Do you wake up Monday morning already feeling behind? Do you wish you could be more productive throughout the week? This is how I plan my week to achieve my goals, bring order to my days, and get stuff done!
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“I don’t know how you do it.” “How do you do everything you do?” “You’re supermom.”
I hear comments like these on a surprisingly regular basis, and it never fails to surprise me.
For one thing, when I look at what other moms are doing, I feel woefully unaccomplished! And my husband and I have had more than a few *ahem* conversations about realistic expectations as a SAHM of multiple small children.
Related Post: 5 Stay-At-Home-Mom Myths I Busted This Year
So the idea that I’m anybody’s paragon of productivity basically blows my mind.
Since I do get asked quite a bit how I manage my time, I thought I would give you a peek into my weekly planning system.
Because that’s the secret, my friends.
The ONLY way this scatterbrained, easily overwhelmed HSP, low energy Enneagram 9 gal gets anything done is because I regularly and specifically plan for it.
(Nearly) every Sunday night, I sit down with my phone, my computer, and my planner, and I plan out my week.
And here’s how I do it!
*Note: It looks like a lot when I write it all out, but I promise, it’s not as bad as it looks. It takes me maybe an hour or so (and would take me less time if I were more focused, but I’m usually doing it while watching TV with my husband, hah!). But it’s completely worth it!
HOW I PLAN MY WEEK
STEP 1: WRITE DOWN EVENTS/ACTIVITIES/MEETINGS/ETC.
I use a combination of paper and digital calendars.
I do most of my actual planning in my paper planner (you can read about my all-time FAVORITE planner here), but I use a calendar app on my phone to keep track of our schedule. That way, I always have it on hand wherever I go.
Since all our appointments, events, activities, etc. are on my phone, the first thing I do when I sit down to plan the week is write them down in my planner. I have a spot in my weekly layout just for things like that. That way I can quickly see what’s happening on each day and plan accordingly.
STEP 2: MEAL PLAN
I first wrote about my meal planning system in this blog post. Since then, I have tweaked it probably a dozen times. That’s the beauty of meal planning — there’s no one “right” way to do it and 1,000 great ways to make it work for you!
Related Post: How to Meal Plan For Your Personality
I still follow the same general steps as before, but in a little different way.
Before I write my final meal plan in my planner, I start with a “rough draft” in a Notes file on my computer.
Here’s my current meal planning process:
I first make a quick list of what I have on hand — meats, meatless options, produce that needs to be used, etc. Then, I brainstorm some meals I could make with those things. (Google is my best friend for this, by the way!)
- Assign Dinners
After I have a list of meals (the # will vary based on the week), I assign them to the various days. When I do this, I consider each day’s schedule — activities, amount of available time, anticipated energy level, etc.I should note that steps 1 & 2 are not necessarily linear. There is a lot of back and forth, tweaking and re-tweaking until I have a meal for every night.
- Lunches, Breakfasts, and Snacks
Finally, I brainstorm a list of possible breakfasts, lunches to pack for Aidan, and snacks to make for everyone. I don’t plan these to specific days, necessarily, but I do make sure I have plenty of options and possibilities.
For More Meal Planning Help:
- How to Create a Meal Plan That Works For You!
- 5 Ways to Simplify Your Meal Planning
- How to Meal Plan For Your Personality
STEP 3: MASTER LIST OF TASKS
The next thing I do in my weekly planning is make a master list of tasks I want to/need to complete at some point during the week.
I get these from my monthly goals, my meal plan, household tasks, and other random things that need to be done.
Because I’m kind of a nerd, I color coordinate these tasks:
Business = teal
Food = green
Household = purple
Personal / Miscellaneous family = charcoal
(By the way, here are the marker pens I use and LOVE)
STEP 4: ASSIGN MY TASKS TO SPECIFIC DAYS
After I’ve made my list of goals and to-dos, I assign them to different days based on my overall schedule.
I then fill in daily routines & habits (such as exercising and reading) and other random meal prep tasks that weren’t on my master list (making buns, chopping veggies, putting something in the crockpot, etc.).
I do tend to front-load the week, and that’s intentional. I’ve noticed that I have a BIG tendency to start out the week strong and fizzle out toward the end, so I plan accordingly for that energy wave.
Also, you just never know what’s going to come up throughout the week. Keeping the later days a little more open gives me the margin to adjust, add, or play catch-up, if necessary.
TIPS FOR STICKING TO A PLAN
As I’m sure you’re aware, however, simply making a plan does not guarantee you will stick to it. 😉
And I will be 100% honest — even with the tips I’m about to share with you, I still manage to forget a couple of items every week. #mombrain
But taking the following four actions does wonders to keep me on track.
I keep my planner out and open
I am the epitome of an “out of sight, out of mind” person. If I can’t see a visual reminder of something, there’s a 99.5% chance I will not remember it.
So, I keep my planner out and open to the week at all times in a place where I can see it throughout the day.
Which brings me to my next tip…
I consult my planner MANY times throughout the day
Every couple of hours or so, or at the very least every time I switch to a different “zone” in my day (I break my day into different zones — morning routine, household management, work time, dinner prep, and evening routines are the 5 basic zones), I check my planner to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.
It’s amazing (slash disturbing) how often I realize I am!
I write down everything
Because I’m naturally pretty scatterbrained, I compensate for that by writing down anything I need to remember down to the simplest steps, such as putting something in the crockpot or pulling meat out of the freezer.
(That’s one I don’t always write down but should because it always bites me in the behind when I don’t. Thank goodness for the Instant Pot, which can safely cook frozen meat!!)
I look ahead
Not only do I look at the day I’m on several times a day, but I also try to make it a habit to regularly look at what’s coming down the line.
Part of my evening routine every night is to peek at what I have planned for the next day. That way, when I get up, I can hit the ground running instead of feeling behind right off the bat.
As I said before, planning is not a guarantee for perfection. Even with this system, I still forget to do things and my plans sometimes go awry.
But my week is 1000x smoother and more productive (which, as a result, makes me a much more pleasant momma) when I take a little time to plan my week.
And if you’ve been feeling like you’re always behind or you’ve been in survival mode way too long, see if this system doesn’t bring some intentionality to your week like it has mine.
SHARE WITH US: Do you take time to plan your week? What area of your life do you / would you see the biggest impact from planning?
For More Planning & Productivity Tips: