My Weekly Planning Routine for Maximum Fulfilment and Productivity
We all have different approaches to planning out our lives. Some of us prefer to go with the flow and take things as they come. Others need everything clearly mapped out, broken down into steps and checked off periodically. I would fall into the latter. But even within the planning group, one size does not fit all.
Over the years, I’ve tried and tested various planning approaches. Bullet journalling, digital calendar scheduling, running to-do list making: each approach has its merits. Today, I’m sharing my current planning routine for 2020.
It’s not a complete planning guide by any means — those are coming soon! I simply love to follow along with other people’s planning process, and watch plan-with-me style videos. So here’s my process!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.
Keeping things simple
Generally, I have one rule when it comes to planning: keep it simple. I’ve simplified my process quite a bit this year (though this will obviously depend on your definition of simple).
For the past three years, I’ve used my trusty Leuchtturm bullet journal. If you don’t know what bullet journalling is, I’d recommend you check out Ryder Caroll’s explainer video. He’s the founder of the bullet journal method, and definitely a master of keeping things in order.
Over the past few years, bullet journalling has evolved into a creative hobby that encourages millions of people around the world to doodle and chart their way to personal organisation. The most prominent bullet journaller on YouTube is Amanda Rach Lee. If you have even the slightest interest in bullet journalling, I’d encourage you to have a peek at her spreads.
Bullet journalling has worked wonders for me over the years. It’s made me more organised, more productive, more in the mood to get shit done. It’s offered me a creative outlet and reduced all the mind clutter I had before. Finally, I had one place to put all my plans, appointments, tasks and trackers. With the end of each month, I looked forward to choosing a new theme for my spreads.
So why did I decide to give up my bullet journal this year?
A change in process
About halfway through 2019, I realised I was leaving most of my journal spreads empty. I still enjoyed creating them, but I no longer found the time or energy to actually fill them in every day. I was in a slump — with journalling and with life in general. (I’ve talked about the slump on the blog before, so I won’t ramble on about it now!)
I realised I just didn’t gravitate toward my bullet journal anymore. It had been with me for 3 years, and I needed a change.
That said, I still needed a place to plan my weeks. Something easy, intuitive, ready to go when I needed it. So I decided to search high and low for the perfect planner to suit my needs.
Something simple. When it comes to planning, I hate to overcomplicate things. I needed a planner with simple layouts to plan my months and weeks.
Some blank space. I’ve been spoiled over the years with my bullet journal. I’ve filled pages and pages with habit checklists, budget plans and spending trackers. I knew the freedom and flexibility of a bullet journal was the feature I’d miss the most.
Something customisable. I’m not a big fan of decor in planners — doodles aren’t generally my thing. I was looking for a planner that looked clean and minimal but could be jazzed up every month with the colours I enjoyed the most.
So with those in mind, I started looking for my perfect planner.
My 2020 Planner
After some research, I found my winner! A new kid on the block, stationery brand Papier specialise in personalised notebooks, diaries and calendars — among other things! As soon as I came across their website, I knew I wanted to get my hands on one of their notebooks. They have the most beautiful patterns and every colour you could possibly imagine. They also collaborate with talented artists and designers. So, by buying one of their notebooks helps support both a startup brand and independent artists!
The lovely team over at Papier kindly gifted me my 2020 diary and a 2020 bullet notebook that I’m going to set up soon for business planning. I’m not going to lie, it took me two full days to choose the designs. I’m so pleased with how they turned out! Honestly, few things make me feel more like a boss than having a custom made piece of stationery. And for the record, the paper quality is amazing — opening up my notebooks is one of the simple luxuries of my day.
If you’re looking to pick up a notebook or a planner from Papier, you can use this link for £10 off your first order!
this Papier 2020 Diary was kindly gifted to me — use my link to get £10 off your first order
Each month, I set up my planner. While the process is very slimmed down now that I don’t map out a whole new spread, it’s still important for me to take time out to reflect and set my intentions for the month ahead.
First, I fill in my monthly calendar. I also try to add a pop of colour here and there — whatever colour feels right in that moment! At the side there’s a column where I list things I want to see and do that month. I also like to choose a general theme or focus for any given month. In January, this was the theme of fresh starts — as you may have already guessed!
Then, I go to the monthly goals page. This is a really handy spread for all the things you don’t want to forget during the month. It has spaces to write down your monthly goals, to-do list, wish list and important dates. I love seeing it all laid out in front of me every month — makes it really difficult to forget anything!
I also like to sketch out an expense tracker on the opposite page. While my Revolut account tracks and analyses most of my expenses anyway, I do enjoy the commitment and clarity of writing all my expenses out on paper. I’ve been in the habit of it for three years!
Once these three things are filled out, I’m ready to start planning week by week.
this Papier 2020 Diary was kindly gifted to me — use my link to get £10 off your first order
One of the main reasons I chose the Papier planner was how similar the weekly spreads looked to my own bullet journal weeklies. I’m probably in the minority of bullet journallers who don’t enjoy a vertical spread. (Though if you do like planning your days out vertically, Leuchtturm has a fantastic weekly planner!) I prefer my days laid out all the way across the page, with lots of space for notes, bullet points and my big handwriting. One thing missing is space for weekly notes — but truth be told, the monthly page fills that void!
Every week, I like to decide on a focus point. This can be a goal I want to achieve, or a mantra I want to repeat to myself that week. It keeps me focused on one important thing instead of dozens of scattered plans and ideas. Sometimes I write it at the top of the weekly spread to remind myself of it.
I also like to add a bit of colour to the weekly spreads, for just a bit of personality. I like clean and minimal spreads with a pop of colour and maybe a pretty heading. I’m not the best at calligraphy, but it’s definitely something I want to learn! If it’s something you want to learn as well, I’d recommend taking a Skillshare class online!
Then, all that’s left is to plot out my days and add bullet points of tasks, events and reminders. It couldn’t be more simple, and it makes me feel prepared and ready for everything that comes my way. Whenever I don’t plan my weeks out, I feel lost and chaotic, with a million things floating around in my head. This way, everything stays in place, and I can refer back to it every day and keep it updated.
Each day, I update any new tasks and appointments that have come my way. I refer back to my weekly focus point. I track my daily expenses and have a look through my monthly goals while I’m at it. Then, I flip all the way to the back of my journal. And this is where the Papier planner really stands out to me.
At the back of the planner, there are over 30 blank pages that can be used for anything you need. When I was switching over from a bullet journal, this really sold me over. If I didn’t have blank pages, where would I put my habit trackers, my goal planning spreads, my reading lists? Thankfully, this planner had a solution for that.
At the beginning of the year, I set up a few core spreads for the year:
A 2020 Reading List to track the books I read every month.
A workout tracker to note down every time I hit the gym this year (it’s shamefully empty at the moment, but I’m staying positive!)
A yearly habit tracker where I check off every habit I’ve completed every day. This clearly shows me what’s going well, and any areas where I can improve. I track things like reading, writing, language learning, and exercise. Super helpful if you want to get better at a particular healthy habit or learn a new skill this year!
A long term goal tracker. This shows me what big goals I’m planning to achieve this year, why I want to achieve them, and the steps I need to take. Visit my 2020 goals post to get your free printable goal planning sheet!
Taking a glance at these every week helps me stay organised and on top of long and short term goals.
How do you plan your weeks?
So that’s it for my weekly planning routine! It’s actually really simple. Every element of my planning process is a long ingrained habit of mine. In fact, the Papier planner I’m using this year has made an almost seamless transition from my bullet journal. While I still love the freedom and flexibility of a bullet journal, having ready-made spreads really speeds things up for me every Sunday! Maybe next year I’ll pick up one of their gorgeous bullet journals instead!
How does your planning process look? Do you stick with day to day planning, or do you track things long term like I do? Are you attached to your Google Calendar, or are you a paper person? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Instagram — I’d love to hear about your process! And remember — you can get £10 off your first Papier order with my link!
While you’re here, why not find out what app you should download, according to your goal for this year?
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