“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” Annie Dillard
I felt like that net was ripped out from under me when I quit teaching. Up until then, my days were planned for me. Wake up, shower, go to work, teach Kindergarten, come home to my family, eat dinner, watch t.v., sleep.
Without a job to fill my schedule, I realized I didn’t know how to make a day happen. I felt unproductive and started to lose my sense of purpose. Eventually, through a lot of trial and error, I figured it out, and the unease gave way to the sure footing of a weekly planning routine.
Now, without fail, Mondays are for weekly planning.
My Weekly Planning Routine
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The Master List
Mondays have actually become a very cherished time in my week.
I start the day with my bullet journal, opening it to a blank page, then writing “week of” on the top of the page. This simple act is like waving a magic wand over plain paper and turning into a safe space to clear my mind.
If my thoughts are particularly jumbled, I just start writing down what comes to mind until every single idea has worked its way onto paper, not unlike a bunch of six-year-old children racing to be first in line to claim the coveted ‘line leader’ role.
When my mind is calmer, more clear, I linger a little longer, dividing the page into categories: Personal, Home and Work, then jotting down what I’d like to accomplish in those areas that week.
Personal to-do’s are reserved for me: dates with friends, doctor visits, and personal appointments like getting my haircut or going for a monthly massage. I also write down ways I’d like to rejuvenate, relax and unwind, like reading, rocking on the porch, or taking a leisurely walk.
The Home category is where I bring decorating ideas and organizing projects to life. It’s also where I hold myself accountable for less glamorous household maintenance like changing out light bulbs, refilling any of the cleaners I make myself, or taking inventory of household products.
As much joy as I get from managing my household, I wouldn’t be able to fully express my soul without writing. Writing fuels my spirit and stokes the flames of passion and purpose. So, it gets a section in my journal too.
Even though it’s redundant, I jot down the same work tasks every single week. This simple act has helped me to show up consistently for myself and my people.
Adding a check mark next to “write and publish Simply Saturday” at the end of the week tethers my typically wandering spirit. I enter the weekend knowing I’ve answered my calling and feeling more connected to God and my online community.
Planning around my personal, home and work life makes my life feel more well-rounded and balanced.
Once those categories are filled out, I go back through each list and plug the to-do’s into different days of the week. This part of planning is like putting notes on a staff and creating a melody my soul instantly recognizes and syncs into.
Sometimes I just write the initial of the day of the week in parenthesis next to the task. Other times, when I’m feeling more inspired, I’ll create a weekly layout and add the tasks to specific days.
Having a loose theme for each day of the week keeps me from trying to do too much in one day. It also caters to my natural rhythm and tendency to be very methodical.
Weekly Planning Tools
I’ve noticed lately that I’ve shifted into using a combination of my bullet journal and Google calendar. I write the weekly lists in my journal and the daily to-do’s in the calendar. Whether you use a paper planner or digital planner doesn’t matter. Use the tools that work best for you.
- Blank notebook – After some trial and error I’ve landed on a Gold Inspirational journal by Greenroom. I like that the binding doesn’t fall apart and it’s filled with a lot of pages. I used the same journal for over a year when other journals only last a few months.
- Laura Casey – I started out with the PowerSheets Goal Planner and immediately fell in love with it for its feminine, soul-tending design. This planner was designed to help you cultivate what matters, one small step at at time which is what we’re all about at Sharon E. Hines.
The only reason I switched to using a notebook is because I wanted something more portable. If your planning time is always in the same place, then I can’t recommend PowerSheets enough.
- Cozi app – I just discovered the Cozi app and am loving it. This weekly planning app is accessible on your computer and on your tablet or phone. You can add events to your calendar, view/sync your internet calendar with the Cozy calendar, add meal ideas, create shopping lists, to do lists, and journal.
Every family member you add is color coded and you can share the calendar with your family. You can even sign up to receive daily and/or weekly emails of your agenda. Cozi is free with a paid option. I’m using the free option right now.
Is Weekly Planning Necessary?
The entire weekly planning process is a weighted blanket for my anxious soul and allows me to ease into the week.
Planning is also key to creating the life you want. It’s the foundation to creating daily and weekly routines. Routines help us develop healthy habits and those habits are the building blocks for our lifestyle.
Weekly planning also helps you track how you’re spending your time, what areas of your life need more attention, and where your life is aligning, or not, with your values.
And as Benjamin Franklin so adequately put it,
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
For more time management tips, read:
Wishing you the ease and rhythm of a weekly planning routine,