Weekly inserts have always been central to my planning system. I’ve tried daily planning for a while particularly, when things get hectic. Eventually, I always revert to weekly planning.
Why weekly planning?
It feels like just enough
I like looking at the week as a self-contained unit. To me, it’s long enough to get certain things accomplished and short enough that it’s not long range planning.
Better control over your schedule
In terms of a schedule, I like knowing where I need to be throughout the week. It’s rare that you don’t need to prepare for events. By looking at my events for the week, I know what I need to do today to plan for my meeting tomorrow.
Carrying items over
No matter how well we plan, you’re bound to miss doing a few things today. So tomorrow, you will carry over these items for the day.
Now, I know carrying over items can sometimes bring focus to your planning. If you keep carrying over an item, you realize at some point that may be you should drop it permanently. Or sometimes, you realize how important it is and you decide that you should do it first thing today.
But when you’re super busy or on the move, sitting and carrying over items each day can be tedious. With a weekly plan, all you need to do is look over at the previous day.
So is daily planning out?
Not at all.
Daily planning can be particularly helpful when you need a lot of structure in your day. Last year, I tried it for a while and it worked really well. I felt so much more in control of my day.
I was working on my business but the market was slow and I had a lot of extra time to work on other things.
When I used a Filofax Personal, I used to put in a page between my week for extra daily items. Post-it’s also work really well.
If you can keep up with it, a weekly and daily section in your planner could be the ideal combination.
But, habit is a funny thing.
It’s really hard to change something you’ve been used to for the last 20 years.
So, I went back to the weekly insert. But I’d gotten so used to the extra space with daily planning that I started to feel constrained in the smaller size. I picked out a larger weekly planner and that seems to be the solution that’s working, at least for now.
I was pleased to see that Stephen R. Covey is a proponent of the weekly plan. I’m halfway through the book – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 3 talks extensively about how the weekly plan is the perfect unit and is considered fourth generation time management.
“Organizing on a weekly basis provides much greater balance and context that daily planning. There seems to be implicit cultural recognition of the week as a single, complete unit of time. …. Most people think in terms of weeks. … The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. And this can best be done in the context of the week.” – Stephen R. Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People