How to Use a Weekly Planner With Your Yearly Planner

A planner and a task pad sit on a desk near a laptop computer

You want to keep your eye on the big picture but you also need a way to manage your daily work. 

The solution? Use a weekly planner with your yearly planner. 

Here’s why. 

A yearly planner helps you capture the long-term vision. Maybe you’re looking to advance in your career or achieve a dream goal. You would use a yearly planner to plot out your year and set regular targets to keep yourself on track. 

Whereas a yearly planner is all about big picture thinking, a weekly planner lets you take care of the nuts and bolts of your everyday life. You can get really granular with a weekly planner and include deadlines, meetings, appointments, daily breaks, etc.

Success takes both long-term and short-term planning. Your weekly planner and yearly planner work in tandem so that you can aim for big targets while also managing the details and specific action steps. 

Let’s take a closer look at how you can sync up your weekly planner with your yearly planner so that you can achieve the best results. 

Part 1: Long-term planning with your yearly planner 

A yearly planner is designed for big picture strategizing. 

So the first thing you’ll want to do is think about the long view or your big picture goals. Because you have to know where you’re going before you can take that first step. 

Ask yourself: What are the things that I want to accomplish by the end of the year? 

Maybe you want to apply to grad school. Or write a draft of a novel. Or get a promotion. Or run a marathon. These are all big picture goals that require time and patience to achieve. 

Some people like to set multiple big picture goals. While others may just choose one or two. A lot of it will depend on your schedule and what you think you’ll have time and energy for. 

Regardless if you have one big goal or five, you’ll want to break your goal down into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are going to be your quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. 

For example, if your big picture goal is to get a promotion by the end of the year, some of your smaller goals can include: strengthen public speaking skills, get advice from coworkers, establish regular one-on-one meetings with my manager, take on bigger projects at work, etc.

With your yearly planner in hand, you would start scheduling your quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. To use use the above example, your yearly planner schedule might look like this:

  • End-of-year goal: To get a promotion at work
  • Q1 goal: Strengthen my public speaking skills
  • January goal: Sign up for a public speaking course 
  • January weekly goals: Attend classes 
  • February goal: Speak up more at meetings 
  • February weekly goals: Study the meeting agenda and prepare questions/comments in advance
  • March goal: Lead the presentation at the annual meeting
  • March weekly goals: Rehearse presentation 

As you can see, success doesn’t happen overnight. Rather than trying to achieve your big goal in one sitting, which is simply impossible, and not to mention overwhelming, you’re using a yearly planner to parcel out the work by quarter, month, and week. 

Tip: During this big picture strategy session, you’ll also want to keep your eye out for potential challenges and obstacles along the way. Take note of busy times of year or potential budgeting issues and scheduling conflicts. This way you can be prepared for any bumps in the road. 

Part 2: Manage the details with your weekly planner 

So you’ve developed your big picture goal and you have a sense of the quarterly, monthly, and weekly targets you need to achieve. 

Now it’s time to get even more specific with your weekly planner.

If a yearly planner is all about the big picture view, then your weekly planner is finessing the details. 

These are the micro actions you take every week and every single day to help you improve, grow, and reach your goal.

To do a weekly planning session, you’ll want to refer to your yearly planner and look at your goal for the month. For this example, let’s use “uplevel my marketing strategy” as your monthly goal.

So then ask yourself: 

What can I do this week to help me reach that goal? Maybe it’s promoting new products on Instagram and engaging with customers. 

And what small thing can I do each day to get closer to that goal? Maybe it’s meeting with clients and team members. 

So your weekly planning schedule might look like this:

  • Monthly goal: Uplevel my marketing strategy 
  • Week of December 4th goal: Promote new product on Instagram 
  • Monday: Release promotional video of new product on Instagram 
  • Tuesday: Check DMs and comments and answer questions from customers
  • Wednesday: Meet with the team to go over plans for next week’s video shoot 
  • Thursday: Reach out to brands or influencers for possible collaboration
  • Friday: Measure engagement for the week

You can also use your weekly planner to identify your priorities for each day, and review your progress at the end of each week. Make sure to celebrate your small wins, too! This will motivate you to keep doing the work and maintain your goal

And don’t forget that your weekly planner is also for planning your personal life. You can use your weekly planner to schedule everything from social outings and events to chores and workout routines. 

Part 3: Putting it all together with your weekly and yearly planner 

Reaching a big goal is like climbing a mountain. You’re not going to necessarily reach the summit on your first attempt. But with planning and preparation, and by setting your sights on milestones along the way, you can gradually make progress and reach the top. 

You’ll want to use your weekly planner on a daily basis since it will hold your schedule and daily to-do lists. 

And it’s always a good idea to consult your yearly planner every month and quarter to ensure that you’re making headway on your big goals and that the actions you take everyday are in lockstep with your overall vision. 

At times, you’ll probably find that your personal and professional lives will overlap and compete for your attention. 

Rather than feeling like you’re being tugged in a million different directions, use your weekly planner and yearly planner together to help you approach each month, day, and week with purpose. 

For more advice on how to use your weekly or yearly planner, check out our guide here and here.
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