How I review and plan my week in 2021
I review and plan my week on Sundays, comes with a free template. Need more focus and clarity? Try this.
Table of Contents
This is my current system for my weekly reflection and planning, all done on Notion. At the end of this post, I share with you a free downloadable template! I started doing this around November last year, and I haven't stopped since. My process has been through a few minor iterations, and this is the current template I've found most comfortable for me to use. There are 3 key components I do every Sunday, in order.
- Self-reflection: I reflect on the past week.
- Theme of the week: I identify the key theme of the week.
- Plan & Prioritise: I fill in the top tasks I should complete every day.
My system1) Self-reflection2) Theme of the week3) Plan and PrioritiseA. Top 3 to-dosB. Three things I'm grateful forC. One highlight of the dayD. Bonus4) OthersHabit trackingDigital housekeepingFor anyone who wants to try + Template
I do all my reflection and planning on one single template. This is where I fill in my top to-dos for the day. It helps me to prioritise what I should be doing for that day. My full-time job doesn't count on the list, which makes my day even shorter. So, prioritising is everything for me. Saturday and Sunday are merged because I want to leave it a bit flexible. It's when I still do more personal work and also I want to wind down and relax a bit more. I also share 3 things I'm grateful for today and one main highlight. Don't worry about not having any significant. Some days are just pretty mundane and that's fine. For example, I can put "I had a nice home-cooked chicken rice lunch" or "I read this good thing today", and that's enough. When a week is over and I've reviewed it, I duplicate the same template and start my planning.
By the end of the week, this page will be filled up and tasks are checked off. I use the same page to reflect on the past week. To keep things simple, I use this incredibly simple journaling method by Anne-Laure. She uses the plus-minus-next method. You can add any professional or personal items here.
- (+) Write about what has worked in the past week, or wins
- (-) What didn't go well, or negative events
- (→) What's next in the following week, or what you plan to improve
After reflecting on the past week, I duplicate the template for the new week. I keep all my weeks together on a separate page. That means I don't delete my current week just to start a new one on the same page. After you have duplicated my Notion template, just create another copy of the same template to use for your new week! I also label on the title the main highlight of the past week if any, and also mark the page with an emoji for my reference. ✅: Normal 🔵: Something significant happened 🔴: Bad week 🔮: Life-changing. Rare, but it happens.
Initially, I didn't have a theme for the week. So I was simply listing things down I want to do. But I realised if I can identify a key theme of the week, it'll help me plan out the week better. If you're asking how I set goals here, it depends on the projects I'm currently working on. It could be: launch a new feature or page, publish a new blog post etc. Ultimately, you use this part as your focus of the week. Whenever you're lost in what to do, go back to what your goal or theme is to align yourself again.
Once I have a focus, it's easier for me to plan for the week ahead with daily tasks. This is where I plan out my tasks for each day. Each day I have my tasks to do as well as my gratitude and highlight. I think of it as a mini journal in a sense.
I list down my top three to-dos. As long as I achieve these, I'm content. I'm sure many of us have a LOT to do in a day, but you can't do everything. It's almost impossible unless you sacrifice sleep (please don't do that). So pick the three must-dos to start. If I have more, I list them under the three tasks as optional. If I have the time, I'll do them after my top three are checked off. If not, it's fine to not complete them. They may or may not be related to the week's theme, so it's really up to you how you break down your focus into daily tasks. Also, remember: things don't always go as planned sometimes. So feel free to adjust your priorities again even on the day itself.
When the day ends, I list down three things I'm grateful for. Because I have to write them down, I actively look for things I'm grateful for which helps train my gratitude muscle. Even if there is nothing significant to be thankful for, I'm always grateful for the simplest things like the meals I have, and the time I spend with my partner, for example. This also helps me to look back and reflect at the end of the week about my small wins or anything I'm thankful for.
I also wrap up the day with one highlight. It can be anything, e.g. completing a significant task or something that happened that evoked a strong feeling. I can use this time to process my thoughts and feelings. The best part is you can keep it simple — perhaps 2-3 sentences max. If this requires a longer reflection, I create a separate page in my Reflection folder to expand on it.
I'm not sure how you feel about time-blocking, but after the planning, I also do block my time off on my Google Calendar. I use it to accompany my current system to get a better overview of my entire day. Sure I already have a to-do list, but I feel that I can make the most out of my day when I put things into perspective in my calendar. It helps stop me from overworking too. I roughly estimate and block off time for each task. If I need to, I'll move the blocks around or reduce the time. Occasionally I do remove something from the day, but only if I see something else that is more valuable that I want to do. Tip: Don't time-block your tasks back to back, because things will go differently than expected. I try to give some room to breathe in between tasks. Be flexible! It's okay to shorten the time or reduce the scope if you find out you don't have enough time. Anne-Laure talks about how you can be flexibly consistent here.
There are a few more things I track on the page.
Previously I had my habit tracker on another page and it looked... bad, i.e. poor tracking. I don't like to keep track of things in different places so maybe that's why I didn't track my habits better. So I moved it under the existing setup. It's a bit better, but I'm still working on cultivating better habits. Some weeks are fantastic, but some can look bare as bones. If you're interested, I use this tracker.
Why track habits?
- Habits take time to form, so if you document your progress, you can see how far you've come over time
- It gives me visual proof of my tiny wins each day
- It helps visualise the person I want to become (I'm a fit person, therefore I exercise)
Every Sunday morning, I like to do a simple housekeeping routine on my digital space. Gotta Marie Kondo your digital space too, you know? Does being subscribed to that newsletter still spark joy? If not, unsubscribe! My simple checklist includes:
- Clean file downloads
- Clean Chrome bookmarks
- Clean Twitter bookmarks
- Clean my email inboxes
Not always completely cleaned, but I try my best! (Bookmarks are the toughest 🥲)
Thanks for reading until the end! My system takes as quickly as half an hour or around an hour to finish, depending on how long I take to reflect on the past week. So you decide yourself if this is for you. For me, it certainly brings me more clarity and focus for each week. If Notion is not for you, you can replicate it anywhere else like a physical notebook or journal, Google Sheets, anything really, as long it works for you. I believe I covered almost everything here. Feel free to share any feedback or questions. If you're using it, let me know so I can thank you on Twitter 🤗
Download the template here.