Start With the Basics When Crafting Your Weekly Plan

Photo by Carlos Murillo on Unsplash

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for most individuals and families. My last posts have focused on the benefits of having a weekly planning routine, and some tools that can be used. You can find links to those posts below. 

One of my biggest goals during this social distancing time has been to try to keep balance in my home – separate work from family, separate the week from the weekend, and make sure that the days just don’t fuse together into one continuous, neverending day. Having a weekly plan really helps to keep this balance. If you would like to start working on your own weekly plan the easiest place to start is with the basics.

Pick Your Time and Your Environment

Sunday night or Monday morning are my ideal times to do my planning, but most often it is done on Monday morning. Whatever time you choose that works with your schedule, try to create the right environment so that you can give your planning the proper attention and focus. At my desk with my coffee, my computer, and my planner is the ideal set up for me. Choose a spot that gives you room to breathe, get your favorite drink, and get comfy.

Start with Your Routine Tasks

Once you are ready to go, think about your routine tasks. These are those tasks that need to be tended to on a regular basis and can take a considerable amount of your time, so having those in your plan is a great starting point. These can be things you do every day, or things you do once a week. For example, if you have a standing 1:1 meeting with an employee or your boss every Tuesday afternoon, then one of your routine items may be to prep for that meeting on Tuesday morning.

One thing that I find helpful is to set up my routine items as recurrences in Todoist (my todo list tool of choice). This is the easiest way that I have found to keep track of those items without much forethought. Every Friday I like to do a weekly review and every Monday I manage Quickbooks from the week before.

There are also tasks that need to be done each day that may not go on your to do list, but still need to be done. Things like checking email need to be done every day, and for most people, multiple times. So, my plan includes 45 minutes each morning to check email, look at my daily plan, and set my goals/priorities for the day.

Tip: If you are trying to add a new habit, a great way to do this is to add it as a recurring item on your to do list. You will get both a reminder, and the satisfaction of completing an item on your list. Once you feel that it is ingrained into your behavior, you can remove it from your recurring list.

Calendar Management

One other important area to plan for is appointments and other obligations, but remember to take it one step further by making sure you account for travel time or prep time. During my planning time I look at my calendar for the week. This is the time to make any changes or additions.

Something that works for me is to use my calendar for more than just appointments. I use mine for reminders and time blocking as well. For example, say you volunteer to bring cupcakes to the school fundraiser on Thursday – put that on your calendar. But, take it one step further and put a reminder the day before to bake/pick up the cupcakes. When you do your weekly planning you will be really happy with the reminder.

Why is this an important place to start? By looking at your routine tasks and your calendar you are being intentional about where you spend your time. This allows you to have a more realistic view of how much time you have for other items on your to do list. Over estimating the amount of time we actually have is a very real problem. But time is finite, there is only so much of it. As hard as it is to hear, there IS actually enough time in the day…we just have a habit of overscheduling and over promising.

Planning Routine Posts To Read:

The Benefits of Having a Planning Routine

My Favorite Tools for Weekly Planning and To Do Lists

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