As part of the Day Designer community, you likely understand the value (and joy!) of planning ahead. The best part is that planning doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming to make a difference in your life.
Today, we’re sharing our ultimate guide to weekly planning – an important component to living a well-designed life, one that is built on a foundation of striving for balance and planning with intention.
We believe that creating a ritual to plan your week ahead can completely change the course of the days that follow. Spending even just half an hour at the start of each week can make the hours that make up your week more intentional, more productive, and less stressful. Here’s how to plan ahead.
Why Should You Make A Weekly Plan?
Planning for a week in advance is a great way to stay on track and know your priorities. By dividing your time wisely, you can juggle tasks, even the trivial ones, along with long-term projects. When you're thoughtful and intentional with your time, there are many reasons to plan your week in advance.
It allows you to make sure you have time for everything on your to-do list, plus more. This can be a total game-changer for productivity, ensuring that everything gets done. Not only will you be more productive, but you'll also be less stressed as you tackle those plans.
Knowing where you need to be and what you're doing next, and anticipating the time it's going to take to accomplish everything, can help you navigate your week with ease. Weekly planning can also help you achieve better time management and a better work-life balance.
Overall, weekly planning is the art of time management, allowing you to achieve your goals more efficiently. It's a simple yet effective tool that can keep you organized, reduce stress, and help you achieve your goals. By making a weekly plan, you can prioritize your tasks and know what you need to do to stay on track.
How to Plan Your Week in Advance to Be Productive
1. Commit to a weekly planning session
Start by picking a time to plan your week – whether you choose Sunday afternoon as you wind down your weekend or early Monday morning as you drink your coffee. Pick a quiet time and build it into your weekly routine. Next, gather what you need – for example:
▢ Your Day Designer planner
▢ Your phone and/or computer – to reference meeting times, sign up for a class, or confirm plans with a friend
▢ Notes and/or paperwork
▢ Supplies: pens, pencils, highlighters, stickers
Make it enjoyable by playing your favorite tunes, lighting a candle, or having a cup of tea. You’ll soon find that you’re looking forward to this dedicated time every week!
2. Reflect on the week prior
Take a few minutes to reflect on the the previous week.
What went well? What didn’t – and why? What can you do better this week?
Answering these simple questions will give you a framework and inspiration for planning the week ahead.
As you reflect, remember that mistakes are just learning lessons. Instead of dwelling on them, be grateful for them. Use them to motivate you for success in the week ahead. Learn, plan, and keep going!
3. Review your goals and next steps
Next, remind yourself of your goals and top priorities. This will ensure that your goals are at the forefront of your mind – making you more inclined to prioritize the plans that support your ultimate goals in life.
What can you do this week to get you one step closer to success?
Consider the action items and good habits that can help you make progress on your goals. Develop routines comprised of your best habits, such as your ideal morning routine and your favorite evening routine. What if you get off track? No problem – just start fresh tomorrow!
4. Create your schedule for the week ahead
Now it’s time to map out your schedule for the week ahead. Here’s a quick checklist of commitments and plans to consider:
▢ Appointments, activities, and events for yourself and/or your family
▢ Self-care and downtime
▢ Family time and friendship – don’t forget birthdays!
▢ Meal planning
▢ Grocery shopping and other errands
▢ Meal prep and cooking
▢ Cleaning schedule and laundry
▢ Work hours, meetings, and projects
▢ Next week’s planning session
5. Plan your tasks
The very last step within our weekly planning guide is actually optional, depending on how YOU like to plan! If you like to map out your tasks on a weekly basis, then go for it right now.
If you prefer to do this on a daily basis, then save this step for when you plan out each day. More on this next week!
Either way, this is a great time for you to “brain dump” the to-dos that you need to remember and accomplish in the coming week.
How to Stick to Your Weekly Plan
Crafting a weekly plan in advance may seem simple enough, but staying the course can prove to be a challenge. Ensuring your plan is achievable is key, for it is all too easy to succumb to frustration and discouragement when unrealistic goals are set. Striking a balance between ambition and feasibility is essential, lest one runs the risk of becoming disheartened and discouraged.
Another crucial aspect of sticking to a weekly plan is the commitment to follow it, even when motivation dwindles or focus wanes. It can be easy to lose sight of the end goal and become distracted by other things, but it is imperative to remain steadfast and committed to one's plan. Remember the reason for the plan's creation in the first place, and stay focused on the intended objectives.
In order to optimize your plan, tasks that are prone to procrastination should be scheduled for Mondays when motivation is at its peak. This will help ensure that the tasks are accomplished early in the week, and prevent them from being put off indefinitely. Lastly, it is important to choose a planning system that is suitable for one's needs and preferences. No two planning styles are alike, so finding the perfect fit is essential in order to stay organized and on track.
By following these guidelines, you will be more likely to stick to your weekly plan and reach your goals. Remember to remain determined, stay organized, and remain vigilant to one's priorities. With a little fortitude and consistency, any plan can be a success.
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Are you ready to plan your week? As you implement the strategies above, remember to be realistic. It might feel tempting to plan your week down to the minute. (Trust us, we’ve been there!) But you’d be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Your ideal week is not meant to become an unreasonable standard to which you hold yourself. Be sure to leave some white space – some room for flexibility and the unexpected – some room to simply enjoy the life you’re working so hard to create!