Weekly Planning Beats Winging It

Have you ever been overwhelmed by everything you have to do?  One way to minimize that overwhelmed feeling is to have a weekly planning session to plan the coming week.

The purpose of this session is:

  • to see what appointments you have;
  • to see what other things you need to do;
  • to figure out when you’re going to do  everything and make sure there isn’t too much;
  • to have a plan rather than flying by the seat  of your pants (I crash when I work that way).

A simple form that shows the week and provides space for must-do tasks will make your weekly planning simpler (a completed form and a blank form are available for download at the bottom of this article).  Here are a few ideas for completing the worksheet:

  1. Fill in the things you HAVE to do – like appointments, errands, work, social events.  Don’t just write them in – you also need to block out the amount of time these activities take.
  2. Fill in the things you know you WILL do – like get ready for work in the morning, eat meals, sit on the couch and watch tv.  Be realistic when you plan because if you aren’t, the plan won’t work.  This isn’t a worksheet of goals, it’s a plan for the week.  And again, don’t just write these things in – block out the time each activity will take.
  3. Fill in the section at the bottom for daily tasks.  Include in this section things that must be done – like call someone on their birthday, mail a card, finish your grocery list, set out the trash, etc.
  4. If you have time and think it will help you, color code your worksheet so you can see at a glance when you are busy and when you have “free time”.  I use blue for meal breaks, yellow for babysitting my grandkids, orange for relax time, green for appointments and errands, and pink for things that don’t fit the other categories, like watching football!
  5. And the most important step of all is to analyze the data and see if your plan will work.  Obviously if you have two appointments at the same time, one will have to be changed.  Or you might notice that you’re going to be gone every night of the week and that’s too much.
  6. Finally, plug in some of the other things you need to do (like house cleaning or cooking) and some things you want to do.  The weekly chart helps you see when you will be able to do those things.

This method might sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t.  The more you do it, the quicker you get.  So give it a shot and see if it makes a difference for you.  Plan your week and work your plan!

Click here to download this form.

Comments

  1. I love color-coding! It helps me quickly identify if the item is a “me” item, a “son” or “daughter” item, a “work” item or a “family” item. As for #2, on your list…I struggle with this. I just never write down things like “get ready for work” or “drive home from work”. They seem like such obvious things that I just never bother to put them down. If I’m going to leave for work at 5 am I’m obviously going to have to get up and get ready for work so why write it down. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe I’m just missing something….but I’m going to give it another try.
    DEM recently posted…Call Me Crazy!My Profile

    • Here’s the deal – about writing down “obvious” things. That’s not something most people do. But I’m not most people and I have certain issues! I have ADHD and time management is a big challenge for me. When I’m planning, I need to see some of those obvious things in order to have an accurate handle on what my day holds. On my to do list, I include routine things like make dinner, do laundry, clean, etc. If I don’t, it’s possible I’ll forget to do them. Or I’ll plan too much of the other stuff and not allow enough time to make dinner. But that’s just me. Most people don’t do it that way. And that’s why traditional to do lists don’t work for me. They assume you’re NOT including those kinds of items. How do you prioritize between laundry, dinner, cleaning and making a phone call. I can’t! But if my list consists only of out of the ordinary things, like most to-do lists do, I don’t have any trouble prioritizing. And that’s why I tend to divide my list into “routine to do’s” and “special to do’s”. Then it’s easier to prioritize.

      So if you don’t need to include or write down those routine things, don’t. That’s the beauty of all these techniques – make them work for you! And if the way you do it works, don’t mess with it. If it’s not working, borrow some of my ideas to tweak your method. But my exact technique probably isn’t going to work for you!

  2. Hi Patty!
    I just found your site and this post is great! Like you I have “issues”, since I’m bipolar. Time management is a constant struggle for me too. I have tried all the strategies with planners, smartphones, lists, you name it, but I don’t get it to work. My biggest problem as a bipolar, I rely to much on feelings. I tend to think it has to feel right to do it. Well, as a bipolar it rarely does. And I am SO time challenged. I get stuck in a chore and forget time, or don’t start cause I think it will take forever. This system, to write down everything, with correct amount of time to do it…. I really gonna try that. I threw out my planner a while ago since we never became friends, think it’s time to invite it in again. Thanks so much for your tip!

    • Linda, I can really relate to everything you said. I’m not bipolar but I have ADHD. Time management is a struggle for me, too. I hadn’t thought about it, but I might rely on feelings a bit, too – it has to feel right and it rarely does.

      Along the lines of writing down tasks with the correct amount of time, you might want to add them all up to be sure they equal the amount of time you actually have. And if you have a time limit, a timer is helpful. Sometimes I do that. Whenever I work on quilt tops, my tendency is to work on the quilt and do nothing else. But that doesn’t usually work. So I set a timer and work for an hour. Then I stop and do something else. Then I go back and work for another hour. If you’re doing something but want to work only a certain amount of time, a timer really helps. I use them a lot.

      Let me know how the new strategy works.

  3. Well I DID order one of the cheapest Filo today, a personal. Gonna give this a try. Besides writing down my stuff, with time, I also gonna write down WHY I’m doing this, my goal of sorts. That way I have something to refer to when I got those FEELINGS again. :-) I also subscribed to your blog. It is good to know I’m not the only one with “issues” and some problems with fatigue on top of that. It can be done! :-)

    • You are definitely not alone, Linda! And thanks for subscribing.

      I think that writing down WHY you’re doing this is an awesome idea because those feelings will definitely come. Being prepared is the best way to beat them.

      keep me posted.

  4. Hi Patty,
    I was wondering how you were able to change your weekly chart from diy fish to daily task on top and weekly tasks on bottom. I have been unab le to find a way to change the weekly for at all. Can you please let me know how you did it because I think this will help me quite a lot.
    Thanks,
    Barb

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