Planning ahead can sometimes be hard to prioritize, especially when life feels hectic or when you’re feeling pulled in more than one direction. Even when we make the time to pause and think about the upcoming week, sometimes the chaos seems to follow us there. We fight to settle our thoughts, silence the noise, and focus without interruptions. I feel it more than others some weeks, but I’ve come to realize this: Simplicity is key in forming this habit. So for those of you who feel pulled by too many things, here are five ways I simplify this weekly planning rhythm and make it easy to repeat.
Schedule a planning date. Begin with the threshold of time you can offer to weekly planning, and schedule a date with yourself, ideally, the same time and day each week. Whether you have 30 minutes or two hours, consistency is the goal here. Think of this time in the same way you might if you had a weekly meeting or appointment–you’d schedule around it, giving it priority. Treating your weekly planning as a scheduled date will help you from de-prioritizing it when your day begins tugging you to do something else. It also builds consistency and expectation for your home.
Clear distractions. Quickly jot down any important info from your phone that you may want to include in your time (calendar events, saved recipes, book recommendations, school ideas, etc) and then set your phone in the other room for the time. This will help keep your mind focused on what you need to do without the distraction of texts, social media, email, or any of the other notifications that may disrupt your time.
Plan core areas in order of priority. You may not always have time to plan every detail or area of the following week. Begin with a core area that will reap the best return as you begin Monday. In other words, where will your future self be most grateful you invested time to prepare now? Meal planning, homeschooling, work, et cetera. This may change in different stages of life, or even in different times of the year.
Build automations when possible. Consider automations you can include in your weekly planning, such as curbside orders for food or household items, reserving books at the library, etc., to pick up in the next week. One automation I have recently adopted is ordering groceries on Friday to pick up on Sunday. I have loved having meals planned and shopped for the next week before the weekend begins!
Be willing to confront boredom. Not the usual tip, is it? I learned about this one from James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits. Let’s be honest. At some point, there’s a good chance you’ll lose interest with the idea of this planning hour. The novelty of being prepared will wear off and you’ll consider the flip side of the coin–the more alluring pull to fly by the seat of your pants. I’m writing this upfront BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN THERE! Do your best to keep your scheduled dates, and when you find yourself craving a change, make a small change that won’t sacrifice the time itself. For instance, sit in a different spot or head out to a coffee shop. Make a favorite drink, or take a moment to think of all the ways this hour has benefited you/your home. Don’t give up. At the very least, you know there’s one other person in the trenches with you. Wink.
For those of you needing another helpful boost, you can now sign up for my FREE GUIDE TO WEEKLY PLANNING. It will be delivered to your inbox next week.