Filed in : For Creatives

My Weekly Planning Routine

How I time block my week and schedule free time, family time, and work as a busy mom and entrepreneur! 

I wish I was naturally a ‘schedule person.’ The type of gal who lives by her neat and pretty planner with all her work-and-family ducks in tidy time-slotted little rows.

I wish I wish I wish this was me!

But…it’s not. I don’t naturally love a schedule or a planner. (Is it weird that I feel better now that I’ve confessed this out loud to someone?) 🤣

I’ve always had my suspicions that keeping an organized planner and schedule could be beneficial….

….but I still fought this idea for soooo long. 

I justified my schedule-free ways with thoughts like: 

I want freedom, not a calendar that ties me down!  I want variety and a little spice and spontaneity in my days, not the same old same old plan that I have to march to, day in and day out!

I assumed that life with a schedule would be constrictive. I thought that putting my tasks for the week into a planner would be difficult for my entrepreneurial time-freedom heart.

Turns out, the opposite is true!

Because, funny thing, even if you don’t have a set schedule—your day is still going to fill up with things you have to do! (I know, who knew?!) 

And if you’re an Enneagram 3, like me, that means your calendar is going to fill up FAST. Because you love to say yes to all the exciting things and, at your heart and soul, you enjoy that busy season hustle just a little bit (ok, a lot!). 

This was all well and good until I realized that there were some pretty important things that I was not getting done every week. 

Like moving my body, spending time with my friends, heck—grabbing a patio beer with my husband every now and then!

I realized that if I didn’t start penciling these things into my calendar, they were never going to happen!

So, a little bit kicking and screaming, I started to plan my weeks.

Guess what?

I love it!

I don’t do it every week (I’m only human) but when I do my scheduling routine I notice that I feel so much better. That’s my cue that this is working for me, and it’s a practice I need to continue. 

Here’s how I currently plan my schedule every week!

#1 – Either on Sunday night or Monday morning, I’ll sit down with my physical planner and Google calendar and go through my upcoming priority list and tasks. The first thing I then pencil into my calendar for the week is my free time.

I know, I know! Penciling in free time right off the bat? This is going to feel like pulling teeth. You’re going to want to schedule your work commitments first. Fight the urge! Stay strong!😅

My free time non-negotiables every week are: Going to the gym, getting groceries, and having lunch or coffee dates. (I don’t have lunch and coffee dates every week, but when I do, I want to make sure I have enough margin built into that day so I can fully enjoy my time with the person I’m meeting with!)

Can you imagine how it would feel to have those things on your schedule first and to know you had enough time blocked for them every week? Oh my gosh— this has been life-giving for me personally! I know that no matter how crazy things get, I’m still moving my body, making time for loved ones, and buying the food we need to survive. 

#2 – Next, I write out my to-do list of everything that needs to happen for work and family life this week. 

I’m figuring out stuff like what deadlines do I have to meet this week? Are there any shoots that I need to prepare for? Are there any events and activities the kids have coming up that I need to be aware of? 

This to-do list is usually a mile long (of course!), so after I have it all out of my head and onto paper, I go through it to see which of these items I can take off my plate for this week.

Sometimes that looks like pushing things that don’t necessarily have to happen right now back to the next week. 

Other times, that looks like delegating tasks. Can my husband pick up the kids on some of these days? Can I order dinner pick up or pizza one or two nights so I can take cooking dinner off the list? 

#3 Once the to-do list is in check and I’ve removed everything that doesn’t need to happen this week or everything that can be delegated, I determine how much time each task is going to take, and then I block those tasks onto my calendar. 

Since my non-negotiable free time tasks are already there, everything else goes in around those activities (not vice versa). 

#4- And, since I am the Queen of putting vague to-dos on my calendar and then not remembering why I put them there in the first place, I’ve also started to block my tasks with really specific directions on what needs to happen in that time frame.

So instead of writing work on the podcast, I’ll put down exactly what needs to happen in these two hours: Record two podcast episodes and send them to my editor. 

#5 – Last, I check myself to make sure that I have enough buffer time built in and am not doing things I’ll regret later, like scheduling back-to-back meetings! 

There you go! That’s my (not perfect but perfect for me!) weekly planning routine.

Do you have a weekly schedule and planning routine that works for you? What does that look like? Let me know in the comments!

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Hi! I'm Maddie.

If I’m giving you my elevator pitch, I’m a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, brand photographer and educator for creative women.

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