I often get asked “how do you do it all?!” or “how do you even have time for that?!” Want to know the answer? I plan for it! I have created a successful weekly planning routine that allows me to utilize proper time management and prioritization throughout my weeks. This helps me juggle everything in my crazy, hectic life. Today, I am going to give you a peek into my exact weekly planning process and show you just how you can plan your week for success and do it all too!
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What is a Weekly Planning Routine?
Perhaps you’ve heard this term before but are still not quite clear on the meaning. A weekly planning routine is a simple checklist you complete each week that helps you track your goals, check in with major projects, monitor your habits, and schedule out important events and tasks for the upcoming week. It can be as simple or as complicated as you would like, but should not take you any more than an hour to complete! It is the ultimate tool to plan your week for success.
Important: An hour of time to complete a weekly planning routine might sound like a lot of time, but it goes by quickly and saves you HOURS of time over the week! This process will make it so you really don’t have to do much planning during the week (except for your quick 5-minute daily routine) and has so many benefits!
So… what are the benefits of a weekly planning routine?
Okay, let me tell you! A weekly planning routine enables you to plan your week the way you want it. This helps you to do the following easily:
- Smash your task list
- Utilize time management techniques, such as scheduling out time blocks (which saves you a TON of time)
- Prepare for upcoming events, such as meetings, birthdays, and presentations
- Save a ton of time you would have been spending on figuring out what to do next
- Actually reach your goals through tracking, monitoring, and turning your goals into actionable tasks
- Never let anything slip through the cracks
Top Planning Supplies
Everyone plans in their own unique way. Personally, I have found the most success combining both paper planning (physically using pen and paper) and digital planning (using apps and computer programs). Below, I have listed my go-to planning supplies and products. All of these I completely SWEAR by and wish I had used them sooner!
- The Olden Chapters Ultimate Student Printable Planner: I was never able to find a paper planner that perfectly fit my needs, so I created my own! This planner includes over 50 great planning layouts, student worksheets, financial planners, project trackers, and so. much. more. Plus, because it is a printable, you can print off any page as many times as you want! Check it out!
- The Olden Chapters Goal Printable Planner: This is the ultimate goal printable planner! With over 25 different workbooks, calendars, trackers, goal worksheets, and more, this planner includes everything you might need to reach each and every goal this year.
- The Olden Chapters Project Planning Freebie: Another great resource (and completely free, I might add!) is my Project Planning Freebie! This includes a project planner dashboard and a complete project planning checklist to help ensure each of your projects are planned to perfection.
- A5 Filofax Binder: Hands down, my favorite binder to put my planner pages into is the Filofax A5. I prefer the Malden style, but they also offer a great Original binder and a Finsbury binder (plus more options seasonally…). Kikki K offers some great A5 options too!
- Bullet Journal: Along side a planner, many people turn to a bullet journal to jot down their everyday thoughts and ideas. Many have also created a great planning system with it as well! This system is outlined in Ryder Carroll’s bestselling book.
- Coleto Pen and Refills: Every planner needs a great pen. The Coleto Pen is my current favorite! It is a multi-pen that offers four different colors to use, all at your finger tips.
- Zebra Mildliner Highlighters: Another planning must-have is a highlighter set, of course! These help ease your color coding process and allow you to highlight important events or tasks. Zebra Mildliners are, hands down, my favorite go-to highlighter, as they are much more mild than regular highlighters and offer two different sized tips!
- Colorful Page Flags: Page flags help you index important pages and easily navigate through your planner. A cheap must-have planning essential!
- Washi Tape: Finally, washi tape is my planning supply obsession. It is colorful tape that you can easily write on, allowing you to decorate your planning pages, flag multiple dates on a calendar, and more.
Check out my Ultimate Student Printable Planner Bundle, it has everything you need to skyrocket your GPA, plan your life, manage your finances, score some killer scholarships, and so much more!
Project Planning Freebie
Are you ready to get serious about your productivity? Well, me too… This great project planning freebie will help kickstart your productivity and turn your major projects into small, bite-sized actionable tasks you can easily schedule into your future. Download this freebie now and get started mastering your projects today!
How to Plan Your Week for Success: My Weekly Planning Routine
So, let’s get down to business. As I mentioned in my daily planning post (and in the introduction of this post…) I believe the best way to ensure success in any planning system is to create your very own planning routine. In the case of weekly planning it should be a… you guessed it… weekly planning routine. Below, I have listed my own weekly planning routine in the hopes that it will help you can create your very own and plan your week for success. Let’s dive in.
1. Complete Daily Planning Routine
Before you begin planning out the upcoming week, you need to get all caught up with your current task lists, project plans, goal trackers, etc. In order to do this, I suggest you make a small daily planning routine (to take 5 minutes long max per day) that you complete each day (HERE is mine if you need some inspiration). This list should include at least a few of the following:
- Check off all completed tasks for the day
- Migrate any unfinished tasks to a different list you can reference later (such as a master task list)
- Check off any habits you’ve completed on your habit tracker
2. Process Inbox
An inbox is a place where you keep all of your random notes, tasks, projects, etc. before they are filed away into their proper location (side note: this is one of many great concepts that came from the amazing David Allen in his book Getting Things Done). Personally, my inbox is a blank note page at the front of my planner (I use THIS planner). Whenever an idea, task, event or simply something that is bothering me comes up, I just write it down onto this inbox page and move on until I process it at the end of the week.
How do you process an inbox? Well, first you complete any task that is going to take you two minutes or less RIGHT NOW. Then, you move the events to your calendar, tasks to the appropriate task list (such as a master task list, home task list, work task list, etc.), and so on.
Learn more about inboxes, how to process them, and many more great ideas in David Allen’s Getting Things Done book. This book is perfect to listen to in Audiobook form on your morning commute… productivity here you come!
3. Create This Week’s Schedule
Next, take a look at your calendar. Are there any major events, meetings, birthdays, holidays, etc. that are happening this week? What are your work hours? When are your classes? What days do you have off? Do you have a hair appointment? All of these things should be added to your weekly schedule. Personally, I utilize a weekly calendar page (offered in my printable planner) to keep track of all of these things.
4. Create This Week’s Task List
Now, start creating a task list for the week. Start the list off by writing down tasks you need to complete for any of your events. For example, perhaps there is a birthday coming up you need to purchase and send a card for. Or maybe an important meeting you need to prepare for.
5. Check in with Master Task List
Next, head over to your master task list. Be sure to check off any tasks you have completed already and run through the list to see if there is anything you can do this week. Add these tasks to your This Week’s Task List.
Tip: A master task list can be such a useful productivity tool. It is a list that you can easily turn to with everything you need to get done that is organized by deadline, category, etc. I have a quick how-to-guide on creating these bad boys at the end of this post!
6. Check in With Current Projects
Next, turn to your project planners (oh yeah, don’t forget your free project planner!). The first thing you’ll want to do is quickly check off all of the tasks that have already been completed. Next, add any tasks that are due next week (or soon) to your This Week’s Task List. If you want to get ahead, go ahead and add another task! Do this for each project you currently have.
7. Check in with Weekly and Monthly Goals
Quickly look back at last week’s goals. Did you meet them? If so, celebrate and give yourself a reward (this gift list is great for reward ideas). Next, check in with your monthly goal planner. Check off all completed goals and schedule any unfinished goals/tasks onto your This Week’s Task List. Then create a list of 3-5 goals for the week and add a reward for when you meet them! These could be anything related to your monthly goals, important project tasks, etc.
Want to learn how to successfully plan out your goals this month? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Monthly Reviews!
8. Delegate and Prioritize Tasks
Your This Week’s Task List is now complete! It is time to run through the list and delegate anything you can to someone else (you can be doing more important things with your time). Next, run through it again and prioritize your list. Number them in order of importance, starting from 1.
Tip: Color code your task list by category using different colored pens to help you quickly understand what needs to be done. This will also help you group your tasks into time blocks. You can even further color code each task by using highlighters (these are my favorite)!
9. Assign Each Task to a Day of the Week
Next, using your prioritization numbers, begin adding a day of the week to each task. You can do this in a couple different ways:
The first is to simply count how many tasks you have (make sure it is a reasonable number) and divide that number by the seven days of the week. Then, starting with your first priority task, start assigning that number of tasks per day.
The second way (which I recommend much more) is to assign each day of the week with a theme. For example, every Sunday could be your errands day, Monday could be your big project day, Tuesday could be your financial planning and budgeting day, etc. Then, still taking into account your priorities, group your tasks by theme and assign them to your different themed days. Personally, Monday is my career development and finance day. So I always schedule out my budget reviews, study time for licensing exams, resume updates, networking events, industry research and other related tasks to my Monday’s task list.
That was a bit of information. In short, at the end of this step, each of your tasks on your This Week’s Task List should have a day of the week you will complete it.
Tip: Grouping your tasks by category and assigning them to different days of the week will help you utilize time blocking much more effectively!
10. Plan Tomorrow
Now that you have a detailed, prioritized, and organized This Week’s Task List, finish your daily planning routine by creating tomorrow’s task list (using the assigned tasks) and planning for any upcoming events.
Don’t forget, if you need help with your daily planning routine, check out mine HERE.
11. Prep and Plan This Week’s Budget
The last few tasks of this weekly planning list are a bit extra and not as important as steps 1-10, but many people benefit from them! The first of these optional steps is to create a weekly budget. Personally, I maintain my budget on a monthly timeline (check out how budget HERE) but I check in with my budget tracker once a week to make sure I am still on track to meet my financial goals. However, you might use this time to create a weekly budget, pay any bills, or any other quick tasks related to your finances.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Sticking to a Budget to Smash Your Financial Goals (plus a free monthly budget planner!)
12. Plan Outfits for the Week
An easy morning time saver is to know what outfit you will wear each day. This is also incredibly useful when traveling (so you don’t overpack). Some people use an actual outfit planner or hanger tags to separate outfits. I just jot down my outfits according to weather conditions in my weekly planner. Actually, these hanger tags are SUPER cute… I might need to get them…
13. Plan out Workouts for the Week
Next, you might want to carve out some time in your schedule for your workouts, then write down what you will be doing each day. You can even make a list of every exercise you will do to help motivate you to get it done! I have a very detailed workout and weight lifting schedule setup for the entire year that I follow with spreadsheets, but you can make it as simple or as complicated as you would like!
14. Plan and Prep Meals for the Week
Another great time saver is to plan out and prep all of your meals for the upcoming week. My favorite way to do this is to can soup, prep all of my salad vegetables so they are ready to go, and create some great go-to snacks I can easily grab on the go. HERE is my full detailed post on how I meal prep every week and save major money on my healthy eating habits.
15. Plan and Prep… Anything Else You need!
Finally, don’t forget to add any other weekly planning task you might need to your weekly planning routine. This could be anything planning-related you might need to do on a weekly bases… perhaps for work, family, school, or your side hustle?
Bonus: How to Create a Master Task List
Having a master task list is one of the key things that can maintain your productivity and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. There are two main ways I suggest doing this. First, you can have all of your tasks on one major list (and call it your Master Task List) OR you can create several lists, with one page per category (such as your Home Task List, Work Task List, Personal Task List, etc.) and call the bundle of lists your Master Task List. Each way works great, here are my top tips on getting the most out of your list:
- Add a column for “Priority” and assign each task into one of the following priorities: high, medium, low
- Add a column for “Category” (if you aren’t doing the bundle of lists as described above) and add a category to your task, some category examples might include: work, family, home, personal, health, finance, career development, side hustle, and school
- In addition to adding a listed category (or in lieu of…) color code each task by category
- Categorize your tasks using the same categories as your goals (I go over goal categorization in this great post) and, even better, use the same colors too!
- Add a column for “Estimated Time to Complete” and list a number in minutes, this can help you schedule out your tasks
- Give each task a deadline! This is perhaps the most important tip, then you will know when to add it to your weekly task list!
Top Books on Planning
Books that cover productivity and planning are my favorite kind of non-fiction books. Is it just me? Am I weird? Oh well! If you’re in that same fun productivity-loving boat as me, you will adore these great planning books!
This is the O.G. of planning books (in my opinion…). This book is the reason I started reading other great productivity books. I can not recommend it enough! In fact, I have read it multiple times (I listen to it on Audible while I am driving to and from work). What is it about? Well, David Allen creates this unbeatable productivity technique that can be incorporated into anyone’s planning system. It is a must read. Check it out HERE!
If you loved Getting Things Done (um hello, how could you not?!), you will love this great workbook! It is pretty much a kickstarting workbook that forces you to get more productive. Check it out HERE!
Okay, The Bullet Journal Method is another must-read planning book. It is a complete guide to bullet journalling by the creator himself! What is bullet journaling, you might ask? It is a completely flexible planning system that you make up as you go! It is based in a blank dotted journal and works on a cataloging system. Want to learn more? Or, perhaps you already use a bullet journal and want to learn the top secrets of success? Don’t miss THIS book.
This best selling book has been a hot topic item for quite some time now. It tells the amazing tale of how Ferriss went from working 80 hours per week, to 4 hours per week (with the same income!). This book is filled with productivity tips, goal setting hacks, and so much more to ensure your energies are spent in the right areas of your life. A must read!
My last favorite productivity and planning book is The Power of Habit. This book covers the importance of habit creation in our daily lives. Duhigg covers how one habit can truly change our lives and how we can control our future with small, everyday changes.
Looking for further posts about productivity, goal planning, and more? Check out these great related posts to help you smash your to do list this year!
- The Ultimate Guide to Productivity and Mastering Your Task List: 54 Life Changing Tips
- The Ultimate Printable Planner for Student Success
- Achieve Your Short Term Goals in 12 Simple Steps
- A Complete Guide to Long Term Goal Planning
And…. that is a wrap! Phew, we went over a lot of material today, didn’t we? Well, I sure hope you found this great weekly planning guide helpful and are now able to use these tools to plan your week for success. Happy planning!