I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I love to plan things out. In fact, I’m pretty sure my friends are sick of hearing about how much I love my planner. But hey! It helps me feel in control and prepared for whatever comes my way. This is how I start planning out my week to maximize efficiency and ensure that I get to all of the things that I want to. Hope it helps!
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Why plan your week?
Planning out your week is one of the best ways to set the tone for what comes next. It can also help you feel prepared and keeps you aware of everything that you’ve got going on so nothing slips through the cracks. Everyday life gets hectic, so using a planner totally helps you stay on track!
These are the materials that I use, but feel free to adapt it to your preferences!
- Medium weekly planner from Passion Planner (I love their set up and it’s so easy to use)
- Zebra mildliners (these highlighters are seriously the best)
- Washi tape
- Stickers (totally unnecessary, but super fun)
1. Write in all of your planned events.
First step to plan your week to maximize your time — write everything down that you already have scheduled. Doctor’s appointment? Write it in. Coffee a friend? Write it down. Date night? Meeting? Put it in your planner. This helps you not forget what you’ve actually got going on. Things may change and you will likely need to update your planner as the week goes by with new events, but this is a great starting place.
Tip: I usually spend time on Friday before I leave work updating my planner with the next week’s meetings. This is SUPER helpful for when I have any type of morning meeting on Monday so I am prepared for it and not walking in blind after the weekend.
2. Check in with yourself.
The next step to plan your week is to check in with yourself.
- Think about your goals/tasks for this week/month/year. What do you need to do this week to accomplish them? Write these things down and maybe schedule some time in your week to do them.
- How did last week go? Were you satisfied with how you spent your time? Was there anything that you needed to do that didn’t get done (and should be included this week)?
3. Schedule time to exercise.
It seems odd to write workouts in at the beginning of the week, I know. What if I don’t want to go running? What if I had a really long day and I just can’t? Life happens. I totally get it. However, it gets easier and easier to say you had a long day and keep pushing it off until you can’t remember when the last time you worked out was (if you’re like me, that is). Scheduling it in while you plan your week ensures that you do have time and you’ve already though about it. For me, writing it down greatly helps ensure that I actually work out. When I don’t…. it’s safe to say that it just doesn’t happen.
On Sundays I look for times that I want to work out and try to schedule in at least three or four workouts per week. I browse through ClassPass (For those of you who are unfamiliar with ClassPass, it’s a really cool program that lets you book exercises classes from different places. They partner with different studios and publish the classes on their app for you to choose from. One of the best things about them is that you’re not locked into one studio–you can do a mix of everything like yoga, pilates, spin, gym time, massages, etc.) and sign up for a few that I want to do that week and/or I browse youtube for whatever workout I want to do. Having it planned out in advance eliminates work down the line so you already know what you’re going to do.
4. Time block.
If you haven’t heard of time blocking, it’s a time management tool to section your day into blocks with a designated task/group of tasks. I like to include my time blocks in my planner so I don’t accidentally schedule anything during those times and I know what I’m supposed to be working on. You don’t need to go into a ton of detail, but I’ve found it to be helpful (ex: in my planner, I include time blocks like “morning routine” or “evening routine” or “work” but I don’t need to state all of the things I’ll be doing during those blocks).
Tip: To show the difference between actual events and time blocking, I usually highlight the entire event vs outline my time blocks in my passion planner. On my digital calendar, they’re different colors.
5. Include time for self care.
In case you didn’t include a time block for your self care, this is the time to include it in your plan for the week. Schedule in some you time so you don’t run yourself ragged! Whether it’s taking a bath, reading that book you’ve been meaning to read but just haven’t had the time, or watching the latest TV show on Netflix, put some time on the calendar that is dedicated to you. It’s crucial to set aside this time when you plan your week, otherwise daily life can take over.
6. Make plans with your remaining time.
After doing the other steps, you should now be able to see what time you have left in the week for other plans. You can evaluate what your week will look like and decide how you want to spend your time. Now you can reach out to friends to schedule dinner, happy hours, dates, phone calls, etc. and know that you’re not accidentally going to double book yourself. Or, if you noticed that you’ll be spending a lot of time with people, you can make more plans with yourself and know that you want to guard your time more closely this upcoming week. Because hey, sometimes you just don’t want to have plans, and that is totally okay!
So that is how to plan your week to maximize your time in a nutshell. I’ve found that this process helps me not forget anything as well as helps me evaluate how I’m spending my time (so I can make sure I’m on track). Then as I go forward, I can go into my day generally knowing what to expect. Happiness is a function of expectations, so this is crucial for me. I hope it helps you be able to plan out your week and evaluate your time. Plus, you will know that you’ve included time to take care of yourself and your body. Let me know how it goes!
Have any other tips/tricks for planning out your week? Let me know in the comments!