The fact there are different types of planners – daily planners, weekly planners, yearly planners – proves that planning is something that is done over different timescales.
You could plan out the small tasks to be done on a particular day, or you could be planning out a year over which you hope to work towards some large goal. For successful life planning, you need to integrate all of them but the most important, at the end of the day, is the weekly planner.
There is a reason that years have, for pretty much all of history, been arranged into months and weeks. The week is the period of time between days of rest. The essential idea is that you have a period of working time broken up by regular periods of free time. That’s why the week is one of the most essential divisions of time – and it’s the reason why the most popular planners are weekly ones.
A monthly planner is more of an overview, a daily planner is the minutiae and small tasks of each day, and the week is somewhere nicely in the middle. For this reason, learning how to plan out your week is one of the most important planning skills, as it integrates small tasks and long-term goals. Only in a weekly planer can you include both tiny tasks like “do washing” or “call mom” as well as more longer-term tasks such as “complete report by Friday afternoon”.
But what is the discipline involved in planning out a week in advance, in a way that ensures you are productive and work towards your goals? Planning out a week on Sunday evening is one of the most familiar tasks to anyone who has engaged in forward planning. For that reason, there is a lot of advice and tips to consider. You should always remember though thatwhen it comes to planning and organization, one person can be quite different to the next.
Get The Tools
A terrific way to start is certainly to get yourself a good weekly planner. Next Level Daily, a company specializing in precisely that (as well as daily planners, habit trackers, etc.), advise that you should get a planner that allows for both small tasks and larger ones to be arranged within a single week. In practice, this means a layout that has space for both small and large tasks.
Once you get that, a great tip is to visually represent that certain smaller tasks are subsumed beneath bigger ones. For example, you might need to have a certain report done by Friday that might involve completing a certain amount of it on Monday through Thursday, and then proofing and completing it on Friday. Highlighting tasks in distinct colors or writing certain ones bigger or smaller is one way of representing this. Again, the goal is to show the smaller tasks and the bigger ones they contribute towards.
Human beings navigate the world by creating hierarchies of importance and prioritizing certain things above others. This is a principle you should apply toyour planning. If you find yourself on Monday morning with a load of new tasks, you should arrange them according to two criteria – importance and time sensitivity. Then, you should likewise arrange all the smaller tasks that work towards it.
In this way, the week will feel like it’s going somewhere, and you’ll be sure that whatever task your currently working on is the most important task for that moment.
It might take trial and error to suit your peculiarities, but weekly planning is a skill that cannot fail to boost your overall productivity.