The Wisdom of a Weekly Plan | Giftie Etcetera: The Wisdom of a Weekly Plan

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Wisdom of a Weekly Plan

Planners often debate the wisdom of monthly, weekly, and daily pages.

Monthly pages are excellent for long-term planning. They give an overview of what is happening. Daily pages break down tasks and schedules in detail. But many planners skip weekly pages.

I think that is a grave error.

A weekly plan is essential to making good decisions about how to spend the available time.

Think of it this way. Monthly pages give an overview of somewhat inflexible appointments and travel. Daily pages allow specific lists to accomplish and scheduling of smaller, more flexible amounts of time.

Weekly pages, though, allow the person planning to control stress, make decisions about priorities, and be realistic about available time.

The weekly plan gets pretty cramped if there is too much on it, naturally limiting plans to an achievable quantity. Daily pages, in that respect, simply have too much room.

When a planner runs out of space, a decision must be made. Do I add a sticky note with a list of errands to run? Do I move something to next week? Do I need to call a sitter for Sunday? These decisions are critical to getting things actually accomplished.

Because of the great advantage of weekly plans, I plan only monthly and weekly pages for most of my planning. If I use a daily page, I rarely create it more than a day in advance. My monthly and weekly pages guide that daily plan.

Exception: If you have a schedule that is hourly, say seeing clients, you do need daily pages to create those schedules. Just don't plan on those pages or you risk losing the benefit of a weekly plan.

The biggest weakness in most on-line planning, in my opinion, is the poor way that weekly plans are handled. Monthly views often show schedules just fine and daily pages have lots of detail, but weekly plans - complete with all their advantages - are short-changed when done on most apps.

If you are not using a weekly spread, consider getting one. It will change the way that you plan. At first, that may be uncomfortable, especially if you usually avoid decisions by planning on the virtually limitless space of daily pages. But once it becomes habit, a weekly plan will become a natural way to force you to think about how you spend your time.

Affiliate links to the Plan Ahead planners (right sidebar) contain the Plan Ahead planner. The small size of the Plan Ahead planner contains the undated weekly and monthly inserts that are pictured above in my Franklin Covey compact planner.


Unknown said...

I find this to be so true in my life. Even for my children that I homeschool. I keep a monthly calendar with recurring activities, or stand alone appointments listed on it...but I also print them each a weekly schedule. It keeps us all on track and (I'm hoping) teaches them to be organized adults.

Kim said...

That is funny, in my personal life I have a monthly planner, yet for my blog I use a monthly/ weekly. I am always jamming things into the boxes of my personal monthly...time to rethink that system! ;)

Geertrude said...

I started using weekly pages (week on 2 pages) for tasks and todo's after reading your blog and I like it. I'm still tweaking the system and trying to fit as much as possible on pocketsized pages, but I think it's working. Not being able to write unreasonably long lists really seems to do the trick for me ;-)

Unknown said...

I use the week on one page on the left side of my planner and the day on one page on the right. This was a game changer for me...I need the details of my day but I also need the overview of my week

Hilda Rodgers said...

I love weekly planning. I actually use that more than monthly or daily. It really helps me see a manageable amount of detail and still an overview.

Angie Nelson said...

I use both an online planner for recurring tasks and a notepad for jotting down one-time tasks that come up during the week. Online or offline, the key is finding a system that works for you and that you actually use.

Amanda Evans said...

Eek, you're right, I'm totally missing out on the weekly plans. Monthly is great and I kind of just wing each day and week, but definitely isn't working. Thank you for your great post and for linking it up at #MeetUpMonday!

Valerie said...

REally great points. I'm trying to become more organized by writing more down and I'll have to keep this in mind!