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Life is busy and if I am not very intentional with my time the important items in my life are pushed to the side for those tasks that seem urgent. I have found that a weekly plan is an essential tool to living purposefully (read 3 Reasons You Need a Weekly Plan here). Today I’m sharing the specific details of how I plan my week.
Set a Planning Time
Organizing doesn’t happen by accident. We have to choose to be intentional with the way we spend our time or our lives are hijacked by the many distractions around us and we may even live our lives according to others priorities rather than our own.
I have found that the most effective way to live my true values is to make an appointment with myself every week to pray, think and plan. Setting a consistent time each week creates a habit and makes it much more likely that I will sit down and do the few minutes of work necessary to plan my week. In the past I planned my week on Sunday evening but most recently I find that Saturday mornings work best for my current season of life and the fact that I am a morning person.
*Find a time each week when you can have 30 minutes alone with your calendar and your thoughts.
Decide Your Priorities
There are some items on everyone’s list that must be done for life to function. Around our house those include:
- Grocery shopping because my family will loudly complain if there is no food in the house;
- Laundry because I am embarrassed to wear dirty clothes;
- Dishes because I risk an invasion of tiny critters if I don’t keep the kitchen clean.
I also need to plan meals for the week, my blogging schedule and homeschool lessons.
All of these tasks are necessary but other items are actually more important even though they scream less loudly like listening to my daughter who is experiencing teenage angst or having fun with my husband so that our marriage can stay strong. I have to plan “relationship” time alone with my family members to ensure that I am spending time on what really matters.
I also have long term goals which I can only accomplish if I work toward them on a regular basis.
After much thought I have divided my weekly priorities into five categories:
PERSONAL – habits that keep me healthy and happy so that I can function at my best
PEOPLE – activities that promote relationship with the people I love
PASSION – creative, soulful activities and experiences which refresh me, bring me joy and enable me to connect spiritually
PURPOSE – tasks that enable me to fulfill my purpose in life (wife, mom, encourager, etc.)
PROJECTS – priority tasks that need to be finished this week and which move me toward long term goals
Of course you should plan your week around your most important priorities, not those items you see on someone else’s list necessarily.
*Decide what your priority items are and list them.
Choose a Planner
I could not find a planner that addressed my personal priorities so I created my own. You can see what’s inside the Joyful Life Planner here.
There are many planner options available. I prefer to use a written planner because it meets my need for an artistic outlet and studies have shown that handwriting our goals and plans actually enables us to better accomplish them, but if you’re not a pen and paper kinda gal you can definitely use phone apps. I have recently begun to include Evernote to help plan my week (read more here) .
I find that simple is better so don’t think that a planner with all the “bells and whistles” is necessarily better. Try several systems and find what works with your personality and lifestyle.
[Subscribers to The Peaceful Mom Weekly eNotes can download a weekly planning page for free. Click here to subscribe.]
*Try several planning systems to find what works best for you.
Making a list of tasks to complete is only half of the planning process. You need to schedule times to accomplish those tasks. I personally am not a “by-the’hour” planner. I loosely schedule every item on my priority list but without specific times. For example, I know that grocery shopping will happen on Wednesday after we finish school but I don’t have a specific time because I have to see how our day goes.
Of course life does not go according to plan much of the time, but I am much less stressed if I have a general plan to follow rather than an hour-by-hour schedule.
Another way that I organize my day is by using routines so that many of my activities become habit. Click here to read more about how I organize my day with routines and the benefits of organizing that way.
*Schedule a specific day or time for each of your priority tasks.
Check Your Plan
All of this planning will be of no help to you if you don’t consult your planner and follow the plan. If you use your phone to organize, set alarms to remind you of important appointments and tasks that need to be accomplished. Create a habit of checking your plan first thing in the morning, throughout the day and just before bed to make sure you don’t miss anything.
*Create a habit of checking your planner.
My plan for this week:
PEOPLE – date with hubby; driving practice with daughter #2; make a photo album with daughter #3
PASSION – art journal time; read daily
PURPOSE – (wife) write a love note to my husband; (mom) practice good listening with kids; (encourager) call a friend to pray with her
PROJECTS – work on current writing project; order homeschool book
Want to be more organized?
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You can also check out my Joyful Life Planner.
Filled with tools and inspiration to create your most purposeful and joyful life, it’s your new best friend!
Click here to see what’s inside!
What do you have planned this week? Leave a comment. 🙂
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