8 Tips for Weekly Planning to Make Your Goals a Reality

These simple weekly planning tips can help you to achieve a schedule that works, stay on top of your to-dos, and work towards your goals!

Published January 12, 2024
woman writing in notebook

With a seemingly never-ending to-do list, it can sometimes feel impossible to get everything done, but that doesn't have to be the case! When you make weekly planning a priority, you can accomplish everything on your regular checklist and even work towards your monthly and yearly initiatives.

For those folks who are interested in pumping up their productivity, we detail how to plan your week so that you can find success.

1. Use a Planner Effectively

Did you know that the simple act of writing down your goals can make it 42% more likely that you will accomplish them? This is what one study found, and it makes a planner a prominent productivity tool and a key component for weekly planning! Try sitting down once a week (such as every Sunday), reviewing your week, and pinpointing your main priorities.

When setting up your weekly schedule, here are some tips to make using your planner more successful and effective:

Be Realistic With Your Daily Goals

Spread your work out over the entirety of the week and even the month. Overloading your days can overwhelm you, making simple tasks harder to complete.

Make It Easy to See Big-Picture Items

Fill planner pages with big-picture items like work projects and appointments. Also, consider coloring coding these objectives. This can help you quickly glance at your planner and see the main objectives for the week.

Break Things Down 

Make separate daily lists that include smaller goals like household chores, errands, and important phone calls. By keeping these tasks separate, you can better ensure that they are not forgotten or overlooked.

Stay on Track With Deadline Reminders

Mark deadline reminders so that you can stay on track of work and personal objectives.

Quick Tip

A secret to making weekly planning successful is to regularly plan to plan and make adjustments to your schedule when necessary. 

2. Get Into a Routine

woman doing yoga exercise at home

To start a routine, sit down and write out the daily tasks that always need to get done, regular work assignments, and typical weekly goals, like working out or walking the dog. Then, consider the tasks that need to get done, but normally get put off, and how to troubleshoot these deferred duties. 

For example, I noticed that when I start laundry too late in the day, it ends up sitting wet in the dryer overnight, needing to be rewashed the next day. To fix this, I changed my routine. I now load the washer every night and start it the moment I wake up. This allows me ample time to switch and fold the wash during the free pockets I have in the day. 

Everyone is going to have different priorities and tasks that need troubleshooting, so create a schedule that best works for you. Then, stick with it! 

Fast Fact

Leaders revealed that some of the most successful and productive people in the world have daily routines, and why it matters: "By establishing a regular schedule for your day, you can prioritize tasks more easily, manage your time better, and accomplish more in less time."

3. Pinpoint Priorities

As you create your daily and weekly goals, remember that it is okay to let some things remain unaccomplished at the end of the week. These are your goals, not requirements.

When creating your schedule pinpoint items that have to get done and others that you want to get done. Make the former a priority and try to check the latter items off your list when the priorities are complete.

4. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

It can be easy to get overwhelmed during weekly planning. There are so many things we want to do, but we don't necessarily have the time to do them. If you want to know how to make a weekly schedule without overburdening yourself, there is one very important thing to remember — this is not the only week in your year!

When weekly planning, you should also be monthly planning. Pinpoint priorities and goals and lay them out in a realistic way. You can always jump ahead to tasks for the following week if you finish everything that needs to be done in this seven-day period. 

5. Plan Regular Breaks & Rewards

Ever heard of the 52-17 rule? Some scientists say that this is the ideal work-to-break ratio. This can be a great way to keep your mind focused during prime work times, while also allotting time to get those smaller daily tasks done and for taking mini breaks. 

Helpful Hack

Setting alarms throughout your day can give you these moments of reprieve and also ensure that you don't get too sidetracked while taking breaks.

Another key part of weekly planning is to schedule moments of downtime. This can keep you focused on your goals and then give you a well-deserved reward for finishing your hard work. Planning a dinner with friends, a fun excursion with your family or significant other, or even just time to get cozy on the couch and binge-watch your favorite show are all great ways to keep you motivated each day. 

6. Prep Things in Advance

Woman weighing lunch boxes as part of healthy meal prep

This is one of my biggest secrets to success. I work from home while simultaneously taking care of two toddlers. It's a juggling act. The best way to keep things moving is to be prepared for the day ahead. Each night, I schedule time to plan out my day as well as activities for my boys.

I also lay out our clothes, pull out cups and bottles for quick morning meals, and any supplies I need for errands scheduled for the day. Meal prepping is another game changer. By having food ready for the week, I can crank out meals and prioritize other tasks.

Finally, every evening, I take a moment to look at my work for the following day. A lot of my job involves brainstorming ideas, so if I know what topics I will be writing about, I can start coming up with ideas while driving, grocery shopping, working out, and sitting at the doctor's office. 

Helpful Hack

If time management is an issue for you, think about the times in your day when you waste the most time. For many people, it's the period between when they wake up and have to head out the door, during their commute, and at meal times. By finding ways to expedite certain tasks and make the most of these moments, you can increase your productivity.

7. Set Daily Reminders 

One of the hardest parts of making your weekly planning a success is not getting sidetracked by the many distractions that life brings. To combat this, I set alarms throughout the day to remind me to switch activities, leave for appointments, or get back to work. This ensures that I stay on task and stick to my schedule. 

8. Reflect & Redirect 

If you want to know how to make a weekly schedule that works for you, another thing to remember is that finding your best schedule is a process. By taking some time each week to look at your triumphs and your failures, you can better plan for the following week. 

Related: 20 Productivity Tools to Help You Succeed

Weekly Planning Is a Daily Process

The last thing to keep in mind is that life isn't always going to go according to your plan. Problems are going to arise, projects are going to take longer than expected, you are going to get sick, and holidays and other big life events are going to cause your plans to change. This is normal.

To combat these schedule changes, dedicate 10 minutes each night to reviewing what needs to get done and what tasks need to change for the following day. This can help you to always stay on track!

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8 Tips for Weekly Planning to Make Your Goals a Reality