How to simplify your week planning and focus on what matters

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Do you feel frustrated about not getting everything done in a week? Do you get lost or overwhelmed by all details when planning your week? Do you feel planning your days is not enough? Do you feel you do a lot of things, but don’t see real results at the end of the week? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you are in the right place. Here I share how I adapt Stephen Covey’s weekly planning system from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

* This post contains affiliate links. You will never find links to a product or service that I don’t trust.

We waste time doing things that are not important when we should be doing what leads us to create the life we truly love. You may be asking “Shouldn’t I love the life I live right now?” My answer is YES! And that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Stephen Covey’s methodology is all about living by our values and mission. It is about being true to oneself. There is not another way to love the life you live if you’re not living by your values. He recommends we have our values and mission statement written down. Don’t feel sad if you don’t have a mission statement yet, you still can use the tips I share here to plan your week towards what matters most to you. I promise you will have your mission statement soon if you start planning your week following these steps.

>> Psssst. If you don’t know what a mission statement is, I suggest you read Kara’s post over Boho Berry for step by step instructions with printables included.

I am a creative person who has lots of ideas all the time, I daydream very often and I want to jump in every new project, challenge or activity in the digital communities. Can any creative out there relate? After reading Covey’s book I was able to understand when I find a new project that interests me, I need to take a moment to reflect on it and see if it resonates with my values and mission and if it will lead me to create the life I truly love.

Being a bullet journaler is a tricky position because we can get frustrated about not being able to follow all the ideas that pop up every new day in the bullet journal community and we start comparing our system to others. And I’ve been there, as you can read here where I shared my journey as a bullet journaler. However, it’s important to understand your own reasons for doing what you do, this is the easier way to get to your values.

STEP 1. Find your values and set your mission statement

Finding your values is a matter of paying attention to yourself. Remember they are not set in stone and you don’t need to have the perfect values, they need to be YOUR values. You can get to them by looking at yourself and your attitudes. Your values are in your life, right in front of you, all you have to do is to see them. Here are some of the things you can pay attention to:

  • What you most value in people.
  • What the most important thing in a relationship is.
  • What kind of attitude you repeat to your children every day.
  • What kind of attitude you expect from your children/partner.

You don’t need to have a long list of values. Besides that, our values may change while we grow up because our priorities also change. Take me as an example, I have only three values written down right now. I consider them my core values and I live by them.

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I haven’t entirely figured out my mission statement yet, but I already have clarity about some parts of the life I truly love and that’s what I’m following now. So, the mission statement I currently have written is based on what I aspire to live blended with my core values.

STEP 2. Identify the roles we play in life

In Covey’s system we also have to identify the roles we play in life, so we can find balance when choosing what we are going to spend our energy and time on. This is very personal, so you can have your roles listed like this:

  • woman
  • mother
  • wife
  • daughter/sister
  • friend
  • professional position
  • student
  • giver

Or you can merge roles and divide other in sub-roles like this:

  • mother/wife
  • daughter/sister
  • friend
  • professional position – manager
  • professional position – seller
  • student
  • citizen

As I said, it’s very personal. These are only examples to get you started. What I try to do when I’m planning my month and week is to think of the roles I want to focus on because it’s impossible to focus on all the roles every single week. Here are the roles I’m currently prioritizing.

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Part of planning the week is choosing up to three goals you want to accomplish in each role, they will help you narrow your tasks to what is really important to you.

Simplifying is the key for a creative mind

After feeling a bit overwhelmed and finding out that some planner hacks didn’t fit my every day, this month I decided to simplify. That means I’m looking for what works and supports me to be more productive in creating the life I truly love. Covey’s system is a little bit more detailed than what I’m doing. This is because I’m looking for simplicity now. In the future, hI can take the next step and evolve into the system when I’m ready to.

Some months ago, I spent a lot of time setting very complex systems to figure out they didn’t fit my style or my day. I don’t regret all the time spent; it was not wasted since I learned from it. I understand what works best for me now and that’s perfect. When I started bullet journaling, I needed to learn what worked for me all over again. Since it’s so flexible and gives room for creativity, sometimes I spent too much time on making it look pretty.  Now I’m in the stage of finding balance between what is productive and yet pleasant for my eyes. We creative ladies don’t want to be just productive, right?

I like to think of my bullet journal as a car that I’m driving to get to my destination. So, I have to make it as light as I can so it runs fast and functional towards my goals. Sometimes I try accessories or attaching a trailer and then I have to experiment and see how they work – are they slowing me down? Do they make sense? Are they carrying important things?

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As you can see, my weekly planning didn’t change very much along the months, I only added more details which I’m getting rid of from now on. There is only one thing that I’ve been struggling with – habits and daily tasks tracker. I tried monthly and weekly and it didn’t work so I’m letting go of the tracker. There are habits that I have already built and I don’t need tracking, they are automatic. There are other habits I want to create, so I’ll leave room to create a system as the week unfolds.

Step 3. Set the week

After checking my values, mission statements and choosing the goals I want to accomplish in each role I play, it’s time to set the week. I start by adding my appointments and work deadlines. It’s easier for me to look at the week instead of a full month calendar, so I copy the appointments from the monthly set up. I also copy the tasks assigned to this week. Then, I write the habits I’m currently working on or that I want to start working on.

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Next step is to look at the previous week pages and see if there are tasks I didn’t do or finish and need to migrate. Besides that, I also take a look at the previous brain dump page to see if there’s anything I can tackle this week and I add to the find time to section. They are important tasks and it is good to have them written down as a reminder.

I leave a blank page for random notes, notes to self and anything that happens during the week and that I think is worth working on in the future.

How my mission and values influence my planning

My values and mission are always present when I’m making decisions such as when I chose a task or schedule an appointment, when I choose what to blog or write, or when I accept an invitation or invite someone for an activity or work collab. Also during the week while days unfold and unforeseen things happen, I always lean on my values and mission statement to make a decision.

That’s it. I’m ready for the following week. I usually do this between Friday and Sunday – it depends on the activities I have during these days. Simplifying has taken a heavy pressure off of my shoulders. It makes my week easier and I am able to do what I set because it’s not a lot of systems to follow. Details will be worked out when they are due. It is good to have only habits and to-dos. I will try this weekly planning during the following 4 weeks and see how it works.

What about your week? Do you have any kind of system? Do you have your values and mission statement written down? Share them here in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “How to simplify your week planning and focus on what matters

  1. I can’t wait to read this in more detail after making tea. I’ve just set up my own blog and I’m very new to all this so it’s great to take inspiration from reading this. Will share with pleasure on my new journey into the world of blogging! Thankyou

    Liked by 1 person

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