Reclaim your Life with Weekly Planning

Before I started planning my week, my life was chaotic.  My bills were late despite having enough money to pay for them. My house was a mess, despite constantly cleaning. I was exhausted and frustrated that I did not have time to myself. I was always being pulled in five different directions without making any progress.  I turned to weekly planning as an outlet to organize the chaos and pencil in some time for myself.  

What are the Benefits of Weekly Planning?

Weekly Planning has the following Benefits:

  1. Helps You get Organized and Improve Time Management
  2. Reduces your Mental Workload and Helps you to Reach your Goals
  3. Helps you Find Time for the Things you Enjoy
  4. Helps to Keep Track of Important Information

Get Organized and Improve Time Management with Weekly Planning

Every Sunday my weekly planner starts out as a blank canvas. I start penciling in the tasks that must occur on a certain day.  Mostly these are appointments ,work days, and special occasions. I then create a list of things that need to get done during the week, but don’t necessarily need to get done on a certain day or at a certain time.  This includes things like grocery shopping, returning an item to a store, or dropping a package off at the post office.

I review the list of things that need to get done and pencil them in where they make the most sense. For example if I have an appointment in a shopping plaza where there is also a post office. I will pencil in a post office run. If I am having a particularly busy weekend with birthday parties or other events and see that I won’t have time to make it to the grocery store on the weekend, I will set up a grocery delivery.

I have a toddler at home, so I also make a list of tasks that I want to accomplish while he is at pre-school or after he has gone to bed for the evening.  Mostly these are my cleaning and organizing projects around the house and working on this blog.

Organizing tasks in this way helps me to stay focused. So, when I have some down time, I can look at my prioritized list and decide what is a good fit.

As an example, before I started planning my week and organizing tasks, when I would get home from work early and my husband was picking up our son from daycare,  I would head to the kitchen start tackling the dishes, and getting dinner started.  The whole time I would complain about not having time to myself. What I was missing is that this WAS time the time to myself that I had been seeking. It was right in front of my face, but I was using it to perform tasks that could be completed once my son was home.

Now that I plan weekly and have a prioritized list of tasks. I see this window as an opportunity to tackle something I WANT to do. Dinner and  dishes can wait, and I get to them at their regular time.  I feel much more fulfilled and I am in a better mood, after tackling a project or working on a blog post before dinner.

Reduce your Mental Workload and Reach your Goals with Weekly Planning

I began to breathe a huge sigh of relief when I could go about my daily tasks without worrying that I would forget to do something.  When I was making breakfast, I would constantly play my to do list in my head. Don’t forget to order a gift, or don’t forget to schedule a payment, don’t forget to drop off something at the post office….

I was going through life worrying about forgetting something. Writing my to do list in a weekly planner is a huge mental relief. I know what needs to get accomplished and I no longer have to worry about forgetting to do something or to be somewhere. Life is much more enjoyable when I am able to easily flow from one task to the next.

Research shows that you are more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down. This is another benefit of weekly planning. My planner has a habit tracker in it, I use it to track things such as taking vitamins, meditation, and a brief workout routine.  Using a habit tracker helps me stay on track to moving toward a healthier lifestyle.

Using a weekly planner to take meaningful action toward a larger goal provides a feeling of satisfaction.  Having the tasks in one place and reviewing it throughout the week can help you see how your smaller achievable task will help you to reach a larger goal.

Less Distracting than Planning Apps on Mobile Devices

I spend SOOOOOO much time in front of screens.  My job as a software tester requires me to spend much of my day in front of a computer screen.  I tried using the calendar app on my phone to plan my week, but I found it incredibly difficult to stay focused. Text Messages, emails, social media alerts, alerts from news apps, would pop up while I was trying to plan my week.

Eventually I would give in and scroll through a social media feed or get involved in a group text that probably could have waited.  I find it easier to take time on Sunday evenings with my phone on silent and start filling in my plans for the week. Each day I find 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time and update my plan for the day and prioritize the tasks I need to accomplish.

Use Weekly Planning to find time for the Things you Enjoy

I used to be uncomfortable doing things I wanted to do, until I finished everything I “needed” to do….and there was always something that “needed” to be done. Planning out my week allows me to schedule my top priority tasks. So it is okay to have some down time on Wednesday after work, even if there are still tasks left on my to do list. Knowing there are tasks to be completed, but are scheduled for Thursday and Friday allows me to relax and enjoy a pocket of down time.

Keep Track of Important Information with Weekly Planning

I am responsible for handling my grandmother’s affairs such as bills, appointments, prescriptions, arranging transportation & coordinating with her care takers.  I would make phone calls on her behalf, write information such as a reference number on a random piece of paper or the back of an envelope, or on one of the 5 notepads I have floating around. I could never seem to find the information I needed when I was ready to follow up.

Weekly Planner

Now when I am making phone calls, I keep my planner near by to jot down any notes while on the phone call.  Now I keep them in one place and know exactly where they are when I need them. It is easy for me to flip through my planner and find the notes I need.

My planner also becomes a historical record, so if I need that reference number or a Point of Contact that I put in my notes, I can flip back a few weeks in my planner and get the information that I need. I spend less time tracking down random post it notes, napkins, or the back of an envelope that I wrote something down on.

Even if I do resort to a napkin or a post it in a pinch. I can put the information in my planner and refer to it later.

I still have the same amount of responsibility and tasks to complete each week. Organizing them helps me to accomplish them more efficiently and reduces the amount of stress I feel on a daily basis.

Related Questions

What are the benefits of planning?

Planning in general helps you use your resources efficiently. Meal planning is a way to use groceries efficiently. Budgeting allows you to use your money efficiently. Daily planning allows you to use your time efficiently.  

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