Learn How to Reset your week — Part I

Thaisa Fernandes⚡
Sep 12 · 8 min read

My favorite weekly reset tools and how to prepare for the week ahead.

My friends and my husband can’t hear about this anymore. I think by now everyone I know understands the power of a weekly reset. Every time I talk about this idea of “resetting your week,” people seem surprised, and because of that I decided to offer my perspective.

I’m going to share my favorite weekly reset tools and how to prepare for the week ahead. This post is personal, so I’m going to present what works for me. Please feel free to share your thoughts and what has worked for you so far.

🎈 Create a vibe

It may sound silly, but what is definitely helping me stick to my routine and accomplish all the things I need to accomplish is the environment I’m in. Depending on the task I’m developing, I might be ok with a loud background noise and interruptions. However, when I’m working on things that require more focus, what helps me most is to create a vibe for that moment. It sounds silly, but it works.

When I’m doing my weekly reset or even when I’m planning a big event or the week ahead, I always like to have a comfortable and inspiring vibe. Sometimes it can be tricky, and you may not even have the same space weekly. I have some ideas to help you.

What I find useful is to have a set of things I can carry that will help me with the vibe I need to get things done. The main thing for me is to have my computer, phone (of course), my bullet journal, and my headphones with me. I love to play some downtempo songs while I’m in my concentration mode. This playlist is my favorite.

Another thing that I love to do when I have a chance is to burn a candle or even add some of my favorite essential oils to my diffuser. Adding an aroma and my playlist helps my brain get in the mood of getting things done.

Sometimes when I’m travelling, I carry with me one or two of my favorite essential oils. I like to smell it directly or apply it on my pulse points to help me concentrate. It’s an interesting exercise to think about what might help you during this stage, and once you learn what helps, you can optimize your environment.

📵 Go screenless

I know, it’s super hard, and sometimes even impossible to go screenless. The tip I can give you is that the more you do it, the more you’ll get used to it. You can decide how much you want to be screenless, you can start with an hour and increase to a few hours.

Start by being offline during the planning phase, when you’re braindumping your to-do list and clarifying your tasks. Unplug the TV, turn your phone to airplane or do not disturb mode, close your computer, and avoid checking your smartwatch.

Try to take some time away from any screen, even if only for a few hours. You’ll probably feel more productive, and suddenly you will find you have some extra hours in your day. This is what the internet steals from us 一 our precious time.

🧠 Braindump the To-Do’s

I love to talk about the To-Do list. We have this tendency to include everything on our list, PLUS we tend to be overconfident while doing that. This is a recipe for disaster, overcommitment, and disappointment. I know, I have been there, and I try to watch that I do not fall into that trap anymore.

If you don’t already know, a draindump is basically when you write down everything that comes to your mind on a sheet of paper. The whole idea of this exercise is to include what is floating in your head and impeding you from fully concentrating on other tasks.

I like to set a timer for this exercise, because if you let me, I’ll find things to do for the next five years. Listen to music, let the candle burn, and write down everything you want to accomplish without thinking about how you’ll actually accomplish it. Even the small things matter because they too are probably impeding you from accomplishing your goals, so let’s write them down too.

Let’s write down that appointment you need to schedule, the plants that need to be watered, even that book you need to return, and also that important article you need to write. It’s interesting how sometimes our mind works. I tend to get off the rails when I have too much on my mind and too many things to accomplish.

It’s easy to feel distracted and overwhelmed when you have too much in your head. So let’s avoid this feeling by getting into the habit of performing a braindump every time we need it. When you include weekly planning in your routine, the process will become much easier and even enjoyable.

⚡Clarify the items you have

I know, this happens with everyone. Sometimes we write things down during our braindump that we later don’t understand or that require some extra thinking on how to accomplish that task or goal.

When you look at your braindump list, make sure you clarify the items and start to think about the things that can be broken down into smaller chunks of work. When you have small chunks of work, they’re easier to accomplish and also to track.

For more complex goals and tasks, it’s easier to create a plan to accomplish them when you divide the work into smaller chunks or phases. It’s also a good idea to start to think about any kind of measurements. Think about the amount of time you need to accomplish certain tasks/goals and try to give define some deadlines.

An empirical approach is also a good idea. This process is particularly valid when you have uncertainty since it’s based on observation and experimentation instead of defined processes for something you don’t know exactly or have never done before.

📅 Weekly planning

Weekly planning sounds like a lot of work, but in reality, it’s not. When you plan your week, you automatically will be more aware of your workload and also the opportunities. I’d say that you also become more present so that your week can hopefully go more smoothly.

After I do the braindump and clarify the items I have, I usually do a weekly planning. Some people like to have a Sunday reset to spend the day tackling the small and annoying tasks you’ve put off during the last week.

I’m not a fan of that because I try to use my weekends as a way to recharge, have fun, and also work on my development, e.g., by attending some courses and workshops. What I actually like to do doing weekends is to spend some time planning my week, and because I do my braindump and also clarify my tasks ahead of time, this doesn’t consume a lot of my time.

It’s also the kind of thing you get better at the more you do. When you start to do this on a weekly basis, you’ll see that some things tend to repeat. You’ll also pay attention to other things that are not usually there, but are extremely important and time-consuming like renewing your passport, for example.

👏 Intentionally scheduling

Another reason to schedule your to-dos on a weekly basis 一 some places are not open on weekends or after working hours, so planning when to tackle tasks ahead of time can help you save some time.

I believe that the more you prepare yourself and your schedule for the upcoming week, the easier the week goes or the least you’re more mentally prepared for your week. Of course, we can’t predict everything, but planning and preparing ahead can help you achieve your goals.

I take my weekly planning and schedule seriously, and I believe when you plan, it has an effect on your mind. It’s like, brain, I have this time allocated to finalize that thing. So it helps you get in the mood and finish it too.

Another advantage, planning helps with anxiety. For example, you don’t need to work on that right now, since you’ll need two hours to finalize it, today is Tuesday, and your deadline is Friday! Intentionally scheduling your time each week can help you to achieve your goals, be more organized, and feel less anxious, I promise.

💡 Update your calendar

Take the time to check what you’ve already scheduled and whether it still makes sense. Don’t be afraid to reschedule appointments, even with yourself. Just be sure to give yourself or the other person enough time to process the schedule change and ensure you’re not impacting their plans or even your own plans drastically .

I usually have some future events or tasks allocated in my Google Calendar, and sometimes I forget about them, which is totally ok. This is because I’m going to plan my week ahead of time, and if I need to incorporate any changes, usually I will have time to do that. Of course, bigger plans like a wedding I need to attend in the South of France are not something I can plan quickly, but for the normal day-to-day stuff mostly there’s not a lot of planning involved.

I like paper, although I also love technology. I usually braindump on paper, use my beautiful bullet journal to actually allocate my timing, and also use Google Calendar to actually book people’s time when it’s something more serious or requires a formal appointment.

I consider an appointment anything that involves another person or has some specific time involvement, like lunch with a friend or an application I need to submit within a certain amount of time. In both scenarios, I include the date and time in my Google Calendar, but for cases such as needing to finalize a blog post by a certain date, I use my bullet journal.

I realized this post was going to get super big so I decided to break it into two articles. I hope you also check the other related post. I believe we change along the way and also that our routines change. Maybe this post can be a living document that I update every time I discover a new trick. Hoping you can share your strategies too!



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PM learnings in my journey at Silicon Valley

Thaisa Fernandes⚡

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Product Management 101
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