My weekly planning ritual
Do you feel like you’re drifting in life without a plan?
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 want to make this weekly planning habit stick, it needs to be enjoyable. And a big part of making it enjoyable is not just how you do it but also where and when you do it.
Think about what would be the best day and time for your regular weekly planning session. It can be morning, afternoon, or night. It’s up to you. Whatever you prefer.
Then, find a place and a moment when no one will disturb you. Whether it’s a cafe, park, or your living room, you need to feel comfortable and be in the right mindset. Play your favourite music if you want, make yourself a tea or coffee if that’s what you like.
At the end of the day, it’s called a ritual.
2. Start with gratitude
Now when your environment is just right, we need to get your mind in the right headspace. It’s easy to have our thinking restricted by worries and life stuff. But it’s easy to shift.
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 and learn
The next step is a reflection. I generally encourage people to be forward-thinking because being stuck in the past prevents growth. However, glancing back can be very useful when we want to learn from our successes and failures.
This is why you should always include a little reflection in your weekly planning ritual.
This is how you do it. Think about the past week, ask yourself these questions and write the answers down.
- 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.
These questions will help you become more aware of either what you’ve done right, and you can do more of it, or where you’ve messed up, then it will help you stop or correct it in the future.
4. Identifying the big ones
With planning, it’s easy to start writing a long to-do list that will quickly become chaotic and overwhelming. To prevent that from happening, first, identify the areas of your life that need some love and attention.
Maybe it’s health, relationships, productivity, work, presence, friendships, and so on. If many come to mind, you can write them all down, but I suggest that you pick 3-5 maximum. Working on too many areas of your life at the same time will quickly become overwhelming.
Keep in mind that what makes progress exciting is progress itself.
When you work on too many areas, you won’t make much progress on any as your time and energy will be divided. Unless you’re experienced or super-efficient, you’ll be better off picking just a couple of areas and make fast progress in these.
So, 3-5 areas of your life, keep it general. These are not your goals or tasks yet.
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:
- What can I do this week that would make a real positive difference in this area of my life?
- What can I do this week that would be significant progress in this area of my life?
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
I leave it up to you how far you are going to take this step, but if you want to get something done, lock it in your calendar.
Because I like and need a bit of flexibility, I generally like to dedicate specific task to certain days, so I know what needs to be done. This also helps me check whether the list is realistic.
However, you can take it a step further and book in your calendar a timeslot for each task. This is will give you much less room for procrastination. This is also helpful if your schedule is regular and it also helps if you tend to give in to “the urgencies of life” that always pop out of nowhere.
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
Let me a comment if you have any questions or if you found it helpful.
If you need the support of a life coach to help you with making a great first impression or with any other areas of your personal development, you’re always welcome to contact me and let’s find out if we’d be the right match.
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