In Defense of Weekly Planning

One misconception about weekly planning is that only a select group of people need to do it. I have heard many people argue that they are either not busy enough or too busy to take time each week to plan. There is also the population who believes they are doing just fine managing everything in their head. Unfortunately science, and likely the people in their lives, would argue that is not the case. 

Weekly planning does not exclusively belong to the insanely busy or ‘bullet journal’ population. People in every walk of life can benefit from taking time once each week to ‘reset’ and move forward with intention. Defining goals for the week, preparing on upcoming commitments, and laying the groundwork for a peaceful life can all be part of weekly planning. Consider this, every single person has demands on their time and every single person has only 24 hours in a day to address them. Since time is a finite resource, how you use it will determine the quality of your life. When you sit down to make a weekly plan, you are taking charge of your time to make the most of it. Furthermore, having a written plan can also offer three amazing benefits.

You remember more when you write it down. Due to the way the human brain works, the movement involved in writing aids in retention and recall. For this reason, physically writing things down increases your likelihood of remembering it. Your brain is fed so much information everyday, it is unreasonable to expect it to remember every appointment and deadline. You can work more effectively and more enjoyably by leaning on a written plan. So, even if you lose your written plan (I see you scatterbrained friends) you will remember more from the act of planning. Give your brain a hand, write down your plan. 

You accomplish more when you cross it off. Besides the fact that making a plan will help you work more efficiently and reduce wasted time, you will also accomplish more from endorphins. Most people respond the same way when they have fulfilled part of their plan or completed a task on their to-do list; they cross it off. Have you ever written something down just so you could cross it off? When you cross something off a list, you experience an endorphin release that makes you feel happy and makes you want to cross more things off your list. This is another reason to make a written plan each week. Your success will breed more success!

Filling in a schedule gives you a more realistic understanding of time. When you set up a plan for the week, you have a limited amount of space for each day. Just as you cannot write an infinite amount of words on a piece of paper, you cannot complete an infinite amount of tasks in a week. When you take time to plan, you have the ability to connect with the reality of time. Both in the context of the limited amount you have each day, but also in the context of how quickly it passes. By planning each week, you are less likely to overestimate how much you can actually accomplish in each day or underestimate how close an important deadline really is. 

There is clearly value in writing out a plan for each week, but even if you make plans digitally, the act of planning will benefit your life. It is the single best way to shift from a reactive life to a peacefully proactive one. And, yes, plans can change. However, it’s always better to adjust a plan than not have one at all.

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