How to make an effective weekly plan
Do you feel like you drift through your weeks without any real purpose? Using a weekly plan could help stop this problem and make you more productive. I’ve written about the importance of using weekly plans before to stay organised so here I will break down the steps needed to make an effective plan.
I like using a desk pad from Paperchase for my weekly plans but there are lots of different ones available elsewhere. You basically just need something you can see easily and that has a separate space for each day. I also like to have a small notes section. Once you have found something suitable you can start to make your plan, this is something I like to do on a Sunday evening.
Write down any ‘appointments’
The first thing I do when creating a weekly plan is look at my diary and write down any ‘appointments’ I have that week. By ‘appointments’ I basically mean anything that has to happen at a set time. For example work or lectures etc.. I try to write these in a suitable place on my plan, so if something is happening in the morning I write it at the top of the box, for example. If something is going to take more than a few hours I like to draw a downwards arrow underneath it so I can see that it will take a while.
At this point I also write down anything else I need to be aware of, like deadlines.
Write down any other tasks that need to get done on a specific day
These are things that don’t have to happen at a set time but would ideally happen on a specific day. For me this is generally going running. Once you have done this and the stage above you will be able to see how much time left you have each day for other things.
Decide what studying etc. to do each day
Now, I know if you are a student it might seem odd to do this near the end but I find that this order works best for me as I already know how much time I have available each day. During this stage I basically decide what else needs to get done each day, for example working on this blog and in term time, which bits of studying to do.
Because I am doing an Open University degree as long as I hand my assignments in on time it doesn’t really matter when I study so I have to be quite organised about getting everything done. However, your academic life might be more structured so you would need to plan for this. But what I like to do is look at my study planner (basically a thing that tells me what I should be doing each week for each module, although I like to be a few weeks ahead) and decide what I need to get done in the coming week. Sometimes this is working on assignments and sometimes it is things like reading and note taking. While you are doing this you need to consider how long, realistically each thing will take you and plan for this.
I then look at how much time I have left over each day and plan what bits of studying I want to get done each day in order to have reached my target for the week. The key here is to be specific – rather than saying I will work on a particular module, I write what specifically I am going to do. By doing this I am less likely to procrastinate as I know exactly what I should be doing.
At this stage it is also a good idea to add in some ‘catch up’ time (basically time where you don’t have much planned) towards the end of the week. This is useful because if you get behind in your studying then you will have time to catch up before the start of next week.
Set some goals for the week
Finally, in the notes section of my weekly plan I like to set myself some goals for the week. These can be whatever you want but I like to include anything that I would like to get done that doesn’t need to happen on a specific day. Generally these are things which aren’t studying related. For example, finishing a book, mending an item of clothing, or something from a long term to-do list etc.. By having these goals, when I have free time during the week I can use this time to work on these goals.
That said, although creating these types of goals is good you might not always have time to get them done. To solve this problem, I like to think about how much of a problem it would be if it didn’t get done that week. If it would be a big problem if it didn’t get done then I make sure it gets added in on a specific day during the previous step.
Leave a comment to let me know if this has helped you to make a more effective weekly plan 🙂