What tasks must I complete over the next seven days?
What truly is important in the near term.
Because to accomplish your monthly goals, you need to complete your tasks within each week of the month.
Weekly Planner – Your Small Tasks
Note that although I call the weekly activities “Small Tasks,” they are called that way simply because the week is a short period, and anything that you do within the week happens lightning fast. But you don’t have to think about them in that manner; each weekly task, no matter how small, is still a part of your big plan.
It might seem like a small thing to do ten squats every day of the week, but if that is part of your overall health plan or maybe the goal of running a marathon one day, it’s no longer small. It’s easy and quick, but you should look at it as a stepping stone to something bigger.
As a matter of fact, a lot of the things you do on a weekly and daily basis seem too small or too simple. But fear not: as you go through with your plan, you will keep challenging yourself more and more. It’s okay to start small, so long as you aim to eventually go big.
So, from that perspective, think of your week as an incubator for bigger things. The week runs fast—really fast. Your ability to prioritize and be disciplined and consistent is paramount. If you have trouble with these concepts, you need to make sure that you weave them into your Learning and Practice Plan.
How To Do Your Weekly Plan
There are two sides to your weekly plan:
- Your ideal week
- Your planned week
1 Your Ideal Week
Remember when you did your Time Audit in the discovery section? Now it’s a good time to bring those papers up. That gave you an actual picture of how you spend your time during the week. Make sure it’s still accurate. If things have changed, redo it. You must be sure you have a decent and accurate picture of your average week.
But that was only the start; your average week has been constructed over time, based on how your life evolved with or without your inclination. But now, today, you have a vision, and you have a plan. You have decided what you want to do over the next twelve months, and, more specifically, over the next month. So at this point you can start to craft what I call the Ideal Week.
Your ideal week is the template that encapsulates the way you want your week to develop, and it’s derived from a few core items. Your ideal week must include:
- Steps toward your main monthly goals.
- Your learning plan pieces.
- Any recurring activities from your recurring items list (cleaning, shopping, laundry, travel time, etc.)
- All your social interactions (family time, friends, etc.)
- Any physical or mental training (workout, mindfulness.)
- Your rest and recovery.
- Your review and reflection time.
With this in mind, use one of the worksheets to craft the ideal week that applies to the current month. Depending on how your plans unfold month after month, you might maintain this typical week unchanged for a few months, but there will be things that will change, so you might need to adjust your ideal week more often.
Many situations could create a deviation from your ideal week. Your kids might go on summer break, or they might start soccer practice. Maybe your wife goes on a business trip, or your mother gets sick. Whatever it is, you must take the context into account when you craft this ideal week template.
And now, a few words of advice:
- Do not over-pack the week; allow enough buffer times.
- Include everything you do, starting with your wake up and bedtimes; you need to account for all the time during your week.
- Don’t forget about rest and recovery – this step is often overlooked, and that leads to burnout.
2 Your Actual Week
Once you have your ideal week set up, you will use that template for the remainder of the month. Note that this template might also be used in the following months if your situation is somewhat similar. You might wind up using the same weekly template for even a full quarter. All you have to do is make sure you review the weekly template once the new month starts, and during your monthly reflection when you might expose things that weren’t working well.
With the template in hand, you will be able to plan the actual week ahead of you. Now you have the opportunity to insert into your actual plan other things, such as:
- Birthdays or other celebrations that fall in the week and that you must attend.
- Any other pre-planned events that you have committed to (family visits, concerts, races, charity events, etc.)
- Other administrative events (car repair, doctor visit, travel for work.)
Basically, you are now adapting your generic weekly template to match the reality of this week. You may have to move things around, adjust times, or even shift items between days.
Once you’ve planned your actual week, review it and make sure that:
- It includes your most important tasks.
- It’s not overly busy, and there’s enough breathing room.
- It’s free of any time-wasting activities, which exclude those deliberately designed for rest and recovery.
You probably have gotten used to this by know. As expected, your week must also have an element of reset baked into it. You cannot be running at 100% seven days a week. You need to figure out little islands of rest and recovery during that time.
You can approach them in two different ways:
- Specific for each area of life.
- Overall for all areas of life.
Specific would be, for example, the two days off you take from exercise. During those days, you can stretch, foam roll, or go to a sauna. Or simply, just drink tea and enjoy the time off. That will be your physical reset day. For your mind, it could be a session of Yoga Nidra, or simply a day when you don’t get any new information and just allow your mind to rest.
As a more holistic approach, your overall reset day could be, for example, a weekend day where you veg out. At least on one of the weeks, your reset day will coincide with the monthly reset day, and that’s okay. It serves the same purpose.
But in the other weeks, figure out ways you can rest and reset. Maybe it’s meeting one day a week and shooting some pool or having drinks at a local lounge. Whatever works for you and puts a little temporary distance between you and your plan.
That allows your brain to hit the reset switch and reload. All your experiences and feelings entrench deeply into your subconscious during these times of rest. These reset days, much like your sleep, allow your brain to work on organizing the information in your mind.
It’s not unusual to have strange epiphanies after these reset days. That’s because the space the reset day creates allows your creativity and ingenuity to pop up and turn the proverbial lightbulb on above your head.
In addition to your rest and recovery period during the week, you should also organize an administrative reset day, which is a day where you bring your “world” back to its neutral state. It might be opening up all the mail for the week, paying bills, and cleaning up your desk. Whatever you need to do that goes above and beyond your daily maintenance routines. This activity allows you to step into the new week with the same clean and organized space as the week before. Anything you leave undone will pile up, so you want to avoid that, save for any exceptions created by urgencies.
Your Weekly Plan
The Weekly Plan Worksheet is structured as a horizontal list of all the days of the week. For each day, you have enough space to write down the main tasks of the day and any additional notes you need. It’s probably a good idea to keep this weekly sheet together with your daily sheet in the same folder or clipboard and make notes as things might shift in your plan during the week.
Click on the download link below to access your Weekly Plan Templates. Feel free to print a bunch of them as you have 50+ weeks in a year. Good luck planning your first week! Exciting times! But before you get too excited, move on to read about the Weekly Review next.
Feedback, Comments, Suggestions, Testimonials
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