It’s no secret that I love all things planners and systems. In fact, I love them so much, that I typically can’t stop myself from wanting to try every new one that I can get my hands on. Over the last 9 months or so, that’s changed. I finally found planner-peace with the Self Journal and its 13-week plan. But after my first two and a half journals, I realized something was missing: the weekly overview. I intentionally bought a daily planner because I need to be able to see every minute detail of my day, but when you’re a procrastinator like me, you really need that extra accountability of the weekly overview, too. My solution was to utilize the bullet journaling method in the traveler’s notebook that I already had on hand.
I like to sit down and do this process during our rather lazy Sunday afternoons. It’s somewhat relaxing for me and leaves me feeling good about starting my week.
What You’ll Need:
- Notebook or notepad
- Main Calendar
- Ruler, optional
Check the schedule.
While we have what seems like a zillion calendars around our house, my GoogleCal is the one that’s guaranteed to have everything on it, so it’s the one I rely on when planning my week. The first thing I do is note down anything that’s on the calendar. These are my commitments, things I need to do or show up at that have a specific time and place. Typically these things aren’t particularly flexible, so they get priority.
Brain dump the to-dos.
Next, I write down every task that comes to mind that I think “should” get done this week. Notice that emphasis on the s-word there? I don’t like that word very much. I’ve found that it tends to be a gateway for a whole lot of guilt, and I’m working on that in my life. Don’t let this brain-dumped list rule your life. Instead, view it as a tool to take a load of your brain so you have the mental capacity for the important stuff.
Categorize and prioritize.
Once it’s all out of my head and out on paper, it’s time for to make some decisions.
- What made the list that doesn’t actually need to get done? Cross it off.
- What needs to be delegated to someone else? Tell them.
- What can be done in less than two minutes? Get it done now.
- Anything that needs to be done on a specific day? Note that with the items from the calendar.
Once everything has been sorted and prioritized, I’m usually left with a much smaller list than I started with. These remaining items can usually be categorized into a few larger tasks that then become my targets for the week. And if I’ve been ruthless with the previous step, what’s left are things that are all truly important to me and none of them are nasty little “shoulds.” In the case of the week shown here, all three targets relate to my current business goals. I have these tasks further broken down and assigned by day in Asana. When I popped over to do that, I took note of which days of my week already had commitments and scheduled fewer subtasks for days with more commitments, and more subtasks and days that had more open space.
Whatever tasks are left that didn’t make it onto the daily list or into a target get “archived.” I have a smaller notebook that I use as just sort of an ongoing to-do list. When I sit down each week, I include the archived tasks in my brain dump because sometimes they were just waiting for the right time, or another task to be finished and now they are a priority. This keeps me from forgetting things and allows my brain to rest because it doesn’t have to keep these thoughts and tasks on an endless loop. Since it’s smaller, I can carry it around with me and add to this list throughout the week as I think of more tasks.
Once I’ve been through these steps, I like to take a moment and just sort of review it all. If one of my targets doesn’t feel quite right, I ask myself why. Is it a “should” that’s not really bringing me joy or moving me forward in some way? If so, I need to evaluate why it’s on my list and how to get rid of it. How do I feel about my overall workload? Do my commitments feel good or am I feeling smothered with no time to fit in my targets, let alone downtime? If that’s the case, what can I bow out of?
My weekly overview keeps me accountable for not wasting my week on busy work or procrastinating my important projects until the end of the week. Or even scheduling deadlines that conflict with other commitments and facilitate the need for pulling all-nighters.