Weekly planning doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time and will actually save you time during the week when you’re most busy. Getting all of your thoughts, to-dos, and plans out of your mind and onto paper will make for a less stressful week.
I shared this picture on The Nesting Effect’s Instagram account last week. There was quite a bit of interaction on both Instagram and Facebook regarding how I plan my week. That’s how this post was born.
I experienced firsthand today how not following a list can waste your whole day. Weekly planning is definitely beneficial. Keep reading for 5 tips to streamline your weekly planning!
1. To Do Lists
Every Sunday morning the first thing I do is a brain dump. I don’t look at my phone or turn on my computer, I just sit with my coffee, notebook, and pen and start writing out everything that I feel like I “need” to do. Big and small. Today or in a year from now.
If it’s something that I need to look up, I write it down. I don’t pick up my phone at all to get ideas or look into something. If I do, I’ll be sucked into social media and lose an hour of my day.
How does a brain dump help you plan your week? It clears your mind and allows you to focus in on the task at hand – you won’t have to be thinking about the 10 other things you need to remember to do.
Once I have exhausted what is on my mind, I highlight the things I absolutely need to do today. I can easily pick from the highlighted items and get them done before anything else. If I need to focus on those important things but get distracted by the other things, I may write them out on my to-do list pad and put the notebook away.
I keep the same list all week and add to it if needed. The next day I complete any leftover highlighted tasks and highlight the next most important tasks, and so on. My favorite highlighters are Sharpie Accent Retractable Highlighters.
But what if something is on the list that doesn’t need to get done in the next week? Maybe it’s just a “someday” project. That leads us to tip #2.
Highlighting is a form of prioritizing and so is color coding. But for those items that don’t need your attention in the next week, but come out in your brain dump, you can store them elsewhere until you’re ready to conquer them. This is where my low priority list comes in.
I don’t know about you, but as long as something is on my mind and not down on paper somewhere, I think about it constantly. A weight is lifted once it’s down on paper and I know I won’t “forget” about it. And if perhaps it does still weigh on my mind, then it must be more important than I thought.
To-do lists can so easily become overwhelming and out of control, but as soon as you take the thing to prioritize, it makes it all more manageable. The things you can transfer to a low priority list free up some tasks, those that you highlight become high priority, and those that are left on the list unhighlighted are medium priority and will get done in the next week.
I have created a low priority list (pictured) and you can download it for free. (There’s a black and white version included, too.)
3. Planner / Calendar
Now, you don’t necessarily have to have a daily planner. A calendar will work, too. I prefer a planner so that I can write in on each day of the week.
Due to cost, I gave up on the Erin Condren Life Planner a few years ago. I tried other planners and just couldn’t seem to get myself to actually use them. It’s worth the cost if I’m going to use it. (If you’re a first time customer with Erin Condren, you can get $10 off your first purchase by registering through my affiliate link.)
My Life Planner is for planning everything except my business. I add to-dos to my pages if it’s not during a brain dump session. Keeping track of bills, what we’re having for dinner, events, and work information are just a few things that I track. It’s basically my go-to for the day-to-day essentials. I plan out my routines in my planner (which is covered under tip #5) so I know what to do each day.
Here is the monthly calendar spread that is located at the beginning of every month. I track bills and events here.
This is an example of last week’s planning. I don’t label my sections, but I tend to write my routines in the bottom boxes and my dinner plan on the lines at the bottom.
I use my Deluxe Monthly Planner for my business. Here I can write out important dates, notes, ideas, etc.
On the monthly calendar spread, I track business expenses, webinars, due dates, etc.
4. Color Code
The planners lead us right to color coding. Why color code? Color coding things makes the most sense if you’re a visual person like I am. I can quickly skim a planner page for red to find the most important things I need to remember. For me, it’s all about convenience.
I use Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens in my planners. They don’t bleed through the pages and come in a nice variety of colors. I found this awesome case that came with the pens – and it’s only $17.99, which is cheaper than buying the 20 pack in the plastic case. You can keep other things in the zip pouch, too! In my zip pouch, I have Pilot G-2 Retractable Gel Pens and Paper Mate Flair Ultrafine Felt Tip Pens. These also do not bleed through the pages.
I work full-time teaching 5th grade. My commute is 30 minutes each way, school doesn’t start until 9:20 a.m., and I can leave around 4:10 p.m. My live-in fiance who works. I also have two online businesses.
By no means am I complaining at all, but I do keep myself busy. It’s easy to come home and just sit down in front of my laptop and start working, but my apartment isn’t going to keep itself clean. I needed some guidance in getting things done a little bit at a time. And that’s where the Confident Mom 2017 Weekly Household Planner comes in.
Even though I’m not a mom yet, I still love Susan’s weekly planner. I transfer the items that apply to my household into my Erin Condren Life Planner each week. This planner allows me to have a smoothly running household, without feeling overwhelmed on the weekends, trying to get it all done in one day. (There is a free version available if you don’t want the whole kit. I just use the free version, myself.) I write down the tasks that I need to do in purple on my weekly planning pages.
And then there are the things that are done so infrequently that I can never remember when the last time I did them was. Such as cleaning the vacuum or flipping the mattress. I used one of the notes pages in the back of my Life Planner to track these things this year. I just simply write the date of when I do it. This should make life much easier this year.
Do you spend time weekly planning?