Goals & Habits

Why I Love Weekly Planning

I love to plan. I think this is hard-wired in my personality and I derive not only comfort from the process, but a distinct boost in productivity, too. The habit of thinking purposefully about what tasks I want to get done in the next 7 days, and which I can reasonably accomplish, keeps me on the right track both practically and emotionally. My weekly plan is one of my favorite tools.

Here are some reasons why a weekly time horizon works so well:

  • I construct annual & monthly plans too, and find huge value in these. But weekly is more tactical. I’m better able to adjust the expectations I place on myself, based on my energy, and take advantage of any unforeseen opportunities. You’ll probably find this too.
  • Personally, I have a fair sense of what life will be like, 7 days ahead. For me, not too much lands in the calendar with less than a week’s notice, and I don’t generally take on work with a tight turnaround.
  • Even if your life is highly reactive & unpredictable, the very act of making a plan helps you identify what’s important.
    • But, if your days often get disrupted, it’s important for you to leave more unplanned space and contingency in your schedule.
  • A big benefit of making a weekly plan: you probably won’t need to spend time each morning on a daily plan. If no major disruptions have occurred since you made your weekly plan, you can simply get down to work each day, knowing that you’ve figured out your priorities and are good to go.

Would you like a copy of my weekly planning checklist?

Writer's Productivity Bundle | Pauline Wiles

It’s now for sale as part of my Writer’s Productivity Bundle.

Suggested process and principles:

  • Start your weekly planning process with the rewarding ritual of writing down all successes from last week. It’s so easy to forget what we achieve, from one day to the next!
  • Principles to keep in mind for your weekly plan:
    • Although the process includes checking your calendar, you’ll need ongoing vigilance for what gets into your calendar to begin with.
    • Like filling jars with pebbles, be sure to block chunks of time for completers.
    • You must schedule self-care and exercise, too. This greatly increases the chances these activities will happen!
    • Once the important uses of your time are planned, you can consider time for repeaters. (Mine, for example, are laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, playing piano, purging email, and engaging online.)
    • When bringing unfinished tasks forward to a new week, make sure they’re still worthwhile and shouldn’t simply be dropped/delegated altogether!
  • Plan at least one thing in your week you consider fun!
  • I like to use an undated physical planner; I keep actual appointments in my Google calendar. But definitely use whichever tool feels most natural for you.

And I’d love to know, do you plan on a weekly basis? What aspects of this work well for you?

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    Jean | Delightful Repast
    April 28, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Pauline, this is so much more doable for me than a daily schedule. My attempts at planning the next day beyond the very basics never seem to last long, but this could work for me! I’m fortunate to not need to schedule my exercise; it has become so ingrained that putting it on a schedule would be like putting toothbrushing on a schedule. But I do know what you mean about that.

    1. Reply
      April 29, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Jean, I’m thrilled to hear your exercise is second nature. Personally, I still put it in my plan, as it reminds me there’ll be natural breaks in my day. Also, it reminds me it is important and will take time. And then of course I can check it off!

  2. Reply
    April J Harris
    May 3, 2019 at 4:50 am

    I agree with Jean, Pauline, this feels much more doable for me than a daily schedule. I really like your ideas here and I’ve downloaded the checklist so I can try this for next week. It’s a Bank Holiday Monday here so a great week to start with as I find the four day weeks often ‘disappear’. I may actually be able to find more time to allow myself to read using this plan too! Thank you for sharing this post with Hearth and Soul Link Party. Shared on the party’s FB page and pinning and sharing on Twitter too.

    1. Reply
      May 3, 2019 at 6:42 am

      April, yes, four day weeks feel shockingly short to me, too. I have about 3 of those coming up and find I need to be much stricter in my aims for those. Thank you for sharing!

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