Do you spend any time planning on Sundays so that you’re set up for the week ahead? Or maybe spending time on how to plan your week is something new for you. Either way, there’s a quote from Jim Rohn that I love “Either you run the day, or the day runs you”. As far as I’m concerned, this can apply to your day, your week, your month, your year….any amount of time. The more organised and thorough you are, the more time you are going to find to achieve the results you want to achieve. And the more in control you will be.

I can hear you agreeing, and yet it can happen to the best of us sometimes. The key, I think, when it comes to how to plan your week, is mapping out the broader picture, and then keeping on top of the planning, every step of the way. Being aware that things are likely to shift and change, also means that you can have a contingency plan, making things work without feeling stressed or letting things slide.

Below you’ll find my 5 step approach to how to plan your week. The details vary, depending on who you are and what kind of business you are running, but essentially, the theories are applicable by anyone.

5 tips to help you plan your week

Finish your week strong by planning the following week.

My weekly planning always starts at the end of the day on Friday. I scan the week I’ve had, work out if there are any outstanding tasks to be carried forward, and then map out my coming Monday to Friday. By starting with my appointments (business and wellbeing), clients, meetings, I can then clearly see how much space I have available for admin, working on our business and just getting stuff done. I diarise specific tasks that need to be done on specific days, being careful to not overload myself. 

As a result, my head feels clear for the weekend and I can pick things back up again on the Monday, knowing exactly what I’m doing. I then do a mini review and planning session at the end of each day, following the same principles as above.

Use Masterlists and find organisation systems that work for you

It may seem obvious, but for point number 1 to work for you, you need to know which organisation systems you are using, and what tasks need to get done.

Organisation systems can range from online diaries or planning systems such as Asana or Trello through to paper based systems like a bullet journal. Whichever system you choose to use or find most effective, make sure you keep it up to date. This means you will be able to use it to its full capacity, filling in gaps between appointments with other tasks or even down time.

I mention Masterlists because there is always a lot of talk about rolling to-do lists. Or the re-writing every day of the longest to-do list. And that’s one that never gets any shorter! Instead, it just grows!! To me, this is the ultimate demotivator. I much prefer to keep all the tasks I want to get around to – be that to do with business or home / personal life – in one place. Then I select a couple of items off those lists as appropriate. This is the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You know you’re not going to forget anything, and you keep making progress and recognising your successes.

Put your non-negotiables in first and work around them

I talk above about finding the gaps in between appointments and then filling in the details of when you get the rest of your tasks done. When it comes to how to plan your week, I feel it’s important to say that there are some “non-negotiables”. These are the ones relating to your wellbeing that should always go in the diary first.

If you neglect to recognise how important it is to have time for exercise, socialising, decompressing and finding some moments of peace, you have a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, this will lead to burnout.

So, remember – work out what your non-negotiables are. Then put them in the diary, and honour those commitments in the same way you honour meetings and tasks for your business.

Find accountability

These points are all well and good. If followed, they will help you to plan well and make progress. But what happens when you cheat and don’t stick to the plan?!

Well, usually stress, disappointment, a lack of momentum and confidence! If you’re inclined to drift, and procrastinate, or find yourself doing things that keep you busy but unproductive, get some accountability! Share your goals and plans with someone like-minded who has your back and is a cheerleader for you. It will really help you to stay on track You could also reciprocate and do the same for them. Alternatively, find a brilliant tribe for women in business (like ours!) and join them for support, accountability and coworking.

Write everything down and tick things off – focus on what you have done

It’s so easy to get distracted by little tasks. The ones you think must be done, but are not actually on your list. The ones that take over and consume your time. It’s unlikely you will stop doing this entirely, so instead, add them to your task list for the day. Then you can enjoy the satisfaction of crossing them off! You will see that you’ve not only cracked your planning method for your business, but that your dog walk/laundry/food shop was also a hugely productive part of your day. Then recognise this feeling, and use it to fuel your pride and sense of achievement!

We need to focus on what we HAVE done, rather than what we haven’t, and celebrate ALL our successes!

Over to you

Have a think about how you plan your week. Do you have particular things that catch you out? Things that keep you from running your day rather than your day running you? Find out what your barriers are and tackle those directly, perhaps some of the points above will help you adopt new strategies.

Please do share any great planning tips with us, we’d love to know how you ensure you plan your week!