The Five Things I Ask Myself When I Sit Down To Plan Each Week
I remember chatting to the wonderful Kaite Welsh before we recorded her episode for The Couragemakers Podcast, about planning, balance and about goal-setting and she told me about her wonderful Sunday night planning routine.
And I am a fucking nerd for planning, but it blew my mind.
I love to plan but I’d never thought of sitting down on a Sunday night, making it part of a really nice routine and bringing a lot more clarity and focus into my life.
So me being me, I thought about it for a while. I started to think about how I could best implement it for myself, and it’s been a huge goal of mind since moving to Liverpool to actually set up routines that give me what I need to live my own version of a wholehearted life.
I can honestly say I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this my whole life.
I wake up on Monday feeling more ready to approach the week rather than deer stuck in headlights not knowing where to turn first.
So today I want to share with you what my current planning looks like on a Sunday night. I know it will change as time goes on, but I think it’s a pretty good start.
Now I start with a two-page spread.
On the left-hand side I write my goals for the week. On the second page I have a page for reviewing the week gone by so I can remember it, record what works well and celebrate the shit out of my small wins.
I begin my planning process with that second page and look at the week gone by, and I have five main categories:
- Proud of — a space to record small and big wins that week. A major boost when motivation is low
- What went well — here I write the things that I managed to do that week to look back on and see what is actually making a difference
- Things to improve — I like to see this all as a bit of an experiment in finding what works for you and it’s good to have things to improve on so you can tweak the experiment.
- Lessons to take forward — there’s lessons in everything and I find myself re-learning the same bloody lessons over and over again. This is my attempt to try and start noticing and learning the first time round!
- Self- care — because self-care is important and you actually need to check-in with yourself regularly to put in back on your radar and notice when you’re depleted!
- Memories — what is life without memories? It’s okay trying to be seriously productive, but this reminds me to live as well
Once I’ve done the reflection for the week gone by, I know if for example I need to massively up my self-care, if I need to really focus on a to-do item that just isn’t getting done, and I can start prioritising and organising on what I know to work for me.
For the planning, I create five big boxes with these titles:
- Area of focus — this is where I record what I’m really working on this week. For example this week is about actually doing the work and chipping away at a big list of things to do)
- 3 Main Goals — this keeps things concrete and measurable, and when I’m feeling overwhelmed or can’t remember what’s most important, I can go back to this
- Why they’re important — This is the section I most often flip back to every week. On this week’s plan, I have ‘I’m so nearly there, I just have to finish. This is how business works — finish things!). Goals without a why don’t work for me
- Bear in mind — I think this is the most important section. It’s a place for me to be compassionate and mindful to myself of the other things I have going on in my life as well. It’s a bit like writing to your future self and remembering that everything doesn’t need to be solved in a day and that you often have a lot of things to juggle
- Personal/Other — a simple place to record things like doctors appointments, remembering to book things and other things that easily get forgotten amongst the busy-ness!
Time really can get ahead of us without us knowing, and being intentional and creating just twenty minutes a week to sit down, set your focus and also reflect on the week gone by is going to make your life work so much more for you.
The way I see it, this is all an experiment, and when you’re running an experiment, you need to set your parameters, make notes and learn from what works and what doesn’t so it will be even better next time.
This is how I plan my week, and I’m curious to see how it will change and adapt in the future.
But I’m more curious to hear whether you plan your day. If you do, how you plan your day? And if you don’t, what’s been putting you off?
Let’s chat about it in the comments! :)