Monday Morning: Setting Goals for the Week Ahead

One thing I often do early in the morning on Mondays is make a list of the things I want to accomplish during the week. Some of them are simple enough that I can get them done in a half an hour when I find the time – others require some continuous effort throughout the week, so I often break it down into a big handful of steps that I can do throughout the week.

I find it’s always better to actually write down your goals for several reasons. First, it actually helps tease them out of my mind and make them concrete, instead of the nebulous nature that they often take in my head. Second, it gives me a nice checklist to work on throughout the week. Third, at the end of the week, I can look at that list of things that I accomplished and realize that I did indeed get some things done this week.

To give you an idea, I thought I’d share my personal “week ahead” list with you, perhaps to inspire you to make your own.

Clean the laundry room. There’s a big pile of unfolded children’s clothes in there, along with what appears to be some spilled laundry detergent and a couple baskets of miscellaneous things (dish towels and the like) that need to be washed as well. A good half an hour should take care of this issue.

Go through the “unsorted” mail stack and file what needs to be filed. Our mail routine goes something like this: we get the mail out of the mailbox, open everything, toss the junk, determine if the rest is actually important, and if it’s not urgent, we put it in a stack that needs to be sorted and filed. Once a month, I go through this stack and file it, a task I would normally do on the first weekend of the month, but we had a number of houseguests this weekend.

Take a careful look at the dryer and likely call a repairman before the end of the week. The heating element is about shot with our dryer, meaning a normal load of clothes takes about two hours to dry. This means a call to the repairman is likely in the future unless it’s something very simple that I can discern with some inspection.

Reorganize the pantry. Our pantry starts off organized, then slowly descends into chaos over a period of time. It’s pretty chaotic right now, so I need to pull everything out of it, then put everything back. Another part of this is that I’m going to assemble a proper spice rack as well – our current “spice rack” consists of a good-sized cardboard box with a lot of small jars and canisters tossed in it.

Give a detailed reading of the prospectuses for my retirement plan. I’m currently in a Target Retirement fund that isn’t perfectly clear on how it’s managed, so I’m hoping to read through the prospectuses and really understand what it’s made up of. I would actually like it to be more aggressive than it currently is, so if it’s just made up of other funds I have access to, I may split things up.

Polish the first three chapters of my book. I think it’s time to get out the book and start polishing it. I hope to shine up the first three chapters by the end of the week. This means print them off, sit in a quiet room with a red pen, read them, and mark everything that looks wrong. Then, I’ll take this marked-up stuff, return to my computer, and do some heavy document editing based on those notes. If it’s still not right, I’ll put the chapters back away and revise it again in another month or two.

Try making a checklist of goals for this week, and make a concerted effort to get them done. You’ll feel really productive next Sunday when you glance at that list and realize that you’ve accomplished some things this week.

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