Plan Your Week To Balance Your Life
I’m one of those people you call “planner junkies”. I just love planners. I have way too many of them and I change too often. Why? My planning style doesn’t remain the same all year. I think I just haven’t found my cup of tea yet and I’m still exploring my options. Do I want a daily planner or a weekly view? What kind of things do I need to write down? How much space do I need? Do I need a place to put in appointments? So. Many. Questions.
Yeah that’ll be a talk for another day.
Today, I’m telling you about what actually works for me and helps me organize my life in order to reach overall success which I am satisfied with.
I believe it’s a matter of setting aside enough time for each area of your life. My weekly plan is a general guideline of how I want things to go for the following week. It’s not set in stone; it will change, 99% guaranteed. Because unexpected things happen. You can’t plan for those. By keeping things general and not too detailed, I leave myself some leeway. That means I don’t freak out at the end of the day because o-m-g I didn’t do this or that.
Okay. Ready? Let’s jump in.
Divide your life into main categories
What are the important aspects of your life? What are the main things you have to do every day?
Mine are: college, chores, blogging and working out.
This part is important because that’s what you’re going to write onto your plan.
Insert these categories into your weekly plan
I use a weekly printed page from Outlook because it’s convenient for me, but any detailed weekly planner page will do.
First, you’re going to put in the stuff that you do every week at the same time for sure. For me, it’s my college classes. The schedule is set in stone so I have to work my way around that. It might be anything important like taking the kids to school, preparing dinner or a weekly meeting scheduled in.
Then, you’re going to add the rest of the things you have to do wherever there is space left. The trick is not to go in detail; stick to the categories. You aren’t planning your weekly to-do list. You’re just setting the times when you will be checking that nasty list off.
Now you might think that you don’t have a lot of time left. No breaks during your day. It’s true. Mine is pretty full 24/7 during the weekdays. However, remember that here you’re planning for the worst. I am planning on having X amount of hours of schoolwork and x amount of hours of cleaning to do. Now, from week to week, this might be less or more and that is where you find your breaks. If I have three hours of studying set for Tuesday morning but I don’t have anything to do after only two hours then I have the rest of the time to do whatever I want (sleep, netflix, eat a full bowl of ice cream…). Since the rest of your to-dos have a set schedule you won’t run out of time for it later. Less stress. Yay!
Keep in mind…
There are some important things to take into consideration while doing your plan.
For example, in order to get to school it takes me about an hour. The same goes for coming back. This is important to schedule in because if you don’t you could be planning to be grocery shopping and then realize that you can’t because you’re actually stuck in the bus or in traffic. It might seem obvious but it’s not. In fact, I spend 10 hours a week in the bust. That’s a considerable amount of time taken from anything else I need to do (now, there are ways to make the most of your daily commute; I’ll be talking about that another time!). The point is: don’t forget to account for all those little tasks that take up time during your week.
Then, there’s your personality. What day do you prefer grocery shopping? Do you clean in the mornings? Do you do school work only after 2pm? It’s important that your schedule really represents what your day looks like. It’s only there to hold you accountable, not to change your routine. If you don’t keep these things in mind, chances are you will fail. I know because I’ve been there. I am much more concentrated in the morning. That’s why my blogging and my school work is usually donne before lunch. I do have times set later in the day but I don’t expect myself to be as productive. Know your limits.
Are you someone who needs to set in breaks in their schedule to keep yourself from overworking and going nuts and lying in a corner to cry? Yeah I’m kind of like that too. In your plan, you could schedule breaks. That way you won’t feel guilty for watching your fav’e tv show because you know everything is planned out. However, it’s important that after that 1 hour is up you stay on track and don’t slip up on taking longer breaks (guilty here!). That could break your schedule’s groove.
What I do is leave my weekends open. I don’t plan because I have too many unknown factors. It depends on how my week went, if I’m visiting my parents, if I have events to attend, etc. If I’m late on school work, I’ll catch up on that. If I’ve slacked on cleaning up my apartment, I’ll make that for that. Otherwise, I spend time with my family and my boyfriend and don’t stress myself out too much. I think everyone deserves a little me-time. The amount I get just depends on how productive I’ve been during the week; kind of like a reward.
Don’t give up: Adjust
It might take a few weeks before your schedule really works. Maybe last week you expected too much of yourself and filled out 18 hours a day… Ouch! Don’t worry, just keep in mind for next time that you need to slack it off a little. Just keep adjusting until it feels right.
Like I said before, we don’t plan for the unexpected here. Some weeks may be filled with more of these unplanned events than others. Make sure you have a certain freedom to change things up when that happens.
Some weeks I may have extracurricular events or conferences to attend in college. That means that 2 hour study session on Wednesday night isn’t going to happen. I have to prepare for it and write it down in my schedule for that particular week so I can plan around it.
That’s why it’s important to do this plan every week. Don’t just do it once and expect it to workout forever. It won’t. You have to take the time to schedule it before the week starts so you know what’s ahead and what things you have time for or don’t have time for. It takes practice but once you’ve mastered it it’s the most useful planning tool to keep your life balanced, organized and stress-free.
Phew! We got through it. It seems mighty complicated but I promise it’s not.