There are so many different ways to schedule your days and no one can tell you which is the best. I would like to share my planning routines, because I feel that they work very good for me. Maybe you would be interested to try the same methods for yourself.
I have 3 kinds of planning sessions: monthly, weekly and daily.
Monthly planning session
At the beginning of each month, I try to think of my goals for the upcoming month. I write them down to remember. I use monthly spread pages for monthly planning. I like to write down that month’s birthdays of my family members and best friends who I would like to congratulate on that special day, as well as concerts, special days, holidays, trips and any other important things that I know in advance.
Weekly planning session
I find that starting a week with planning is very relaxing. The best time to do this is at the end of one week or at the beginning of a new one. In Dubai, the weekend is Friday and Saturday, and Sunday is the start of the week, so I usually prepare for my new week on Saturday night or Sunday morning. I find that doing this at the same time every week makes planning a ritual. I put some relaxing music on, make a cup of tea, or a smoothie and plan my week. This ritual makes planning something I look forward to.
I always check my monthly calendar before starting my weekly planning and transfer all my plans to the weekly spreadsheet for a particular day. I plan my days having everything I need to do and everything I want to do during that week in my mind.
As I have mentioned in my previous post, I do not like planners with breakdown of the day by time. I prefer vertical layout where the day is divided into sections so I can keep different types of obligations separate. My every day, except weekend days, is divided into blog, meetings, school, To-Do list and meal planning sections. I use stickers for this.
I usually start with the school section. I read the school’s latest newsletter and write down all the important days to remember, like project due dates, celebrations, dress-up days, field trips, meetings or other important information into my planner section “school”. I know that I cannot skip this, so I start with it.
Another important part that usually goes to my To-Do list is everything that is really important, like payments, preparation of special documents, important appointments. You need to do them and you need to do them at a particular time, otherwise it might be too late, so it is better to plan these in the beginning.
Then starts the fun part – things I want to do. My blog is one of the things that makes me happy, and I really enjoy writing for my blog. This is why I plan this as a fun part of my day. When I plan time for my blog, I try to ask myself these questions: what I would like to write about, on which days I would be able to write, on which days I would be able to make some photos, when to post something on social media. I like to spread a bit of it for every working day. This way I feel I am really into it, but I have time for other things as well. I do the same with other hobbies like playing the piano, cooking, reading. I try to think, which days of the week would be the best to do something that makes me happy and would be easier to incorporate to the daily routines and then I enter these activities into my To-Do list of that day.
I like to incorporate some beauty routines into the plan of the week as well. How many of us use an old and boring excuse “I have no time” if you speak about beauty rituals with your friends? How that big beauty industry survives if no one has time for beauty routines? Because we buy beauty products, and we buy a lot, but we forget that we have them and all these hair masks, face masks, and massaging tools, and serums just sit and wait for us, and after some time finish their life in a trash bin as something we never use. This is why we need to plan every application of facial or hair mask, every face massage session. This is the only way to find, hiding somewhere, the time we think we do not have. Maybe your husband is going to travel that week or is going to have a late business dinner one evening? Plan as many beauty routines for that night as you can. If no, just pick one of the evenings from that week and let it be your beauty night. Believe me, your husband will not be lost for one evening with the question what shall I do alone.
Then comes the time for my meal plan. I started introducing meal planning to our family around one year ago. I can admit, it is quite hard to force yourself to plan your meals for a week, and sometimes, being a bit lazy to think and to review my recipe books, I skip it. But every time I make meal planning, I am convinced that I save time and money and I can really recommend it. I review the content of my fridge and pantry, think of what we did not have for dinner for a long time, check my recipe books, favorite cooking vlogs and blogs and make a plan for every dinner of that week. Then I do To-Buy-Shopping list and plan which days it would be better to go shopping during that week. I try to plan the main course for my kids’ school lunch in advance for a school week as well. Sometimes I plan to use leftovers from previous dinners or to make a new dish from scratch.
Daily planning sessions
Every morning after the school run, I take my planner and dedicate some time to review what I have already planned for this new day until now and to check my monthly calendar to make sure I did not miss something on that day. Then I think of my To-Do list incorporating all the chores I need to accomplish. During the day I try to tick everything that I have already made and to add new appointments or other plans that I made on the go.
I try to keep my planner somewhere around me during the day that I could use it as a tool to keep track of some health related issues. I like to record every glass of water that I drank. This way I see how much water I consume during the day. I really have a problem with forgetting to drink water and this quickly reminds me to drink more.
I also like to keep track of my workout times. After each workout, I record the time spent. This way I know how much exactly I spent on sports, and I have no illusions that I do sports if in fact I do not. This keeps me a little bit more motivated.
At the end of each day, I review my day’s plan again, tick everything I have managed to accomplish and plan when I could do the things that I was not able to do today.
I hope that you will find my planning routines helpful and inspiring. Planning gives you an opportunity to connect your dreams and desires to the actions that you actually take on a daily basis, helping to shape yourself. So let’s plan!