You know keeping a weekly planner is a good idea. It helps you stay organized and follow through on your goals.
But you have so much on your plate that setting time to plan your weekly schedule seems like yet another daunting task.
So, you decide to skip it. Again. Maybe you’ll do it next Sunday…
Not anymore. That’s the old you.
Because let’s look at the facts: effective people use weekly planners to stay on top of their game. Over 90% of those who scored “productive” in our Productivity Quiz set and follow a weekly plan.
The good news is that you can become that person, too.
The old you doesn’t plan their weeks in advance – and that sets them up for failure. Instead of focusing on execution, they waste time on reacting and prioritizing as they go.
The new you is different. They use a weekly planner to decide what really matters. The new you has a plan, uses their time wisely and makes the most of each day.
Need some help getting started? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a practical guide to using your new weekly planner template, step-by-step.
The Best One-Page Weekly Planner
Most websites that offer weekly planners make you choose from dozens of options. Here, we give you one.
Why? Because picking a perfect planner template can be a form of procrastination. We’d rather you have one option and actually use it.
Our template has everything you need from a weekly planner – and more. First of all, it’s:
- Easy to use;
- Effective (i.e. makes you more productive).
On top of that, it has a few features that make it stand out among other planners.
- It’s a one-page weekly planner template – It keeps things short, simple and has everything you need for the week in one place.
- It’s part of a bigger system – When you’re ready for an upgrade, you’ll find everything from this template in our TRACKTION Planner. It includes a weekly planner PLUS a whole lot more tools (like a habit tracker, wheel of life and guided reflection) to help you get more done and find balance.
- It comes with a step-by-step guide – To make sure you get the most out of your weekly planner template, here’s a tutorial on how to use it.
The Weekly Planner Template Explained
To show you how this weekly planner works, let’s look at all the fields you’ll be filling in.
Keep in mind that this is the recommended approach to setting up your weekly schedule. We based it on years of experimentation and productivity coaching. But, feel free to adjust it to your needs.
Areas of Life
The first column on the left features eight different areas of your life. These are essential for a balanced weekly schedule. In this case, the balance means that you look at your weekly goals holistically.
Many people tend to only focus on some areas of life, but not others. This weekly planner includes them all to make sure you consider the big picture.
In the next column, you’ll define one weekly goal for each area of life. Keep in mind that these goals should follow the SMART(ER) framework. You also need to make sure they are doable in the 7-day time span.
Not all the goals will be equal. They will depend on which area of life you’re currently focusing on. We’ll talk more about setting goals in the next section, so stay tuned.
Weekly priorities are the breakdown of your goals. To define them, you can answer this question: What exactly needs to happen to hit my weekly goals?
For example, if you want to throw a dinner party for your friends, the priorities to reach that goal can be:
- Blocking time to research recipes;
- Making a shopping list;
- Buying groceries; or
- Cleaning the flat.
You can also use this space to capture other errands and to-dos for the week, unrelated to your goals.
The appointments column is for commitments that need to happen at a specific date and time. By putting them in your weekly planner, you’ll have an overview of your upcoming schedule.
Initially, you can fill it with appointments like work meetings or a visit to the doctor. Once you’re must-do’s are covered, use it to time block personal commitments.
For example, you may want to dedicate two hours to work on your website or go for a run. You’re more likely to get things done and spot clashes when you block time for them in your schedule.
Today’s Top Priorities
This part of your weekly planner is for the actionable steps you can take each day. It’s great for making sure items on your Weekly Priorities list actually happen. It also allows you to track how you spend your time each day.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to plan upcoming days in advance. But we recommend reviewing your daily priorities every evening. That way, you keep your schedule relevant and up-to-date.
How To Master Your Weekly Schedule With The Weekly Planner Template
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients in your weekly planner template, let’s learn how to bring them together. Follow this step-by-step process and you’ll be surprised with how much you can get done in a week!
Step 1: Time Block Your Appointments
Start with an overview of what you already have planned. Block time for any fixed meetings and commitments that you know need to happen.
Do this either on a Friday afternoon or Sunday evening – whichever suits you better. Then, update it every evening to complete the next day’s schedule.
Step 2: Set Weekly Goals In Each Area of Your Life
To keep your weekly schedule balanced, set one relevant goal for each area of life. If you’re not sure which areas to prioritize, use a wheel of life to figure it out.
Remember to make your goals SMART(ER) and make sure they’re achievable within seven days. Remember you can set both outcome and process goals. For more advice, check out this in-depth guide.on defining short-term goals.
Set your weekly goals on a Friday afternoon or Sunday evening. And when you have them down in your weekly planner, test them with these two simple questions:
- “Is achieving these goals in the next seven days realistic?”
- “If I only completed these goals and nothing else, would I consider my week a success?”
If you answered “Yes” to both questions, then you’re on the right track.
Just remember that setting weekly goals is a skill. It takes practice. Don’t worry if you over or undershoot your expectations in the beginning.
Step 3: Define Your Weekly Priorities
Now that you’ve set your goals, it’s time to get practical. What exactly needs to happen for you to reach them?
It usually takes a set of specific steps to complete a goal. This is what weekly priorities are for. Break your goals down into concrete actions and put them into your weekly planner template.
Apart from the main goals, you may also have other errands to run. The Weekly Priorities column is a good place for tasks like “buy travel insurance” or “pay the electricity bill.” That way, you make sure they don’t get forgotten.
Make time to define your weekly priorities on a Friday afternoon or Sunday evening.
Step 4: Define Each Day’s Priorities
This step is about deciding when you’re going to do what you said you would. Take your priorities for the week and allocate them to the specific days that you’ll work on them.
You can start this process during your weekly planning slot on a Friday afternoon or Sunday evening. But keep in mind that this plan is a draft. With daily priorities, it’s important to update tomorrow’s schedule each evening.
If it makes it easier, get a physical planner that you can carry with you everywhere. Here’s a review of some of the best planners in the market.
Step 5: Plan Your Ideal Day
As you move through the week, your initial weekly plan may need adjustments. That’s why you should only finalize each day’s schedule the night before.
Open your weekly planner every evening and block time in the Appointments column for the next day’s priorities and commitments.
That way, you’ll ensure that everything you planned for the week happens. You’ll also do it at the most convenient time, aligning your daily priorities with how your week unfolds.
Why Using a Weekly Planner Is a Must
By now, you understand that keeping a weekly planner isn’t a nice-to-have habit. It’s essential if you want to be productive.
Why? Because deciding your goals in advance lets you separate planning from doing. It gives you clarity about what you should focus on, instead of trying to figure it out on the way.
When designing your weekly schedule, remember that all plans are subject to change. Don’t add unnecessary stress if something doesn’t go your way. It’s bound to happen. The best thing you can do is to adjust the plan as necessary and move on.
Keeping a weekly planner puts you ahead of the pack. By setting aside even 10-15 minutes to schedule your week, you gain a new level of clarity.
On top of that, you become accountable to yourself. Seeing your goals written down makes them hard to ignore or forget. As a result, you become the productive and organized person you always wanted to be.
NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Printable Weekly Schedule Template Now!
Everything you just read will be useless if you don’t act on it. So go ahead and download our free printable weekly planner template below.
Don’t put this off until you forget – do it now!
And if you’re ready to take it one step further:
Get your first TRACKTION Planner to integrate your weekly planner into an end-to-end productivity system.