So you sit down to plan your next week out, you grab your pen, and your planner and you start writing in your plans. Then you get to Friday and remember you had a Dentist appointment on Tuesday that you didn’t write in and you have no space left and you were suppose to pick up the dry cleaning on Thursday but you made a really long to-do list on Thursday already and there is no way you will have time to go across town to pick it up and the appointment you thought was Wednesday was really Thursday but you already put your sticker down.
Last week in my post Tips To Easing The Monday Dread- And Making A Productive and Positive Start To Your Week I mentioned I use a weekly list pad to organize my thoughts for the week before I commit pen and stickers to paper. Now I will fully admit part of the reason I do this is because I am Type A (awesome) and hate when I make a mistake in my planner and have to cross something out. I don’t mind if I have to move something to another day because I was too busy, or cross something out that I decide is no longer important, but I don’t want to start my week off looking like an unorganized mess.
So this week I want to talk about why I think it is important to pre-plan and how creating a pre-planning process will help you be more productive. At the end of the post I will also go through my pre-planning process, so grab a cup of coffee/tea and snack, this might be a long one.
So the most obvious reason I think you should try to use a pre-planning process is to keep yourself more organized. It is a place where you can brain dump your thoughts and plans for the week, so you can see them all in one place and decide how to be organize your time. I use both a week planning pad and a notebook for my to do lists to pre-plan my week ahead.
Pre-planning your week also gives you the opportunity to focus your thoughts and determine what is really important for your week. Writing a to-do list for your week, and having a list of any appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, etc, gives you the chance to look at the overall picture and start to make a focused plan on what you want to accomplish.
I know it seems like you are adding more time to your planning session by adding the step of pre-planning, and you are, but you will also save yourself time in the long run. You will have less forgotten to-dos and/or appointments. Being able to come up with a more focused plan on how to achieve your weekly goals, will also save you time. But if that all doesn’t save you time, my next reason for pre-planning will.
I save time by prioritizing, grouping, and balancing my plans and I do this in the pre-planning stage. After I have my to-do list made, and my weekly notepad filled with events I can then look at all my plans and figure out what is the most important task(s) on my list for that week. Are there any task or to-dos that can be grouped together to save time. Shout out to Planning With Kristen for teaching me the method of batching tasks. If I want to mop my kitchen, living room, and bathroom does it makes sense to group those task to do at the same time, rather then spread them out? Do I want to spread tasks that I hate doing like laundry throughout the week or just do a few bigger loads all in one day? Having everything set out before you, gives you the opportunity to organize it better. Also I like having a balanced schedule. I will go more into depth on how to create a balanced schedule in a later post but I feel better when my schedule is balanced and I don’t have one crazy day and a super relaxed nothing to do day.
I am a person that needs motivation to get some of my tasks and goals checked off my planner. Pre-planning lets me me see how busy my week is going to be and know if there are tasks that are going to take a bit of motivation to be completed. Do I need a night of self-care after a certain busy day, which would push the laundry to another night.
My Pre-Planning Routine
If you read my post on my how I use a multi-planner system I talked about using a notepad to pre-plan my thoughts. I still use a notepad but I have added in the weekly list pad. I think they work perfect hand in hand.
First Step- I look at my current week to see if I have anything that got put off and needs to be re scheduled and I write it down on my notepad. I then brain dump anything I know out of my head that I want to get accomplished this week. Sometimes I will have notes stored in my phone, or on sticky notes of things I thought of during the week. I put those all onto the one notepad.
Step Two- I grab my weekly list pad and flip to my monthly calendar in my Happy Planner- I look to see if there are birthdays, anniversaries, or important dates to write down. I look to see if I have any appointments for the week. I usually schedule these in my phone or have them on post-it notes stuck on the day they are on. Once I have those written on my pad, I will then fill in things that I know happen each week; my blog post and social media schedule but any of the tasks related to getting those things done go on the to-do list pad. Right now I only want events and scheduled.
Step Three- I then migrate everything from my to-do list onto my weekly list pad organzing and grouping the tasks as I go. I cross things off the to-do list as they get moved over and assigned to a day. Sometimes I will realize I should move something to a different day so my list pad can get a bit messy but I would prefer this happen on my list pad then in my planner.
Step Four- I look at my list, if it has gotten too messy sometimes I will write it out new one just so I can clearly see my plans. This is when I look at the week and decide if I feel like I will be able to accomplish what I have put together. If I think it is too much I look to see if there is something I can take away. If I see gaps, I can add something in from my running monthly to-do list or I leave the space to create some me time.
Then comes the fun of putting it into my planner. My favourite part of course 🙂
I hope this helped you, whether you currently use a pre-planning method, or you are new to pre-planning altogether, I hope you found some tidbit of information that might help you in your process.
Main Photo Credit: PastelsPaper- check out Kristen’s shop for flat lays for your blog –>PastelsPaper