When working with your planner, do you have a nagging feeling of not being able to see far enough into the future? Do you feel like although you are writing everything down on a monthly calendar, you still have no idea of what’s going on?
Then you may need to switch to a weekly layout or at least a larger monthly calendar that allows for more detail.
For clarification, a monthly calendar is the 30 days at a glance calendar. A weekly calendar has seven days at a glance.
Lately, I’ve been sharing the slow evolution of my current planning system. I started with the bare minimum: a to-do list and a monthly calendar.
Then later, I divided my to-do list into multiple new lists and then put them all plus the calendar into a new 6 ring binder. As I used it some more, I found it necessary to introduce Bullet Journal inspired elements.
Now I’m in the process of streamlining what I have.
For months now, the calendar in my planner has been in the classic Bullet Journal style. I would list the days of the month down the left side of the page. Then next to the dates, I would write the events of the month.
However, despite having this monthly calendar and a weekly to-do list, something felt off. I couldn’t get a clear picture of what was happening during the week. And when sudden changes happened, I struggled to move things around.
So I decided to scrap the monthly calendar and weekly to-do list. Now I have a weekly calendar that effectively does both.
Looking back, this move makes a ton of sense. I use a small personal sized planner, so a regular monthly calendar would not allow me to add the amount of detail I need to understand what’s ahead.
How I Use my Weekly Calendar
Each day only has four to five to-do items.
I have up to three items that I feel I must do on that day. By must do, I mean, if I don’t get this thing done, I will suffer consequences such as not having enough food in the fridge to make dinner. I also include any appointments and those count towards my limit.
Then I add one or two fun items. This could be reading a book or visiting a favorite website. Anything that will add some fun and joy to my day.
I try my best to limit each day to four to-do items. If a day threatens to go over that, I see what I can move to another day.
Overall, I’ve found when I have a limited number of to-do items for each day, moving tasks when unexpected things happen is way more flexible.
Plus, the nonessential fun items act as a buffer. If something serious comes up, I can reduce those plans and have room to fit in the more important stuff.
In the notes section, I jot down 3 to 4 whenever items.
For each week, I have three to four tasks that I want to get done but are not tied to a specific day. I write these tasks in the notes section of my weekly layout.
Then I try to keep an eye open for opportunities to do them. I get them done whenever I can. Some items I’m not able get to them, so I roll them over to the next week, still maintaining my three to four-item limit.
Most of my weekly whenever items are random chores or other things that need to be done before the end of the month.
I note what needs to be done next week.
In the notes section of my weekly layout, I also have an area for tasks that pop into my mind that can be taken care of the following week. So then, when I start filling in the activities for the next week, I can see if I can fit those in or not.
I Still Use a Daily Log
Although my weekly calendar is awesome with keeping me on track, I still keep a daily log.
I love the act of copying my tasks from my weekly to-do to my special space for the day. Also, a daily log gives me room to jot down tasks that I need to later copy to a date further along in the month or even to my future log.
The daily log also gives me space to offload ideas that hit me in the day. My weekly calendar does not have the room for that. As a creative person, I need to have a place to let my ideas rest so I can review them later.
The only notes I don’t save in my planner are my extensive notes from books and journal entries. Those live in my composition notebook.
I know that now about everyone is running sales on planners. And if you want to see if a weekly planner could work for you without paying up, doing a search on “Weekly Planner Printables” will also give you a ton of options. Hopefully, this post provides some help with picking out a planner that works for you.
Any thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment!
The artwork for this post is also by Arcadia Page