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The Weekly Action Planner
Editor's note: The up-to-date versions of all of our planners are available on the Free Planners page.
The Weekly Action Planner is a great aid to use to in conjunction with the Daily Action Planner. The main focus of the Weekly Action Planner is to give you a place to dump all the projects you're working on for the week, as well as the events your scheduled to be. It also has some ample places for you to keep track of what you're doing - we all love checking done boxes, right?
How to Use the Weekly Action Planner
Start by circling the week in the monthly calendar and by filling in your events for the week so you have a good idea of what you're looking at event-wise. Appointments count, as does anything that's going to block when you might be able to work.
Now start listing your projects without worrying about when you need to do them. The point is to get it out of your head as quickly as possible.
I know that looks like a lot of lines, but it's 32 projects, which really amounts to 4 a day with some change leftover. I figure most people will plan 5 a day for their workdays, but really, if you need more lines than this, you've either got way too much going on or you're making your projects too detailed from a weekly perspective.
After you've listed them all out, fill in the due dates for the projects that have them. It doesn't matter whether it's an external due date, i.e. your boss saying get it done by Friday, or internal due date, i.e. your goal is to have it completed by Friday.
Now we're at the fun part. Start scheduling when you want to work on the projects. If a project has a due date, consider whether you want to just do it on that day or whether you want to work on it a few days in advance of its due date. You know yourself and your projects better than I do, but if you're going to cram a big project in one day, I recommend you don't have any other projects planned for that day. That is, unless you like being a stress-out train-wreck for the day.
Another thing to consider: If you have an all-day event, don't schedule projects that you can't do while at that event! All too often, people forget that an all or half-day event prevents them from getting other projects done, and they'll plan away a full day anyway. The result: frustration, rescheduling, late nights, self-medication, etc.
A way you might want to account for events is to line through the Project Slots for that day. If it's an all-day event where you'll be occupied and unable to complete any projects (death by PowerPoint, maybe?), cross out the whole day. If it's a half-day event, cross out two or three blocks. If it's only an hour or so, cross out one - even that one hour will limit your productivity, as you'll be planning around it anyway.
As you schedule a project in, mark a box off on the day(s) you scheduled the project. So, if it's scheduled for Tuesday and Friday, that's one slot apiece that comes off of Tuesday and Friday.
The key thing is to remember how you work - if you work intensely Monday and Tuesday but need a slower day on Wednesday, load up Monday and Tuesday with your projects that require more productive energy and keep Wednesday with fewer projects and/or ones that don't require all you've got to complete.
Additionally, if the weekends are especially creative days for you, load up your creative projects for the weekend and use the rest of the week to get done all of the other projects so you can play all you want during the weekend.
You can use the "Completed Tasks" blocks daily or as part of your weekly review. It's just there to give you a rough view of the your productivity.
Using the Weekly Productivity Planner hopefully won't take any longer than 30 minutes. But completing it makes using the Daily Action Planner a breeze.