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How Do I Get Started Planning My Week?

Like with most things, the answer to how to get started planning your week is to start small. Start with these two simple questions:

  1. What actions did I take towards my goals this past week?

  2. What do I want to make my priority next week?


Week planning is a skill and a habit that takes time to hone. I have been working on it for a number of years now and I have always found great value in the result. I would definitely consider it one of my most important habits I have. It is sort of the main ritual in my week, on which a lot of other good habits are formed. More on that at the end.


How long does it take to plan my week?

When you are first getting started I think week planning should only take about 20 minutes. For me, week planning takes about 30-45 minutes on average. It depends on how busy the last week was and how messy my notes, todos, and calendar are. And how retrospective I am feeling. What I would tell folks to do is to trim it down as much as you can so that it never feels like a burden. This should be a treat, a chance to renew clarity for your goals. It shouldn’t feel like a burden that you have to slog through every week. If it feels like that you are doing it wrong.


What day of the week is best for planning?

In my experience, Friday is a great day for week planning. Like many, I work Monday-Friday, nine to five. So i am pretty much all done with the week by Friday. I suppose in a perfectly sterile lab version of life, week planning makes most logistical sense as the last thing Sunday night or first thing Monday morning. It would make sense to make week planning the last thing you do or the first thing you do. For me though, I don’t usually like to week plan on the weekends because i prefer to block that off as family time. I also prefer to hit the ground running on Monday morning and often have other meetings to go to on that day. Friday morning seems to be the time when i usually have no meetings competing for my time and I have a fresh enough mind to do the retrospective work. I have found any sort of planning to be useless in the afternoon. My brain is usually just too fried and I don’t have the capacity.



A sample week plan

When doing your week review. Try to do it when you are calm and relaxed. I love to sit down Friday mornings with a nice cup of coffee and some relaxing music. I would highly suggest that you write down a few things for your weekly review. This will help organize your thoughts. Let’s jump into the first question.


What actions did I take towards my goals this past week?

If you have a list of your goals then start by looking at each one and thinking back on the week. Write down anything and everything you did to push that goal forward. Then write down how you feel about it. Are you proud? Was it hard or easy? Do you wish you did more? This exercise will help to clarify if your execution aligns with your plan. It is sobering to see that you spent all week working hard, but just not on your goals. More on this later. After you finish reviewing last week you can take that information and move on to thinking about the week to come.


What do I want to make my priority next week?


Think about the week to come and figure out which of your goals you want to push forward. Think about the very next action you should be taking for your goals. Think about, and write down, what you need to do to accomplish this progress. Maybe its creating a to-do list item or reminders in your phone. Or maybe it is to schedule time on your calendar to work on these things. Try to be intentional in the next week about prioritizing your goals instead of just being reactionary to what comes up during the week.


Once you have a few weeks of doing this, you can review your notes files side by side. What I like to do is to pull up last weeks review notes file and this weeks and compare them. This way I can review what I wanted to get done vs what I actually got done. I can clearly see the projects i push off week after week and it either lights a fire under me to go get it done, or it proves that that goal isn’t that important and i should just remove it or replace it.


Boom, week planned!

That‘s it you’re done! Simple. Short. Easy. I think you will find it adds some clarity for your brain and you will feel a bit more prepared for the week ahead. The planning time can expand and contract as you form the habit and start to get more value out of the process. Stick with it for at least a few months and I think you will be surprised how great it will start to feel.


What if i don’t have goals?

No goals eh? Welp then your week planning will be super fast! No sorry, just kidding. Ok check out the Getting Started post and the Find Your Mountain post. These will help you create some killer goals.


Some Extras

In another post i will outline what my personal week planning looks like after five plus years of iteration. But for now if you are looking for a few extra items that can add value to your plan, here you go.


  1. Mindset alignment. Fancy phrase that just means, read some inspirational quotes. I like to rotate different quotes or ideas that I want to try and implement into my behavior. Here are two examples, “Are you working on your business or in your business?”, “How does your week show that your family is your priority?”

  2. Calendar cleanup. Go through next week’s calendar and try to remove 1 thing (if it’s recurring meeting, then you get bonus points). We so often end up in meetings or appointments that don’t add value or just don’t align with what we are trying to focus on. Try to get rid of one thing a week for a while, you will start to notice your calendar look more organized and fulfilling.

  3. Empty your inbox. Email is a TERRIBLE todo list. If you keep unread emails lying around to remind you to do things, stop it. Create actually todo items in your real todo list so that it is properly categorized and prioritized with everything else in your life.

  4. Give thanks. When you see all the stuff you got done last week, take the time to pick one or two people that helped you accomplish those things. Write them a quick simple thank you. It can be a text, an email, whatever. Just say “hey thanks again for blah blah. I really appreciate it.”

  5. Treat yo self. Hey if you got done a bunch of stuff and made progress on your goals then you should celebrate yourself! Find someway to treat yourself and pat yourself on the back for a job well done this week.



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