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How I Plan My Week

Author: Naomi Liddell

The summer holidays have kind of thrown me for a loop. Having both kids home and not a lot of routine (although fun!) has definitely taken its toll on my organisational habits. I am a complete geek when it comes to mapping out my time and to-dos, but with work, a business, two kids and a house to run I kind of have no choice or the wheels would definitely fall off. Ethan returns to school this week (bit earlier up here in Scotland) which is the perfect ‘back-to-school’ timing for me to get my act together and get back into the habit of planning my week. There’s something about the start of a new academic year that gives me all the New Years feels when it comes to reigniting goals and routines. 

Sunday is, for me, the perfect day to go through my little weekly review. I get up early for a yoga class and like to take about an hour before or after my class for the following routine. This keeps me on track and lets me breathe easy knowing that the week’s priorities are set. Don’t get me wrong, chaos usually ensues at some point and part of my plan will be shot to sh*t. But I feel better knowing that there are at least the remnants of a plan to claw back and that my week isn’t going to be lost to the ether. 
 

Check Calendar

First up, I like to have a scan over the week ahead and make a note of anything that could/would impact my plans. If Gavin’s working away, if someone’s birthday is coming up, we have plans with friends or appointments on the calendar. All of these things will affect how much I can get done, what we’ll be having for dinner and how much money we’re likely to spend that week. Being aware of all the comings and goings feels like a natural first step in planning out the week ahead. 
 

Budget

Next, I’ll open up our budget to look at the cash monies. We use You Need A Budget because it’s the only app I’ve found that essentially allows me to squirrel away money for upcoming things (without having 60 different bank accounts) and doesn’t just give me a retrospective view of our money like most budgeting apps. Although it’s great knowing that I spent £14 last week on hot chocolates, that doesn’t really help me set enough money aside for the September Smyths toy sale (Christmas is coming people). You Need A Budget (YNAB for those in the know) allows me to do all that forecasting and set targets. I check how our savings goals are coming along and also what bills are being taken out that week. 
 

Meal Plan/Batch Cook

I usually get my shopping and write up a meal plan on a Thursday. So by the time I sit down to do this little review on a Sunday, it’s just a case of making notes of things that need to be prepped for the week ahead. I usually make a batch of homemade granola, some berry compote or apple sauce to go with it and a pot of soup for a lunch option. Occasionally a sweet treat like banana bread or cookies gets thrown in there too. It depends on how much time/energy I have later in the day.
 

Clear Paperwork / Inboxes

This is my least favourite but most necessary part of the weekly review. I have a little in-tray at my desk that ALL paper nonsense gets thrown into. School notes, receipts, mail that I can’t chuck out immediately. I go through all of them one by one and see if anything needs actioned this week (forms to return, paper bills to pay etc). If it does, I’ll put it on my to-do list for the appropriate day. I then empty all my email inboxes (I know, vom). But doing this purge every week means that I never find myself faced with a massive stack of paper bits or a 4000+ unread email inbox. And although I loathe doing this part, it’s the bit that gives me the biggest sense of calm knowing that all the urgent stuff is taken care of. 
 

Braindump

Once the decks are clear, I’ll spend 10 mins or so filling my Todoist (my digital to do list of choice) inbox with allllll the things that are swirling around in my brain. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you need batteries for the smoke alarm or that I need to call my Grandmother, but I find using this prompt sheet by David Allen (of Getting Things Done success) to be the best way to comb through my mind and to prompt anything that’s tapping on my brain to be remembered. 
 

Plot The Week

Now that I have a mega list of tasks in Todoist and a much more relaxed mind, I go through each task one by one and ask myself whether it actually REALLY needs to be done A) At all? and B) This week? Anything that doesn’t need my attention right now gets parked on my Someday/Maybe list (like ‘Learn Irish’) and anything that needs to be tended to this week (like ‘Photograph new products’) gets assigned to the day I think it’s most likely to get done. This results in a neat little plan for the week so that each day when I look at my calendar and my task list, I know what I need to do to move everything that’s important to me forward.
 
If there is any chance that you geek out over this stuff too, then I’d love to hear about how you review your tasks and plan your week ahead. Or if there’s any part of this process that you’d like to see expanded on, let me know and I’ll make a note to write future posts on the topic. And finally, if you are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda person, I doff my cap to you. Because I’ve been feeling all at sea these last few weeks without my weekly review. 

 

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Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
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7 thoughts on “How I Plan My Week

  1. I recently bought a chalkboard for my kitchen to scribble things on. Since moving house nine months ago hubby and I have barely batch cooked and the answer to what’s for dinner or what shopping we need is always ‘don’t know’. We were also going over budget on food shopping.

    The same week I bought the chalkboard I also did a massive cooking session and made 20 meals to go in the freezer.

    It has really made a difference to us being able to scribble down what’s for dinner in advance, what’s in the freezer and what we actually need to buy from the next shop, and it barely takes any time to organise.

  2. 20 meals?!? That’s some serious batch cooking Claire, well done you! It’s amazing how much sanity you can gain back by getting things out of your brain and jotted down. This chalkboard sounds like the perfect spot for that.

  3. I LOVE an organisation post Naomi!!! Back to school for us next week and I too love a bit of new year stuff in September!! (Still can’t get used to an August start!)

    I like to gather my thoughts on a Sunday too, although I also have monthly plans – for menus (ours are based around various activities and different time available to cook e.g. Mondays needs to be something just to quickly warm up), after school club bookings and I like to look ahead and buy birthday cards for at least a month ahead to have any chance of sending them out on time!!

    My little girl is just going into year one and we’re starting some more after school activities this year. To help with that we’ve just got one of these https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/raskog-trolley-dark-blue-30401789/ … the idea is that we’ll have all her bags (swimming kit, etc) ready to go on a Sunday stored on here, then each night put the next day’s on the top shelf ready to go.

    I also like to make sure that all my daughter’s school uniform, and my outfits for the week are hung up ready.

    School admin is the bane of my life and I am one of the most organised people I know – I genuinely don’t know how people less organised than me manage it!! I have a stash of little dinner money envelopes so that I can get that ready on a Sunday too and leave it pegged on a noticeboard until the right day, although we’re thankfully mostly cashless now so everything is done online which is much easier!

    Everything in our house goes on our kitchen calendar – I also keep track of monthly jobs such as cleaning the dishwasher, and which bin goes out each Friday! I take a photo of it fairly regularly so that I can look at it while I’m out too!!

    My last tip for this time of year is The Organised Mum’s Organised Christmas which starts at the beginning of September – I know it’s VERY early, but it’s small things to think about each week, and the aim is to have everything ready by December 1st so that you’re not flapping about then and can enjoy the run up! I (mostly) stuck to it last year and it made a BIG difference!!!

    1. Oh Amy I hung on every word of this comment a bit too much! Ha!
      You sound like an organisational queen. Do you meal plan an entire month’s worth of food?! Doing one week at a time is a stretch for me. But I make myself do it because I know how much of a difference it makes.
      As for the TOMM Organised Christmas, last year was my first go at that too and I’m a total convert now. I will be definitely playing along again this year.

  4. This is a great post Naomi, thank you. I’m struggling with the juggle just now, kids and work always come top which means, hubby, the house and myself are way down the list but I think a wee hour on a Sunday morning to plan would be a great thing to do and might help redress the balance. I downloaded Todoist after your last organisational post but haven’t done anything with it yet so need to sort that out. I usually do my meal planning on a Sunday too so could incorporate it all into one session. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. Aw Laura! Glad this could be somewhat helpful for you. I think it’s about finding a routine that works for you but no matter what, being really adamant that you take the time each week to do it. It seems a bit like a luxury/chore (depending on how much you like planning) at first, but it def helps the rest of the week go smoother.

      As for Todoist, I use it as a bit of a catch-all when I’m on the go. If I spy that we need superglue to fix a toy, I throw it in the Todoist inbox there and then. Then on a Sunday I pop it into my ‘Errands’ list so that when I’m out and about I can have a glance at what errands I can complete. Because it’s guaranteed that my mind is only ever going to remember to buy superglue every time I see the broken toy, never when I’m in the adhesives aisle at B&Q 😂

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