Do This Every Week: Your New 30-Minute Weekly Planning Routine

I used to spend over two hours every Sunday night just planning out my week. Talk about the Sunday Scaries!

It took me forever to figure out what tasks to pull from my Master Task List for my home, two businesses, and personal life (there’s a lot to keep track of!) and how to time-block them around other events.

Without a solid system in place, planning my week was a frustrating and time-consuming process that I loathed.

Thus, why I always pushed my weekly planning to the last minute on a Sunday night.

Planning on Couch

But over the past year or so, I’ve come to realize that when a task, project, or process feels chaotic, it’s usually because there is no system in place to follow.

Without a framework, we flounder.

If you can systematize an area and distill everything you need to do in a matter of steps or “rules” to follow, you’ll spend less time making decisions about what to do. You’ll just do it. And we Type-A’s love following a set of rules!

So I began documenting everything I did (and wanted to do) to plan for the week ahead.

What resulted was a repeatable method that takes less than 30 minutes. This process also doesn’t drain me of energy, so I can also follow through with my plans during the week!

Once I stepped back and created an easy-to-follow system and routine, I didn’t stress that I would forget something important.

Weekly Planning routine you need to try right away

Why You Need a Weekly Planning Routine

A weekly planning session helps you handle your time, energy, and tasks better.

Instead of spending ages gathering all the info you need to complete your weekly planning, a solid routine can save you a ton of time and hassle.

Imagine all that time you’d save not hunting down details—hours you could spend on stuff you actually like doing! With a routine, you’ll streamline the whole process, leaving you with more energy and freedom to focus on the good stuff.

Whether it’s catching up with friends, hitting the gym, or binge-watching your favorite show, having that time back means more fun and less stress.

A plan to plan might sound a little silly, but I promise your personal weekly schedule will feel more manageable and fun. You’ll be in control. And ticking things off your list will give you a real sense of accomplishment.

Needless to say, a weekly planning routine is essential.

And if you want a system to make your planning sessions as easy as possible, keep reading—I’m sharing my personal planning system that you can use as is or tweak to your liking. think it’s going to be a game-changer for you!

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Tools You’ll Need for This

When creating your weekly planning routine, you’ll need to have these three things ready:

1. An area to document your Weekly Routine process.

This is where you’ll jot down what you typically do to plan your week (or would like to do!)

Note the tasks you aim to tackle during your planning time and the things that often slow you down. Be thorough—review the past few weeks to ensure you’re not overlooking any important steps. Even if you don’t have a solid system yet, figuring out what information you need each week based on your current responsibilities and life areas will help you streamline the process.

I wanted to keep my weekly planning routine in a place where I could reference everything I needed to plan a productive week. So, of course, I chose Notion!

Weekly Planning dashboard in Notion

Since Notion is where I keep all of my tasks and to-do lists, it made sense to document my weekly planning routine inside it as well.

Plus, it’s so easy to view all the databases you need to reference on one page. I can see my current projects, tasks, workouts to complete for the week, and more.

I keep my Weekly Planning page linked at the top of my Personal Dashboard for easy access when it’s time to plan. But you can truly use whatever tool you want—whether it’s a Word document, Evernote, Google Doc, Notion, or even just a notebook or a simple sheet of paper.

Quick Links in Notion Dashboard

You don’t need anything super fancy. Whether you’re all about digital planning tools or prefer the simplicity of pen and paper, there are plenty of options to choose from.

If you aren’t sure what tools will work best for you, now is the time to do some brainstorming about what your ideal planning tools look like.

2. A calendar (Paper or Digital)

Next, you’ll need a calendar to keep track of deadlines or appointments.

This will give you a visual overview of your schedule so you can plan your days more realistically, ensuring you don’t overload any single day with high-energy tasks and can set yourself up for success.

It’s all about balancing your week so you can stay on top of everything without feeling overwhelmed!

If you are an avid user of the time-blocking method like myself, then you’ll probably want to use a digital calendar so you can easily move blocks around as needed.

I used to be a huge Google Calendar Fan, but I’m since moved over to Morgen. Morgen integrates with Notion and I can easily drag and drop tasks from Notion into the different calendar blocks in my schedule. (These are the white blocks in my calendar with a little Notion icon!)

Time Blocking in Morgen Calendar Screenshot

This video explains more about why I made the switch and helps you decide if Morgen Calendar is right for you too.

3. A Master Task List

The third item you’ll need is a Master Task List.

If you haven’t heard of a Master Task List before, this is a giant list of everything you need and want to do, both now and in the future.

Think of it as a well-organized dumping ground for tasks, so you don’t have to keep everything in your head. I break down my Master Task List completely in this post if you’re curious to learn more about how this works for me. Hint: I use Notion for this too!

Master Task List View in Notion

I love using my list for those “someday/maybe” tasks—things I’m not sure I’ll get to but want to remember just in case. It’s great because I no longer worry about forgetting anything, keeping my mind free from task-related clutter.

But I also reference this list to pull tasks for my week, whether they have specific due dates or not.

So whether you use a paper or digital version of a Master Task List, you’ll want to keep this tool handy so you can easily find the tasks you want to do for the coming week.

My Three-Step Weekly Planning Process

I’ve narrowed down my routine to three fairly simple steps. This keeps my planning time short, engaging, and easy to follow and makes it SO much easier for me to incorporate planning as a habit in my week!

Now that I don’t spend hours trying to figure out how to set up my week, I actually look forward to it now.

Step 1. Review The Previous week

The first step of this process is to take a moment to look over the past week and review two things:

  • What you accomplished (i.e. your completed tasks)
  • How you felt about the week

Tucked under a Notion toggle block, I can see a linked view of my Master Task List database, filtered to show me the tasks I’ve completed in the past week, organized by category. This is just a little thing, but how many times do you reach the end of the week feeling like you didn’t do anything productive?

This spot reminds us that we did, indeed, accomplish quite a bit. We should be proud of every task on this list!

Review Your Week Step in Planning Routine

Next, I open up the previous week from my Calendar Weeks database (also embedded in this page) and journal through a few questions.

These prompts help me celebrate all the things I accomplished and any little wins or positive moments that I had that week so I can be intentionally grateful for those things. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, it is easy to feel frustrated or disappointed by what might feel like a lack of momentum.

If I was overwhelmed during the week, these prompts help me sort out why. Maybe I need to scale back on my expectations for how much I get done each day or adjust the times I do my tasks to match my energy levels better.

I think about how I can better streamline my workflows or tasks to be more productive without being exhausted. I also reference my moods from my Daily Journal as this helps signal whether I’m maintaining a sustainable work-life balance that is positive for my physical and mental health.

Taking time to look back on the past week helps me to stay focused, realize how much is getting done, and keep a finger on the pulse of how I’m doing on my longer goals and projects.

Step 2. Reset for the week ahead

Next, I shift from reviewing how my previous week went to getting ready for this upcoming week.

For me, that means,

  • Clearing out emails that are sitting in my inbox and waiting for me to respond to them
  • Going through some of my notoriously numerous open browser tabs to process what I need to save for any tasks I’m working on, or just close out the ones I don’t need anymore.
  • Processing any of the items I’ve quickly captured throughout the week from my Quick Capture page.
Reset Weekly Recurring tasks in Notion

I explain how to build and use a Quick Capture page in this video, but in short, this is where I capture thoughts, tasks, ideas, etc. quickly (think GTD) and then organize them during my weekly planning routine.

The two “capture” items I need to organize are Tasks and any resources I’ve saved to my Learning Library.

I assign the tasks a category and due date and make sure my resources connect to the right topic for easy reference later. Then I change the status of these resources to “Archived” so they disappear from this section.

Next, I audit any tasks I didn’t complete during the week.

Check Unfinished Tasks from Last Week

Again, this is my Master Task List, filtered to show any overdue tasks. I can quickly click on the due date and choose a new one to push it forward, or I can delete that task entirely if it keeps ending up in this section week after week.

This step creates a much tidier mental space for me to begin working on the actual planning part of my week and keeps me from falling behind. I love starting my week with a clean slate!

Step 3. Ready Your Week

This is where the nitty-gritty part of planning my week begins and where I spend the majority of my 30-ish minute routine.

Here’s what I do in this section:

  • Create a new week in Notion. My Calendar Weeks are important for any Six-Week Sprint I tackle, plus they collect data about my habits and work hours.
  • Update the dates of recurring weekly and monthly tasks. Notion doesn’t provide a native recurring tasks feature, so I just update the due date on all of my recurring tasks to show up in the correct week. Here’s how I use this method.
  • Choose my workouts for the week. I embedded my Workout Library Database so I can easily select which workouts I want to do. These workouts show up in the workout section of my Personal Dashboard for easy access!
Choose Weekly Workouts
  • Add new tasks. Because it’s so easy to overlook things we don’t do all the time, I created a Task Trigger List to make sure I don’t forget anything. As I go through my triggers, I use the buttons on the left-hand side to add new tasks to my list. These populate a calendar week view of my Master Task List database (located below this section) so I can create a realistic workload for my week,
  • For my final step, I time block my tasks in Morgen. This helps me visualize the tasks I am doing and how much time they’ll take. For me, time-blocking is how I avoid over-booking my time! I arrange my schedule to be as balanced as I can and to work around any travel days I have coming up.

If you want to grab a copy of this weekly planning template that you can use as is or modify to plan your ideal week, it’s yours for free. You can sign up for it below—all you need is an email address so I can send the template straight to you!

When to Use This Routine

You might be wondering if there is a perfect day to complete your weekly planning routine. Not really. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday—it all depends on what you prefer!

After establishing this planning system, I moved my routine to Friday, the same day I update my finances. That way, I can completely log off for the weekend without having any need to reach for my computer or phone to figure out what I need to do next.

Spending 30 minutes on a Friday afternoon before clocking out is such a relief. I can completely immerse myself in any outings or projects that we have planned over the weekend, or just unplug and recharge without setting up for the new week looming over my head the entire time.

But there is also value in practicing this routine on Saturday or Sunday morning (or evening).

Monday morning is a little iffy, especially if you like waking up on Monday feeling ready to go, but I’ve been known to not plan my week until Monday a few times. It happens! But it also reminds me why I like planning my week on Fridays. 😆

Have I Inspired You Yet to Try Notion?

If this is the first time we’ve met, I have to tell you—I’m a huge Notion nerd.

I love how flexible it is, and how this tool can be tailored to handle pretty much any need or task that I throw at it. Its endless customization options and powerful databases make it a no-brainer for handling my personal home tasks and projects as well as creating a place to manage my businesses smoothly and effectively.

And since it’s an (almost) all-in-one kind of workspace, it creates a much smoother experience when it comes to organizing and keeping track of my weekly planning needs.

I teach a short class about Notion’s basic functions so you can get up and running on the platform as quickly as possible, without watching a TON of YouTube tutorials about it. So if you want to start your Notion journey with me, I’d be honored to have you join via the link below!

New to Notion?

In this beginner-friendly “crash class”, you’ll learn the basics of pages AND databases so you can create your own personalized Notion workspaces with confidence.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel where I share Notion tutorials and other ways to stay on top of your to-do’s almost every week.

Your Week Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Taking the time to create this routine is going to be such a game-changer for you.

That’s what it did for me, anyway!

Weekly planning removed so much of the guesswork, and so much needless anxiety over forgetting something important or just inadvertently adding too many tasks to my week and not being able to complete them. Having a plan has reduced my stress and increased my productivity, making my weeks so much better.

And I think that it will make your weekly planning sessions easier, too.

Let’s chat about weekly planning routines!

Have you ever implemented a weekly planning routine before?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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