You have a planner but are still struggling to get stuff done. Start using these 5 weekly planning techniques to improve your productivity and use your bullet journal or planner more efficiently.
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So, you have a bullet journal (or a planner) and you’re ready to kick ass and take names. You’re finally going to clean out the garage, go through the kids’ toys, file all that old paperwork, and get organized. You’ve been writing down task lists for over a week. The garage is still a mess. All those toys are still shoved under the bed. What happened?
Almost anyone who has had a planner has experienced the disappointment when they’ve worked so hard to be more organized and still nothing gets done. It happens to me occasionally, too.
Just because you write down the task, doesn’t guarantee it will get completed. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on planning altogether. In this post, I’m going to show you five effective weekly planning techniques to get more done and be more productive.
5 Weekly Planning Techniques to Be More Productive
Don’t throw out your planner or bullet journal just yet. Sometimes you just need to try planning from a different angle to see progress. Follow these 5 weekly planning techniques to see improvement in your productivity and get more done throughout the week.
Limit Your Daily Tasks
It’s not unusual to see someone’s daily planner with 20+ tasks. These often range from very small tasks like “feed the dog” to more demanding tasks, such as “mow and rake the yard”.
While it may seem counterproductive, limiting your daily tasks can help you get more accomplished. By putting a limit on your to-do list, you are forced to decide which tasks are most important. This weekly planning technique can also help limit stress and disappointment if you typically don’t complete your entire list.
Prioritize Your Tasks
One of my favorite ways to write out my to-do list in my bullet journal is to put categorize them by priority. I section off a place for high priority tasks, medium priority tasks, and low priority tasks.
This method helps you see which tasks are most important and need to be accomplished first. I highly recommend doing these tasks as soon as you can to get them out of the way early on. It will also keep you from running out of time to do them at the end of the day. These tasks are of high importance and may have a strict deadline.
As for your medium and low priority tasks, they come after the high priority. These are often smaller and can be done a little quicker. The tasks that fall into these categories can be put off if needed, meaning they don’t have a strict deadline. If you don’t complete the tasks from these categories, you can migrate them to the next day and add them to the high priority category if needed.
Have a Set Planning Time
Having a set planning time will help you stay consistent with your planning and encourage you to get more done. This time is completely individual based on what your day allows.
For me, I typically do all of my planning the night before. My kids are in bed, I can fill out my habit tracker for the day, etc. It’s a good time for me and writing out my plan for the following day helps me sleep better knowing that I have everything written down.
However, you may find that morning is the best time for you to plan your day. The big idea is to find a time that works for you and that you can be consistent with.
Have a Master Task List
Having a master task list has been a game changer for me. This is where I write down all of the tasks that I have previously migrated 2-3 times and still haven’t completed. They are often larger, more time-consuming tasks that are important but don’t have a deadline in the near future.
Instead of continuing to migrate a task from week to week, adding it the master task list ensures that it’s still there and needs to be done, but that it’s not making you feel disappointed after adding it to your weekly list and not getting it done time and time again.
This has worked wonders for me. You do want to mark your master task list so you can easily flip to it for a reminder of things you need to get done. I usually try to do these tasks when I have a slow work week or know that I will have some extra time.
Plus it’s very rewarding when you finally get to mark these tasks off. Because they’ve been in your planner or bullet journal for so long, when you do complete them, the feeling of accomplishment is much greater than those of your daily to-do lists.
Differentiate Planning Time and Creative Time
When I finally figured out that my planning time had to be completely dedicated to planning and organization, it changed my world. If you tend to sit down to plan out your day and then five minutes later can be found doodling on the next page of your bullet journal, this planning tip applies to you.
Creativity is wonderful. Doodling and lettering is something to celebrate and enjoy. But, it’s not to be mistaken for planning. Planning time should be just that. Eliminate all other distractions that may deter you.
For the longest time, I would write out one or two tasks and then have a page idea pop into my brain, flip the page and start doodling. Ultimately, this led to an incomplete task list, being less productive with my day because I lacked direction, and then frustration for being underproductive.
Instead, now I have a 30-minute window for planning only. If I don’t use the whole time, that’s okay. But I tell myself that I have to get my day entirely planned out, my habit tracker filled in, and my journaling done before I can doodle. And that one simple change has increased my productivity throughout the day.
What weekly planning techniques do you use to be the most productive? Share with me in the comments below.