The Weekly Momentum Planner is a planner that places the primary focus on the projects you need to do this week, rather than on the time you have to do those projects in. It’s great when you have a lot of autonomy about when and how you do the work, but still have a lot of projects to do.
The most up-to-date version of the planner is inside the Momentum app — try it now with a 30-day free trial. Or you can always download one of our free PDF planner pages here. Our other free worksheets are now over in the Content Library in our free Mighty Networks community.
The Big Idea
Many creative people have a different orientation to time and work than other people do. We work from all over the place and often blur the lines between at-work and not-at-work. On the other hand, there’s a lot of pressure to get projects done, week by week.
Time is usually not the primary consideration – the work to be done is.
It’s really easy for us to overestimate how much we can get done in a week, especially when we’re continually juggling multiple projects. Because individual projects take longer than estimated and we’ve agreed to multiple projects, we end up with three options:
- Stack projects (thus working longer hours).
- Renegotiate deadlines for agreed-to projects (a Band-Aid, at best, that still drains credibility).
- Drop agreed-to projects, either intentionally or unintentionally.
None of these options are particularly appealing.
So the idea behind this particular planner is to get all of your projects in the same space. If you can see what you’re doing and what you’ve committed to, you have a better chance of working with a clear head and being able to commit with confidence. Knowing that you’ll be able to complete your current and proposed commitments, you can complete your projects with the clarity that you’re working on what you should be working on.
You’ll notice that this form is about constraints. If you’re juggling more than five projects at a time, you’re doing a lot of shuffling. If you’re planning to work on five decent-sized deliverables or projects during a single day, you’re probably planning too much. Hopefully, the physical constraints of the planner help you gain the focus you need to do your best work.
Take a second to envision what it’d be like to actually complete your projects with less stress rather than always working under the gun of a deadline and the stress of juggling too much at once – I hope this planner helps you get there.
How to Use This Planner
This planner serves as your weekly dashboard. Use it when you’re planning your week and review it throughout to make changes as needed.
Start with the left side of the planner first, as it’s mostly about your constraints.
This Month’s Projects
Here is where you will look at the bigger picture to see what projects you’d like to complete this month. If you’re also using the Quarterly Momentum Planner, you can simply transfer your Monthly Objectives from there to here.
This Week’s Projects
This Week’s Projects are simply the projects you’re working on this week. Yes, there are only five spots available – this is intentional. Use the short name for your project, since you’re probably using it with yourself anyway. Also, use the number (1–5) of the project as a reference throughout the planner.
If you’ve completed your Monthly Momentum Planner, your active projects here are, hopefully, the same ones on your Monthly Momentum Planner. If they’re not, then remember, if you’re planning effectively, you’ll always be changing your plans.
If you’re scheduled to be somewhere for a day, that’s time you can’t use. So mark down your scheduled events before you think about when you’ll be working.
The purpose of this section is to organize the things that are coming up for the week that you need to focus on. These are generally commitments you’ve made with your clients and what you’re used to working against. Remember: the sooner you complete the project, the sooner you can focus on something else.
Note: Think long and hard about whether you want to have multiple deadlines on one day. Stagger them if at all possible and save yourself the stress of it all.
Now that you have the left column filled out, you should have a pretty good snapshot of when you should be working on what. Be mindful of how much time you’re planning on working on a deliverable and how much time you’re actually working on that deliverable. Notice trends so that you can better plan in the future.
Though I recognize that you may need every row on every line, don’t feel like you have to have something on every line. I would err on the side of under-committing rather than overcommitting until you have a good feel for how long you’re actually working on your projects. Lastly, be sure that you are practicing the 5 essential skills to do your best planning. Want more? Check out the Monthly and Daily Momentum Planners.
Ooooo! I can’t wait to give this one a whirl!
Thank you so much. 🙂
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Lisa Wood says
Charlie, I LOVE this! I consider myself a pretty organized person, but I’ve been having trouble keeping track of everything so I can stay focused.
I stumbled on this in my very neglected feed reader today and I’m really glad you put it together – thank you.
Can’t wait to see the companion planner 🙂
Ali Hale says
Charlie, thanks for putting this together! I’ve looked at your productivity planners before, but as a freelancer, I tend to have a task not time focused approach. This looks like just the sort of thing I need … will give it a whirl next week! 🙂
Hi Charlie, as I’ve mentioned before your weekly and daily planners have done amazing things for my productivity and peace of mind. The two work really well together.
Do you see this freelancer planner as taking the place of the weekly planner? Or both the weekly and daily planner?
@Andrea: Great! I look forward to your feedback!
@Lisa: Hopefully I can get the companion out by March 1st. It’s already drafted – but the devil is in the details.
@Ali: I was hoping someone would say that, as that’s exactly what I designed them for. Let me know what you think!
@Rebecca: Tough question. If you’ve already got something that is working for you, there’s probably no reason to change it. However, if the time-based focus is not helping, then maybe a task-based one will. So, looking at them as companion pieces, you’ll probably want to use either the Productivity Planner series or the Productive Freelancer series.
I appreciate you reminding me that you like the Productivity Planner series, too.
I like the look of this and will be testing it out. I can’t wait to see the individual project planners either.
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This is pretty cool ! I love the template !!
1 suggestion for improvement (or should I say enhancement, since the template is already very well done ?).
Can you post a sample filled out calendar for a week, so people can look at it and quickly get a visual cue on how to fill it up for maximum productivity ?
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@Shiva: I’ll take a look at that. Thanks for the suggestion.
Janet Bailey says
Here’s the biggest thing I’m taking from this today: “think long and hard about whether you want to have multiple deadlines *or milestones* on one day. Stagger them”
I usually manage to stagger deadlines. Haven’t been doing it with milestones. Aha! Need to take that seriously.
OMG! I don’t remember how I found your website and your absolutely AWESOME tools…but THANK YOU!
As a freelance writer/educator and blogger who works from home, your planning tools will CHANGE MY WORKDAY and my WORKLIFE!
It is so true that we work differently and I was SO feeling guilty about not keeping “9-5” hours…especially since I have clients around the world in multiple timezones!
Freelancers and creative people ARE (for the most part) project-driven, not time-driven, and although we have milestones and deadlines to meet, other than that, it doesn’t matter when we work as long as the work gets done!
How many ways can I say “Thank you” for these planners?
Now, can I get refunds on all of those “regular” planners I’ve bought recently?
I love this format! Did you ever finalize the the companion planner for project management?
This is really great. Thank you!
I really like the idea. I really like that you’ve designed an organized that is oriented around deliverables and constraints. That is exactly how I think, even though I’m not a freelancer, but it never occurred to me to design such a planner.
I haven’t tried using the planner yet, but when I do I’ll give you some feedback.
Did you complete the companion planner where the greater detail would be placed?
Thanks so much for this planner. Did you ever finish and publish the companion planner – the one that “covers the detailed information from individual projects” :-)? Thanks much again!
Hi karen! We’re actually working on this one now. It was one of the items we discussed at our team retreat a few weeks ago. It’ll probably be out in a month or two.
Stephen P Smith says
Good morning Charlie! I have actually bee using this and versions of your Daily/Weekly/Monthly planners off and on for years. For a while I used them for my F&B Leadership Team at the hotel where I managed the food service ops (Def not 9 to 5!!). But we fell off the wagon, so to speak because it was so rare for all of us to be there at the same time. So I moved to a Kanban system with a bulletin board and index cards. This worked well.
Now I am back home freelancing and I had forgotten all about these until I got your email in my feeds on the first. Thanks for reminding me about them! I have shared them on every network that I have and started using them again to get my act together.
I have a love affair with pencil-and-paper planning, but I have a vision in my mind of a digital version of these with expanding boxes and hyperlinking tags and fields that auto-propagate…
This is amazing – exactly what I’ve always needed! Thanks!