead two of the most influential companies in the world and still have time to be productive and innovative at both? Most people can barely keep track of one job, let alone two gigantic ones.

Dorsey’s secret? Give each day of the week a “theme” so that you can keep your productive momentum high regardless of what you’re doing.

For example, since Dorsey worked on both companies concurrently, he’d spend Mondays working on management at both businesses, Tuesdays working on products at both organizations, and so on. This allowed him to see each company in a broader light instead of getting caught up in day-to-day distractions.

Wondering how and why you should apply Dorsey’s theme idea to your career? It’s all about keeping your eye on more important things despite the numerous obstacles and distractions that appear in your day-to-day. When something else comes up? He either punts it to the day it belongs on or gets it done and then immediately returns back to the focus at hand.

Now, having a general focus for the day doesn’t mean eschewing your daily responsibilities for the sake of that single theme (we get that stuff comes up!). Instead, it reminds you that there’s a whole lot more to your career than the daily emails, drawn out meetings, and endless conference calls—and helps you redirect to the important things.

Of course, you might be wondering what types of themes the everyday non-Dorsey careerist can focus on. Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Improving Work Relationships

Whether you’re a savvy C-level executive or a recent grad working his first entry-level gig, everyone can benefit from getting to know the people around the break room. Spend one day a week purposely trying to reach out to your colleagues and get to know them better on both a professional and a personal level.

Some examples? Offer to help your cubicle mate with that project she’s been tackling all week, or organize a company lunch at a nearby restaurant. You’d be surprised at how big of a difference it makes in company culture and your own personal day-to-day life.

2. Get Organized

Spend one day a week organizing some part of your professional life. Clean out that scary bottom desk drawer you’ve been referring to as “The Black Hole” for far too long, or reconfigure the various folders on your email account to get rid of cyber-clutter.

Additionally, the nice thing about using organization as a theme is that you can make your pact to get organized as big or small as you want depending on the type of work week you’re having. If you’re in the midst of your office’s busy season, just focus on getting rid of all the trash on your desk instead of tackling the stack of hundreds of miscellaneous papers next to your chair.

Remember: Every little bit counts.

3. Focus on Your Personal Brand

Trying to build your personal brand can seem like a daunting and endless task filled with obsessive tweeting and hours upon hours of coding your personal website, but it really doesn’t have to be.

Carve out one day a week to take a step in the right personal branding direction. This could mean following 10 awesome influencers on LinkedIn, interacting with at least five other professionals on Twitter, heading to a networking event so you can strut your stuff, or even learning a new skill that could help you moving forward.

Sure, you may not be Jack Dorsey, who’s in charge of billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of employees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pull a Jack Dorsey in your everyday life by bringing some general themes into the mix. Try putting the themes above (or create your own!) on your calendar or on a Post-It note at your desk to keep you on track. It’s totally worth it.

Oh, and another important part of keeping yourself sane and productive? Take time off. In Dorsey’s case, his Saturday focus is simply “hiking.”

Photo of person planning courtesy of Shutterstock.