Planning does not make things perfect. Life is, after all, life. The goal of planning is not perfection, it’s structure.
I’m going to let you in on a secret… are you ready? I struggle with organization and structure. That’s why I make these planner products! Planning, as in using a planer to structure your days and weeks, gives you a system to fall back on when times get tough.
Not planning your week is a guaranteed way to set yourself up for failure. When you have a plan in place you’re better prepared to deal with last-minute changes, minor emergencies, making dinner for the family, meeting deadlines — all the beautiful and stressful things that can happen in a week. You’re better prepared to deal with life.
In other words, when life hands you lemons it’s much easier to make lemonade when you have a structure in place.
Today, I want to share my five steps for planning out my week. In a perfect world, I walk through these five steps on the weekend so I can hit the ground running on Monday. Realisticaly that doesn’t always happen and that’s ok. Figure out what works for you and work towards it. The point is to write things down on paper, to create a plan.
You’re going to need a paper planner — the Week on One Page planner is a great tool for planning your week — access to any digital or shared calendars, and any to-do lists or due dates you have floating around.
Step 1: Utilize a Weekly Prep Day
Prep Day is essential for setting yourself up for success. I talk more about my own prep day routine here – it’s the day to get organized and meal plan, the day to mentally and physically prepare for the week ahead. Our Prep Day Notepad is a lifesaver; it’s a quick and easy checklist for prep day.
Step 2: Review your calendar for the week ahead.
Transfer information from your digital calendar to your paper planner. Make note of due dates, add to your to-do lists, break down projects into the next steps, and do anything you can to set yourself up for success for the week.
Step Three: Write it all down.
Have general to-dos for the week? Health goals? Intentions you want to set for yourself? Get it out of your head and onto paper in your planner. Do not attempt to keep everything in your brain. Mental lists do not work. We think we’ll remember that one thing we need to do or that little bit of important information someone told us. We will not remember! Plus, magical things happen when you write things down.
Journaling may also be something that helps clear your mind to start the week. Over the last few years (especially while working on my book), I’ve found myself journaling a lot. It helps me process. If that’s you too, you might consider finding time to journal each week, if not daily, to help you process.
Step 4: Leave White Space in Your Calendar
Now that you’ve reviewed your schedule and transferred important appointments, meetings, and to-dos to your weekly planner, let’s make sure you haven’t over-scheduled yourself. Is there white space in your planner for this week? Or is every single moment of your week accounted for? White space on your calendar means mental white space too. Those mental breaks allow you to rest and recharge, and are often when inspiration strikes.
Step 5: Give yourself grace when things go wrong!
I repeat planning does not make things perfect. Just look at the world right now! When you put systems in place, like planning out your week, you have a structure to fall back on when times get tough. Use your mental energy for the important stuff like moments with those you love the most, meaningful work, or taking care of yourself. Things will go wrong. Give yourself the grace to mess up, then move on!
Spend a few minutes planning out your week or you’ll spend the entire week feeling underprepared and unproductive. Life is going to happen, you might as well have a safety net to cushion your falls. Shop the Whitney English weekly planner collection here.
So what weekly planning tips work best for you? Share below, I’d love to hear!