Give Your Week a Purpose with Planning

A notebook with a weekly todo list stuck on the open page

We’ve all experienced the Sunday Scaries at some point.

The anxiety that builds over the weekend. The dread of stepping into the office on Monday morning. The stress that comes with the start of a new week. 

But there is a way to combat the Sunday Scaries. You can manage the Sunday Scaries, once and for all, with a weekly plan. 

When you prepare for the week ahead, you get to manage your time instead of feeling like you’re reacting to whatever comes your way. Weekly planning puts you back in the driver’s seat. 

Why it helps to visualize the week ahead

Moreover, weekly planning gives you a clear overview of the upcoming week. 

Too often, we juggle dates, times, and responsibilities all in our mind. We have a vague idea of what we need to do, and who we’re meeting with, but that’s just it. It’s vague. It’s hard to take action on vague thoughts. 

A weekly plan, on the other hand, turns the abstract into a clear picture.   

When your appointments are scheduled and your deadlines are all lined up, you’ll begin to see the shape of your week. This visual roadmap gives you a very clear sense of the direction you’re headed in. You’ll know when you’ll be busy and when you’ll have free time. So, for instance, if you notice that your mornings and evenings are free, you can slot in time for important things like goals and dream projects.

And visualizing your week is also helpful for when things go awry. Life is unpredictable. Appointments will be canceled. Deadlines will be shuffled. But because you’ve already laid the groundwork with a weekly plan, you can then adjust as necessary.

Here are some of the many ways that weekly planning can help you succeed.

Weekly planning helps you stay organized

When you prepare for your week ahead of time, you’ll have all your deadlines, tasks, and appointments in order. 

And when you know what meetings or assignments you have on the docket, you’ll know what to prepare in advance. 

Here’s how to do it: On Sunday or Monday, start jotting down the things that are coming up for you that week. Meetings, deadlines, errands, tasks, appointments, write it all down. 

Next, take note of your biggest priorities. These can be goals that are important to you or deadlines that are coming up. Or errands that need to be done by a certain time. 

Weekly planning helps you manage your time

Weekly planning will help you be more efficient about your time. You won’t double book yourself or procrastinate on a deadline because you’ll know exactly what you have to do and when.

You can manage your time by using the time blocking method or with hourly planning.

Time blocking is a time management method in which you block off chunks of time for a task or project. For example, you would block off the morning for writing work, the afternoon for meetings, and the evening for working out/meal prepping. Time blocking is helpful for people who need more flexibility in their schedule.

Hourly planning is when you plan your schedule by the hour. This is especially useful for appointment based businesses. Hair Stylists, realtors, creative professionals, personal trainers, and more, need their businesses to run on time. Hourly planning is also great for teachers and students. With back-to-back classes and after school activities, hourly planning helps academics stay on top of their schedule. 

Some people like to do a mix of hourly planning and time blocking. This way, you’ll have structured time as well as free time that you can customize. 

Here’s how to do it: Start scheduling in your tasks and meetings that already have a specific time and deadline. These will be the anchor points of your schedule. You can then slot in the other remaining tasks around these anchor points. 

Make sure to examine your schedule and see what makes sense. Don’t schedule a big project on a day that already has ten things going on. Look for pockets of time, or break down your task and do it over the course of the week. 

Weekly planning helps you manage multiple projects 

Over the course of the week, you’re probably going to have to manage a million different things. Sometimes your focus will be on a big work project or a house project or a personal goal—or all three. 

For those weeks when you have a lot going on, plan and organize your week in advance to help you manage it all.

Here’s how to do it: At the start of the week, capture the different work streams that you have to keep an eye on. For example: house project, work assignment, fitness goals, etc.

Then, make a list of the different components you have to do for each project. For example, if you’re working on a house project, you’ll want to list things like “get estimates, talk to contractors, work on budget.” Then, assign each task a day/time to work on it. 

Weekly planning helps you plan with intention

Do you feel like the weeks are rushing by? Or do you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut? Whether you’re looking to create more balance in your life or generate momentum, weekly planning helps you own your days. 

Here’s how to do it: When conducting your weekly planning session, take a moment to define your intention or focus for the week. 

  • What do you want to work on? 
  • What do you want to prioritize? 

Basically, your intention is like the main theme or mantra for the week. Maybe you’ll want to focus on your goals one week. Or work on getting out of your comfort zone the next. 

By defining your intention, you’ll be more deliberate about your choices throughout the week. You’ll know what projects or obligations you can say yes or no to because you’ll already know what to focus on. 

With a weekly plan, you’ll design your week with more thought and care. And the days will start to feel more whole and dynamic again.

Written by JiJi Lee.

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