Historically, planners have lured me in and then fell short. I would try to use them to get myself organized and stay on top of my schedule, but the format always felt forced. It didn’t work the way I needed it to work. So, a few months ago, I finally designed my own daily and weekly planning sheets. In developing these, I discovered that I needed a planner that was content-driven and task-driven instead of calendar-driven. I do have some appointments and meetings each week, but I don’t need a dedicated page with an hourly breakdown of each day. I also have to put my appointments and important due dates on my Outlook calendar, so I can set alarms and reminders. If things don’t ding, blink, and pop-up at me, I might forget them.
So, for my planning sheets, I just need an overview of my meetings and appointments… 10:00 with Heidi, 11:00 Mustard Seed Mentoring Session, 1:30 hair appt.
The most important thing for me to organize is my tasks and content, so I designed these sheets around that need.
And, oh my word…when I fill out those sheets, I am on fire. I slowly make progress on massive projects until they are finished. I am focused and productive. I feel accomplished at the end of my workday and can rest knowing I did what needed to be done. It seems that I have an endless supply of content ideas and potential projects to pull from to keep me creating. And, most importantly, learning and celebrating are a part of each day. I celebrate wins, reflect on lessons learned, and even have a box to write down my daily input – what I read or listened to. Something as simple as having a box to fill holds me accountable. Even if I only have 5 minutes to read an article, I’ll do it and put it in the box.
I’ve held onto these sheets and can look back over them to see how much I’ve accomplished and what I’ve learned. It’s been encouraging when I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. No, here is a written record of progress and growth.
Because I want the collection of sheets to feel more like a planner, I print the pages on a quality, natural-colored paper. I use Southworth Business Paper in Natural. I use rigid white post-it tabs to mark each Weekly Planning Sheet and then put five Daily Sheets behind each one. The tabs are repositionable and reusable, so I just move them around as I add new weekly planning sheets to the binder. I store it all in a nice, leather binder. THIS is the one I purchased from Etsy.
I’ve been using this planner system for several months and it’s the most organized and one-top-of-things I’ve been in my life!
While these are designed for someone running a creative business, they can be used by anyone! Jeff even adapted them a bit and he’s been using them, too. I beat out Franklin Covey in his book!
So, I’m sharing these Daily & Weekly Planning for free with my subscribers, so you can enter your e-mail below to get the download. If you’re already a subscriber, just enter your e-mail again to receive them. It won’t mess up your current subscription and you won’t get redundant e-mails from me.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to use both sheets…
How to use the Weekly Planning Sheets
I designed this Weekly Planning Sheet to, rather obviously, help me plan out my weeks.
It doesn’t matter what you do or where you are in your journey, having plans that are mapped out yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily are essential to progress. I have tried numerous different planners, but none of them suited my needs. I would have large, unused areas and I wouldn’t have enough space in other areas. So, I made my own and I have found this to be a very beneficial tool in planning out a productive and focused workweek.
- At the top, there is space for a word (or phrase) of the week. This could be a project you need to make a final push on or an aspirational word. It’s something you’re claiming as your overarching theme.
- Next, there are places to list objectives and content. Objectives are large tasks or projects that you’d like to work on or finish over the week. This isn’t a place for detailed tasks. The content section is to help you plan out the content you’re going to share on social media, your blog/website, or in a newsletter. I created five slots because there are five days in a workweek. The idea is to fill your time without overfilling it! If you need more space, then go into the notes section.
- The notes section is a free-for-all space to write tasks, themes, notes, thoughts, ideas, planning, etc.
- To the right of the notes section is a space to plan your focus for each day. Pull from your objectives and spread out tasks throughout the week.
- Lastly, there is a section for weekly input goals. This is where you put the books you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to, classes you want to take. This allows you to plan learning into your week.
I consider this worksheet a way to have a “stocked pantry” for productivity. That way, you’re not scrounging around, figuring out what you’re going to “make for dinner” each day. You not only have a daily plan that can be built off of this weekly plan, but you have daily plans to reference and pull from if you have extra time or need to shift gears when life happens.
How to use the Daily Planning Sheets
This tool has proven to be incredibly valuable to me as I plan out each of my days. It’s helped me focus on building time for quality input as a part of my work. It has made me more aware of the lessons I’m learning and all of my wins along the way. On top of that, it’s made me more strategic about using my work time, so it doesn’t spill over into my personal time.
Here is how to use it…
- The Daily Planning Sheet works with the Weekly Planning Sheet to break down tasks even further and to keep you and your ideas on track.
- Write the date at the top between the slashes (example 1-15-20). You don’t have to write the date, but these sheets will be a great tool to look back on to see your progress.
- At the top, left corner is “the big three” This is a box to put your most important three tasks for the day. Don’t try to squish 5-6 in there, you over-achievers! Sometimes you’ll be done with all three by 10:00 and then you can look to your weekly sheet to see what else you can accomplish or you can take the afternoon for some unhurried creative time or to run errands or go on a walk.
- In the daily input box, write down the podcasts you listened to, the book chapters you read, the classes you took (or reading this post!) Having a box where you enter your input holds you accountable to keep learning! Make sure this box has something in it every day, even if it was just reading a couple of pages or listening to a 5-minute pep-talk podcast.
- The notes section is there for you to use however you want! You can write in extra tasks beyond the “big three”. You can write your ideas or notes on the things you learned.
- The schedule at a glance box is where you can write appointments, meetings, calls, live videos you want to attend, etc.
- When you’re ready to end your workday, take 2-3 minutes to fill out your wins and lessons learned. Every day! You will love looking back at these pages to see your accomplishments, no matter how small, and what you learned each day. These do not have to be big and profound. Just write down one win and one lesson. (I once wrote that I learned not to send important e-mails after dark. I’m too tired to make my best decisions at that point and I need to wait, reread the draft e-mail, and send it in the morning if I still feel the same way!)
I hope these sheets help you be more intentional about your day and that you see the results as I have!