Weekly planning is often not known to many. If you struggling with many things to do at work and life and looking for a Work-life balance, then weekly planning is just the right thing for you.
In this post, I’m going to explain all the things about weekly planning for work-life balance:
- Benefits of weekly planning.
- How to make a weekly plan under 30 min for any aspect of your life.
- Tips for effective weekly planning that will sustain.
Let’s look at how it’s done.
What is weekly planning?
Weekly planning is a weekly activity of assigning a specific day to all the activities that you need to perform throughout the week.
Weekly planning cannot be limited to any particular area of life but is applicable to all aspects of your life such as work, household chores, self-care, personal goals such as health and fitness, study, etc.
Most commonly weekly planning is performed at the start of the week i.e. Monday, nonetheless, it can be done on any particular day as long as it is done for the whole week.
Why weekly planning is important for work-life balance?
- Most often our planning of work involves making yearly or quarterly goals and daily To-Do lists, but these are just the two extreme ends of planning. Goal setting is a vision for the future and daily To-Do lists just help to get the daily work done. Weekly planning is a good bridge between the two.
- It helps you achieve your goals and not get caught up in the routine work.
- Also, our relationship with the week is mostly working from Monday to Friday for work or office and weekends are reserved for fun and living personal life. This is why you feel the Monday Blues, but by planning the week in advance, you will be able to make time for your personal life too, and not just live life on weekends.
- Since the time I started following the weekly planning, I have seen a big difference in my life not only at work but also in my personal life too, earlier most of the personal chores and self-care were postponed for the weekend, only to feel exhausted on the weekend with all the personal tasks.
- However, now with the weekly planning that I am sharing in this post, I am able to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Benefits of weekly planning
Weekly planning helps you identify and work on important tasks rather than doing daily chores. It lets you focus more on doing work that is more rewarding. As per Pareto Principle, 80% of the result is obtained by performing 20% high rewarding work. Weekly plan lets you focus on highly rewarding work.
Make you Goal-oriented
Without weekly planning, one tends to work towards routine tasks as they come, without a plan of action of walking towards the goal. It helps you work towards your goals and resolution as you can incorporate actions that are required to achieve them each week.
Intentional use of time
When you perform weekly planning you become more aware of the amount of time required for the completion of work and the amount of time you spend on different types of activities. This improves your awareness of the use of time and makes you more intensional of the way you spend your time.
With weekly planning, you are more clear on the different kinds of work that you will be doing on various days throughout the week. This helps you plan your daily work better. You can define days where you need to perform more focused or creative work. You can also plan personal commitments better when you have clarity of all the things that are planned for the week.
When you have a tremendous amount of work and you are not aware of when you will be doing it, you are bound to feel anxious. We have a tendency to keep thinking about the pending task that makes us anxious. When you do weekly planning, you have a plan to deal with all the work and you have a day assigned to each work this makes you will feel less anxious.
Better tracking of work
With weekly planning and review, you will be able to track your work better and also get a better sense of the progress you make towards your goal. There may be different types of work and the way you perform them. With planning and review, you become more aware of the style of work that is more favorable for you.
When you have your weekly planning done you don’t waste time on a daily basis to figure out what you need to do. You can directly jump-start your day with the key tasks for the day and avoid procrastination. You will be able to plan your daily schedule better and deliver work on time.
Improve Work – Life balance
With weekly planning, you have an awareness of days you will be busier and may not be able to deliver a person’s commitments, at the same time if there are non-negotiable personal commitments you can find alternatives for your work or schedule it on another day. Thus giving you a better work-life balance.
The week is at a glance
The week is at a glance: Weekly planning gives you a complete picture of your week and helps you work keeping in mind the bigger goal. The complete view of your week at glance helps you respond to people better as you know each day what you have at hand.
Reduce daily decision fatigue
One of the reasons for decreased productivity is taking daily decisions on what needs to be done today. You feel overwhelmed and stressed when each day you have to make a decision about what you will be doing today and which work to be performed when with weekly planning you can directly start with the work we have planned for the day and reduce the amount and energy spent over making daily work decisions.
Weekly planning all aspects of life
The most common mistake while making a weekly plan is limiting it to only tasks related to work. However weekly planning is a great opportunity to aline your personal goals and organize your life. Here are some of the different aspects of my life that I like to cover.
1) Personal life
During weekly planning don’t just limit yourself to work and chores, but personal commitments like spending time with family, taking kids out to play, wishing someone on their birthdays or anniversary are some of the things to plan. This ensures that not just your work but your personal life is also managed well.
Building habits need consistent efforts. We all are always motivated to start habits that bring success to our life but with the hustles of life, we forget to prioritize them. Including habits in your weekly planning makes them less daunting and easier to track the consistency with which you put the effort to form the habits. You can use a habit tracker along with your weekly planner. I like to track my habit in the planner. It serves as a reminder and at the same time documents my progress towards the habits.
3) Hobbies and leisure
With a busy week, we tend to forget ourselves but if you make a weekly plan for your interest it is possible to spend time on hobbies and leisure. This can be spending an hour every Wednesday painting or daily reading for 10 minutes. But just planning some time for hobbies and leisure in a week make it possible to enjoy them always rather than limiting it for weekends.
Weekly planning is a great opportunity to prioritize your health. You can plan different exercises that you can perform throughout the week. Another great way is to make a weekly meal plan to ensure you eat healthy throughout the week and spare yourself unhealthy eat-outs.
How to make a weekly plan under 30 minutes
Step 1: Review your previous week
- Before starting with weekly planning it is a good idea to spend time reviewing your previous week.
- The focus of the review should be on work that could not be completed and achievements. This will provide motivation for the coming week and also make sure your pending work is taken care of in the coming week.
- You should also reflect back to your week to know things that enable you to perform better and things that held you back. This will help you improve your weekly plan.
- Reflecting helps you identify flaws in your planning and things that work for you.
Step 2: Align yourself with goals
- After reviewing the week, you should identify and plan work that drives you towards your goals and add them to your To-Do list.
- It is very easy to get distracted with routine work and deviate from the goals that you wish to achieve.
- Keeping them a priority during weekly planning help you achieve your goals.
Step 3: Brain Dump
- Thoughts and work you need to do, make you distracted and stressed.
- Having them visible after a brain dump helps you realize things are not as difficult as they seem to be and helps you plan better.
- Once you get better at organizing your thought and maintaining a good To-Do list you may not need to perform brain dumping very frequently.
Step 4: Refer to your calendar for the week
- Your next step is to refer to the To-Do list. It will guide you towards effective weekly planning.
- Maintaining a good To-Do list is key for managing work and being productive. If you want to make a good To-Do List, you can read 10 Ways To Make An Effective To-Do List.
- Beware – you may not be able to do all the work on the To-Do List in one week so be realistic about what you want to plan for the week and Identify your key tasks for the week.
- I like to underline the tasks for the week on my To-Do List, this makes it easier for further planning and I know the amount that is completed and pending.
Step 5: Make your weekly plan
- This brings us to the final step of weekly planning. Based on the understanding from the previous step just start assigning days to each activity.
- I like to write just the initial for the day next to the task in the To-Do list, as in the image below.I do not go to the depth of assigning the hour of the day for each task.
- Just know when you will be performing this task.
- Ensure to keep fewer tasks on the days with more appointments.
- Also, try to schedule high-value and creative work during the start of the week, I find this best use of the energy and zeal we have at the start of the week after the weekend rejuvenation.
Tips for sustainable weekly planning
Spend no more than 30 min
Making weekly planning too elaborate and spending a lot of time over it will make you give up on planning.
Do your weekly planning before the week starts
Performing weekly planning for the next week in advance takes the work stress off your head and lets you have a calm weekend. Also, I have observed that weekly planning at the start of the week doesn’t happen often as we get caught up with work as it flows in
Don’t do detailed planning for each day
Weekly planning should only involve identifying the work you will do in the week and the days you will do them. If you do elaborate planning and schedule time for each work throughout the days of the week, it gets unrealistic and difficult to follow. Also, it makes the planning process itself time-consuming.
Keep buffer time
Don’t be too optimistic with the time required for each work and keep scope for unforeseen circumstances by keeping some buffer time in the weekly planning to accommodate the unexpected.
Make a weekly planning checklist
Once you start performing weekly planning, you will observe certain tasks that are repetitive each week or there are certain things that you need always address in your weekly planning. You can make a checklist of these to make planning faster or plan some set of work always on the same day.
For example, doing data compilation always on Thursday or performing laundry always on Saturday.
Keep things flexible
Week plan is a guide for the week to help you perform efficiently with ease. Things may not go the way they were planned so always be flexible to modify the plan. Be open to rescheduling if you think it will help you deliver better on another day or if an unexpected situation arises without the guilt of not following your plan.
Weekly planning is absolutely essential to planning. It is perfect to bridge the gap between the vision of goal setting and daily tasks.
Unfortunately, many don’t avail of the benefits of weekly planning. But you don’t need to be amongst those. I am sure with all the insights on weekly planning and tips to making sustainable weekly planning you will be able to make the best of weekly planning and strive for a healthy work-life balance.
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