I know I’m not alone in saying that Sundays are my big prep and reset day for the week ahead. Even if I’ve had the craziest weekend, taking some time on a Sunday night to plan out my week and get organized is a nonnegotiable for me. I’m a big planner and to-do list type of person, and writing everything out helps me to visualize how busy my upcoming week is about to be. I’ve kind of bounced around with a few different planning methods, whether it’s digital or with a paper planner, and I’ve found a mix of both that keeps me on top of things. Today I’m sharing all about how I use Sundays to plan my week ahead!
Like I mentioned, I kind of use a blend of paper and digital planners to keep me organized. I have an ongoing to do list in my notes app of my phone that I write down every little thing I have to get done. Anything that pops into my mind, big or small, I write down on that list. When I’m planning out my week, I pick things that are of top priority to accomplish, and then narrow down the smaller things that don’t have to get done right away.
I also just started using Google Calendar, mainly to have a visual of my time commitments and see when I have free time. I have class most of the morning, and then just started an internship this semester as well. I like how Google Calendar blocks each commitment with a different color, and you can set reminders before things are due. I like to schedule everything out in Google Calendar, and then use the app on my phone if I ever forget my schedule for the day. I mainly use it for the big, time specific things, not as much for scheduling when I have homework due or things like that.
I have a simple, college ruled notebook where I use a full page to write out everything that I have coming up for the week ahead. The first half of the page, I write out each class and what homework I have coming up for the class, any exams, and when things are due. On the bottom half, I write my personal tasks and more fun things that I have coming up. I refer to that notes list and write a list of tasks like “grocery shop” or “mail package” or “deep clean room”, etc.
Then, I’ll skip a line and make a section for work related tasks. I’m currently managing five different social media accounts for different businesses, and I need to be able to keep them all updated and on track. I’ll write out each post, graphic, or story that needs to go up for each account, and make sure that the feed is planned out for the week ahead. It took me a minute at first to keep all the accounts organized, but I feel like I’ve gotten in a groove with it now.
Lastly, I try to plan out more “fun” activities throughout the week. Here are a few other segments I like to include in my weekly plan:
- Plans with friends: I realized last semester that I got so caught up in schoolwork, it was hard for me to balance a social life as well. This year I’m really trying to prioritize plans with friends and scheduling “friend dates”, outside of just meeting at a coffee shop to study. This could be going on a walk, getting coffee, working out together, movie night, or cooking/baking together. Sometimes I’ll get through the week and realize that I’ve barely spent time with my friends, so I’m trying to be intentional about reaching out to people and adding plans to my schedule.
- Workouts: For some reason, I haven’t been the most motivated to work out recently, which is rare for me. I don’t know if it’s the winter weather or the busier schedule, but I’ve found myself pushing off my workouts and not making them a priority. To combat this, I’ve been trying to plan my workouts ahead of time and add them to my schedule so I don’t have any questions about what I’m doing that day and no excuse to back out. Our school gym offers a lot of free classes, so I’ll usually look at the class schedule and pick a few to go to throughout the week. I also enjoy running and pilates workouts on my own, so I’ll usually alternate days between running/workout classes!
- Meal ideas: Another thing I’ve been trying to be better at is meal planning and actually having meal ideas in mine before going to the grocery store. It’s easy for me to go to the store with no list and no meals ideas, and just grab whatever looks good at the moment. Then I get home and realize I barely have full meals, just lots of random items that don’t go together. I like to look at my pantry/fridge and look at Pinterest and see what ingredients I have to make a few meals for the week ahead. I like to try at least one new recipe a week, but it doesn’t always happen.
- Fun things to look forward to: This is similar to the plans with friends segment, but I like to brainstorm something fun that’s going to happen during the week, big or small. For example, my “fun thing” this week is going to be treating myself to Starbucks after my last class on Friday and trying a new drink. This could also be a fun weekend plan with a friend, trying a new recipe, a campus activity, something like that!
- Word of the week: I recently started adding this to my weekly plan, and it’s fun to look back on and pick a word to focus on for the week ahead! I feel like my word changes depending on how busy/slow my week is going to be. For example, I had a really busy week this week, and I was constantly go-go-go. My word was “focus”- not only to focus and be efficient in the tasks/homework I had to do, but also to focus on Christ and not get overwhelmed.
- Three main goals: These are just three overall goals to focus on throughout the week. I need to be better about writing them down and putting the goals somewhere I see them every day, because it can be good to have a reminder about what I’m working towards. These could be health goals, like drinking x amount of water a day or getting x amount of steps. I’ve also made goals like “follow my morning routine every day” or “read 30 pages of a book each day”, things like that!
After writing all this, I realize it seems like a lot… I promise it’s really not! This is just what works for me, because I do best when I have everything written out and put pen to paper. I definitely don’t get everything done or always follow my goals 100%, but it helps me to at least plan it out and have things I’m striving towards. Overall, I just like to plan my week for balance: my school priorities, meals and working out, seeing friends, and taking time for myself. Some semesters are easier than others to do this, but it’s all about getting into good routines and learning how to be disciplined with the commitments I’ve made! This semester has been a little difficult to get used to, just because I started a new job and am working almost every day. I’m hoping that as I create routines and habits, things start to flow a little easier. What’s something you try to prioritize every week?