Are you in a reactive mode rather than being proactive?
Do you feel like you’re working on someone else’s goals rather than your own?
Well, let’s do something about it.
In this article, I’ll share with you the weekly planning ritual that I’ve been using for several years now.
It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s actually really therapeutic.
This weekly planning ritual that I’ll share with you has been a cornerstone of my personal and professional progress. It’s so important that I have it as my yearly goal on my GOALS LIST for this year.
The whole planning process may take 5 minutes, but you can easily immerse yourself in it for an hour. That’s entirely up to you.
Let’s break it down into a few steps.
1. Make your weekly planning an enjoyable experience
If you’re aiming to solidify this weekly planning habit, the secret sauce is enjoyment. A substantial part of this joy in weekly planning isn’t just in the doing, but also in the where and when of it.
Consider what day and time would be the best fit for your regular weekly planning session. Whether it’s morning, noon, or night, it’s your weekly planning – so it’s your rules.
Next, scout for a spot where interruptions are as welcome as a porcupine in a balloon shop. This could be a cozy cafe, a serene park, or your very own living room – the choice is yours. For weekly planning to truly work its magic, you need to feel at ease and in the right frame of mind. Want to serenade your weekly planning with your favorite tunes? Go for it. Crave a hot tea or coffee during your weekly planning session? Brew away.
After all, this isn’t just weekly planning. It’s a ritual. It’s that sacred part of your week where you strategize for what’s to come while sipping your favorite drink to the rhythm of your favorite melody.
2. Start your weekly planning with gratitude
Now that you’ve nailed down the ideal environment for your weekly planning, it’s time to get your mental space just as primed. It’s all too common for our thought patterns to be shackled by the stressors and burdens of everyday life, but it’s equally as simple to unchain them.
Start your planning ritual by answering these gratitude questions.
- What am I (or can be) happy in my life right now and why?
- What am I (or can be) grateful for in my life right now and why?
- What am I (or can be) excited about my life right now and why?
- What am I (or can be) passionate about right now and why?
- What am I (want to be) committed to in my life right now and why?
Your answers can be as short or as long as you want.
Notice that each question ends with “and why?”
Give a short explanation of WHY will amplify how you feel about it.
Compare these two answers.
I’m grateful for my health.
I’m grateful for my health BECAUSE I’m not restricted by any illness and can play golf regularly, play with my children, and take care of my parents.
Feels quite different, right?
Answering these gratitude questions will help you think more positively.
3. Reflect on and learn from your past week
The next step in your weekly planning process involves a little reflection. Now, I’m typically a cheerleader for forward-thinking, given that dwelling on the past can be a hindrance to progress. However, a swift glance backward can prove to be beneficial, especially when we aim to learn from our triumphs and tribulations.
This is why a dash of reflection should always be on the menu of your weekly planning ritual.
Here’s how you stir it into your weekly planning. Mull over the past week, pose these questions to yourself, and jot down the responses.
- What has gone well last week, and why? (Focus on what role you played in it.)
- How could I apply it this week? (Focus on what role you played in it.)
- What did last week try to teach me?
Your last week offers an excellent opportunity to improve.
Answering these reflective questions in your weekly planning will boost your awareness of either your commendable actions that you can repeat, or your missteps that you can rectify in the future. Weekly planning isn’t just about navigating the week ahead, it’s about learning from the week that’s slipped by. So go ahead, give reflection its rightful place in your weekly planning ritual.
4. Identify the big ones
In the realm of weekly planning, it’s all too easy to get carried away, penning down a seemingly endless to-do list that soon morphs into a chaotic, stress-inducing scroll. To sidestep that potential pitfall, begin by pinpointing the areas of your life that are shouting (or whispering) for a little TLC.
Could it be health, relationships, productivity, work, mindfulness, friendships, or something else that needs your focus in the upcoming week? If your mind is a whirlwind of potentials during your weekly planning, feel free to jot them all down. However, I’d recommend keeping your top choices to a manageable 3-5. Juggling too many life arenas at once is a surefire recipe for overwhelm.
Remember that in the weekly planning game, what makes progress thrilling is the progress itself.
When you scatter your time and energy across too many fields, you’ll end up making modest strides in all, but remarkable progress in none. Unless you’ve got the knack for multitasking or efficiency is your middle name, you’re better off cherry-picking a couple of areas during your weekly planning and making swift progress therein.
So, a humble reminder in your weekly planning: select 3-5 broad areas of your life, and don’t sweat the specifics yet. This isn’t about nailing down goals or tasks right off the bat. This is about setting the stage for your weekly planning to do what it does best – bring structure to the chaos.
5. Task planning
This is the meat of your weekly planning session.
Now when you have the main areas of your life you want to work on identified, it’s time to plan what progress you want to make in each this week.
Take the first one and ask yourself:
Write a few tasks you are going to do this week for each main area that you’ve identified in step 4. Don’t get carried away and set an unrealistic list. It needs to be manageable. Look at all the tasks you’ve set and ask yourself: Can I actually get it done?
If the answer is YES, then you’re good to go.
If the answer is NO, you need to trim it down.
You don’t want to set yourself up for failure right from the get-go.
That would just demotivate you.
6. Scheduling it
The extent to which you embrace this step in your weekly planning is completely up to you, but let me be frank – if you’re keen on getting something done, it’s got to be pencilled into your calendar.
Personally, I’m a fan of flexibility and thus, I often assign specific tasks to particular days. This gives me a clear overview of what’s on the agenda and helps me evaluate whether my plans are grounded in reality or floating in wishful thinking.
However, you can crank it up a notch by blocking out a time slot for each task in your calendar. This approach leaves little wiggle room for procrastination to creep in. It’s particularly beneficial if your schedule runs like clockwork, and it’s also a great strategy if you tend to be lured away by those pesky “urgencies of life” that have a knack for popping up uninvited.
So, whether you’re opting for day-specific tasks or time-specific ones, the key here is to ensure they find a place in your plan. After all, the secret sauce to effective weekly planning is a blend of strategy, flexibility, and a hearty dash of realism.
Here are a few simple and cheap planner:
7. Committing to it
A really nice way to wrap up your weekly planning ritual is to sit back, look at your plan and take a moment to let it sink in.
Pay attention to how you feel.
I always feel content, excited, hopeful, encouraged and determined.
One of the main reasons why people experience anxiety, stress, and depression is because there is a great deal of uncertainty in their life, and things probably feel out of their control.
So when you take a moment and actually proactively plan your next week, it creates a feeling of control and comfort.
For me, and hopefully for you as well, this is always extremely therapeutic.
The final thing to take a deep breath put on your determined face and commit to it by saying or thinking:
I’m going to make this happen, and it’s going to be awesome!
I’m determined to make this happen and nothing is going stop me.
(feel free to create your own phrase)
Well, there you go.
Your turn now.
Make it happen
Leave me a comment if you have any questions or if you found it helpful.