HOW TO PLAN FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Here are some tips on how to plan for the week ahead so you can write your To Do list and organise your schedule. A little time reviewing the coming week will help you get the right things done with much less stress.
PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Life can get busy but luckily there are plenty of tips to make it a little easier. A couple of the popular posts on my blog are about planning for the month ahead (I’ll link them at the bottom of this post). So, I thought it might be helpful to share what I also do at the start of each week.
I’ve listed 10 little things I do to get prepared for the week ahead. I normally do this on a Sunday and it takes about 10 minutes. That’s not a lot of time when I think about the benefits I gain throughout the rest of the week!
As Benjamin Franklin said…
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”
I find that spending a little bit of time getting organised like this really helps me be in a better place for the coming week.
- I know where I’ve got to be, what I need to do and I can often still find a little bit of quality time for family and taking care of myself.
- I don’t stress as much because I’m not chasing my tail forgetting things, fire-fighting problems and rushing to get from A to C and forgetting B in the process.
- I’m realistic about what I can achieve so I get everything done rather than being overly ambitious and frustrating myself because I haven’t ticked everything off my over-long To Do list.
If you’d like to try it for yourself, grab your diary and a notebook and check out these ten tips for how to plan for the week ahead.
HOW TO PLAN FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
1. Find some quiet time: Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, find some time and a place where you won’t be interrupted. Making this planning exercise a pleasure will help ensure you want to do it once a week rather than it being a chore which you’d rather avoid!
2. Open your diary and take stock of what’s there: Whether your diary is in paper form or digital on your phone or computer is entirely your choice. Just use whatever format you find easiest and most reliable. Have a look through and see what you’ve got coming up for the week.
3. Include everything: Make sure you’ve included every activity and appointment. Mark out blocks of time for doing the school run and any errands you need to run. Block out when you’re at work. If you’ve got something to do or a place to be, make sure it’s all in the diary.
4. Assess your priorities: Make a list of things you absolutely need to do this week and include these in your diary. Don’t overload the To Do list, keep it short but strategic and it’s much more likely to get done. You could include things like making a dentist appointment, place your online order for grocery delivery, phone your mum, collect that library book.
5. Add in free time: Don’t forget to also block out some free time, whether that’s just for you or for your family. It doesn’t need to be planned to the nearest nano-second and you don’t need to know exactly how you’re going to spend it. However, if you want some free time, we often need to make that space otherwise it doesn’t happen! Same goes for exercise and self-care too! Have you added them in?
6. Review your calendar: Now you’ve marked in everything that you’ve got coming up for the week, take a good look at what’s on there. Are you happy with how much (or how little you’ve got to do)? Are you too busy? Would you like more free time?
7. Check for key dates: Double-check for important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, dentist or doctor’s appointments. Make a list of any gifts or cards you need to buy, post or send. Do you need to juggle childcare? What about transport?
8. Remove things if you need: If you feel too busy, could you take anything away? Perhaps cancel or postpone something until the following week or month? No doesn’t have to mean no forever.
9. Add in alerts or reminders: I use my phone to remind me of important appointments or key dates so I don’t have to use my brain to remind me instead. Use your phone as your very own little PA to give you a reminder an hour or a day before when you have something coming up!
10. Wiggle time: This is my favourite and highly technical term for giving yourself space and margin for error. Over-booking or over-stuffing your diary gives you no flexibility in case something unforeseen comes up, runs late or you just need a little time out after all. Check for wiggle room!
I hope this list gives you some ideas on how to plan for the week ahead.
The key for me has been making this whole exercise a regular part of my Sunday routine and sticking to it. I’ve found that a few minutes spent reviewing and getting organised for the coming week really helps me get things done without stressing myself out in the process.
Here are some other time management tips and articles to help you get a little more organised:
- How to use Sunday to get a head-start on the coming week
- How to feel less overwhelmed when life gets busy
- 9 things to do at the start of each month to get organised
- Monthly checklist
- 15 ways to be more productive – Get more done in less time
- Maximise Your Time – My popular little time management course to help you be productive, organised and the boss of your schedule