This week, we’re continuing the planning series and diving into how I plan for each week!
In the same way that quarterly and monthly planning help prepare for you for the time ahead, I find such confidence in planning my week before it really gets going. Sure, things might shift and change even in as small an amount of time as a week, but going in with a clear idea of what’s happening and what I need to accomplish, like with my months and quarters, makes it far more likely to happen!
More of a video person? Scroll to the bottom for the video version of this post!
Weekly planning is one of the areas of regular planning I’ve played around the most with over the years and I find that it, more so than a lot of things, can change drastically from season to season.
Assessing it every so often to ensure the way my weeks are structured is still working well is incredibly helpful in ensuring I’m spending my time the way I want and accomplishing the things I need to!
MY WEEKLY PLANNING TOOLS
Just like with all other types of planning, there are a few tools I use to help make the process that much easier.
This should come as no surprise, since this baby is, without a doubt, my favorite planning tool. While some of the other tools, like Google Calendar and the Quarterly Creative’s Calendar, are great for the bigger picture planning, the weekly and daily planning is where the Simplified Planner really shines.
I use the daily layout (as opposed to the weekly), so while I can’t see the entire week in detail on a two-page spread, this is still my primary planning tool for my weeks.
If you’ve ever used the Powersheets, you know that the Monthly Tending List, where those goals get turned into actionable items you can actually check off a list, contains three sections, one of which is your Weekly Action Items.
In the same way that the Google Calendar and Quarterly Creative’s Calendar are used more as a reference point for monthly planning, Powersheets are used in the same way for weekly planning. While I try to schedule out my weekly action items in one fell swoop at the beginning of the month, sometimes that isn’t as much of a possibility, so I refer back to that list when I’m prepping for each week.
When it comes to Google Calendar, I mostly use it for that big picture planning, so it doesn’t have a ton to do with my weekly prep. But the nature of the internet business beast means I have certain systems and processes in place that keep Google Calendar as the “master list” for certain appointments that might be happening. For this reason, I reference it every week when making plans to ensure I haven’t missed anything!
QUARTERLY CREATIVE’S CALENDAR
Because this beautiful calendar is huge and front-and-center on my office wall, I love using some of that extra space to make sure nothing in my weeks falls through the cracks.
Now that we’ve reviewed the tools and their purposes, let’s jump into the process!
When my weekly prep takes place has probably changed the most over the years. I used to do it on Sunday nights, as part of my Weekly Duty Day. When I shifted my Weekly Duty Day to function as more of a Weekly Start Up on Monday mornings, I shifted my weekly planning to there, but found I didn’t like starting my Mondays not knowing what was coming.
At the time of writing, my weekly planning is the last thing I do at the end of my work week. I’m still entrenched in what I accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) for the week and therefore what I need to accomplish next week, and it allows me to completely unplug from work for the entire weekend and still step into the week feeling prepared!
STEP 1: REVIEW MONTHLY VIEWS
Weekly prep starts by doing a quick review of the monthly views of both my Simplified Planner and Google Calendar.
Sometimes, when a personal events gets scheduled but a time is still TBD, I jot it down on the monthly view without updating the daily with its specific time. In a similar way, clients and collaborators are able to schedule calls with me through my schedule, which is linked to my Google Calendar.
Due to both of these situations, I always double check my monthly views to ensure my daily view is totally up-to-date before scheduling anything else, because the last thing I want to do is miss a meeting or event I’ve committed to or double book myself!
I have a system for how I structure my workdays (which we’ll get to in the next post in this series) and other parts of non-work days, so this is where I start in the daily pages of my Simplified Planner — writing out those non-negotiable structures and routines that give rhythm to my days and weeks.
STEP 3: WRITE KNOWN TASKS & NOTES
In addition to having a particular structure for my workdays, I also have a workflow to how I structure my work weeks as whole. Because of this, I know before the week even starts what days certain tasks need to be accomplished.
Once I’ve written in my routines and non-negotiables, I fill in these tasks on the daily to do lists (and will sometimes even assign them a specific time block during the day), and write down any additional notes or things I need to be aware of like Instagram Stories I have planned for the day, FYIs, meal plans, and the like.
Finally, I review my client workload and other necessary tasks for the week and write these on a post-it note that goes up on my Quarterly Creative’s Calendar.
While I have an idea, based on my weekly workflow, of when some of those individual tasks will take place throughout the week, sometimes it’s hard to tell at the start of it, but I always find it helpful to have a summary of everything — personal and business — that I need to accomplish in one location.
Like everything else on my Creative’s Calendar, it’s in front of my face all the time, so I’m referring back to it throughout the week, which makes it easy to track my progress and ensure I’m accomplishing the things that matter.
STEP 5: LAST MINUTE REFRESH
Because I go through this process at the end of the work week, which sometimes takes place on Thursday and sometimes takes place on Friday, it inevitably happens that things change between then and Monday.
As a result, part of my start up at the beginning of the week involves doing a quick refresh to ensure I’ve captured any additions or changes and am fully prepared for the week ahead!
That’s it, friends… my weekly planning process! Like I said before, this is one that can change on a pretty frequent basis, depending on the season of life I’m in, so give yourself grace if you’re in a new season and still figuring things out!
In a couple of weeks, we’ll officially wrap up this planning series with the final post… how I plan my days!