How to have a Functional Weekly Planning System in a Planner

Have you been struggling to have a proper planning system? Have you been doing daily planning but found that it is not working? I used to have these struggle as well. I thought that having daily plans are enough but I realise that I don’t have a broader view of my overall work tasks and personal tasks. So, I decided to have a weekly attack plan sessions, instead. This Attack Plan has provided me a functional weekly planning system that has increased my productivity.

What is Weekly Planning Sessions?

Weekly Plan sessions simple means creating an action plan by looking at your task list (e.g work tasks and personal to dos) and placing the tasks for the week in a specific day that you intend to do for that week. By doing this, you will be able to concentrate on important things that was planned, avoid missing deadlines, and also have a good time with your family and friends.

Daily tasks are included in the weekly calendar for functional weekly planning system
The daily tasks are already included in the weekly calendar in the Hobonichi Cousin planner

Hobonichi Cousin horizontal weekly spreads are perfect for this. I always plan my weeks by the hour on this layout and it is so easy for me to just take a look at how I have planned my day on that morning and proceed to write down my daily tasks in the daily pages.

What to refer when doing a Weekly Planning Session?

You need to refer to your monthly (paper planner) or digital calendars for appointments, review your previous week for any unfinished tasks, due dates and master to do list (please create one, if you don’t have any).

Digital Calendar for Appointments

I prefer to have my appointments set in a digital calendar but I do have them in my planner because I like to refer to my planner when I’m doing my monthly, weekly and daily planning. It stops me from getting distracted from all those notifications on my phone.

Many people use google calendar as it is available for free and almost everyone has Google account. I use my iPhone which syncs with my Google calendar and it is so easy for me to just refer to it when ever I want to set other appointments. The digital calendars complements very well with paper planner. For example, while attending a meeting, sometimes a follow-up meeting gets scheduled and I first write them down in the monthly calendar of my planner. Then, when I’m doing my weekly planning session, I will just use Siri to update my digital calendar to ensure that I will be reminded of the meeting.

set appointment on digital calendar to complement your paper planner

Unfinished Tasks

When you are checking for incomplete tasks, you will also be crossing off tasks that you have done but forgotten to update in your planner. This weekly review is important to ensure that you don’t miss any important or urgent tasks that needs attention.

Due Dates

I like to mark due dates in the monthly calendars as I can easily view and include be reminded of the tasks that is due that week. If I don’t do this, then there is potential for me to miss crucial deadlines which may cause my job. I have them marked with a red circle stickers for a visible identification of the due dates.

Master To do List

Let’s be honest here, our tasks are not going to end because we have our life, job, family and the list goes on. So, even our to do list is likely to grow longer as well. How do we ensure that these tasks are taken care of? Well, by having a master to do list of course. Stop taking down tasks on sticky notes but the best way is to have a permanent master list (own planner or Notion tool) that you can refer to regularly. This list is going to be your Holy Grail to create your functional weekly planning session. (Remember : Master List must be small tasks and not big tasks that can be categorised as Projects)

weekly functional planning on Hobonichi Cousin
Weekly Planning on my Hobonichi Cousin Planner

What to include to ensure that the weekly planning is functional?

Deep Work Session

If you want to complete important tasks without disruption, then please include deep work session in your weekly schedule. I know that morning is my productive time of the day, so I always add deep work session between 10am to 12pm. To avoid any type of distraction, I set my phone in air plane mode. Then, I use an app called EMPHASIS to help me to stay focus for 25 minutes and 5 minutes break. This is called the Pomodoro technique and this has helped me a lot in my addiction to check on my phone every time I feel bored. With this app, I will not bother to check on anything else until my focus time is up.

In the beginning, I did struggle to stay focus but after a couple of days, I can concentrate in my work and able to complete my tasks efficiently.

Checking Email

I include checking email at a specific time in a day. I don’t check my email constantly because it can disrupt concentration during an important work. Some productivity books have advised against checking emails the first thing in the morning, but I like to do that because I need to know of any important tasks that needs to be taken care off urgently. I am sure, I am not alone in this.

I like to check my emails once in the morning at 9am by scrolling through the list of incoming emails and I will pick the important ones to work on, if necessary. Then, I set another email checks at 4.30pm. I set between 30 minutes to 1 hour for each email session.

Other things

Next you need to take into consideration other things as well, such as time to work on your own goals, meal planning, grocery lists, cleaning chores and etc. By paying attention on each categories of your life on a weekly basis, you will get to accomplish a lot more and have productive week.

Best time to do Functional Weekly Planning

End of the week or Sunday afternoon is perfect to do weekly planning session. Ideally, I like to do it on Sunday because that is the most laid back time that I have and I get to review my last week and start planning following week fresh

You can also do it on Friday, if you don’t want your weekends to be disturbed. It is entirely up to you!!

Best Planners for Weekly Planning

I have curated some of the best planners out there that can help you to do a weekly planning:

Final Say

I hope this guide on how to have a functional weekly planning helps you to create an efficient and productive weekend. This system has provided me great daily routines and awesome weekly accomplishments. I am able to carve time to work on my passion because of the time management skills that I acquire through the weekly planning process and I hope it provides you with the same benefit.

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