How to use a weekly planner: the complete guide

Learn how to effectively use a weekly planner to increase productivity, manage your time, and set goals


Author:David Porter

A weekly planner can help you stay organized in your work and home life. Learning how to use a weekly planner (and having the discipline to do so) can bring positive changes to your life and make you more productive.

What is a weekly planner?

A weekly planner is an activity calendar or diary designed to help you plan your week by day. It typically includes sections for noting tasks and activities, plus space to add deadlines, meetings, and events.

You can also add goal tracking or meal planning to your weekly plan - or use them separately. Check out Craft's free goal tracking template, and meal planner.

Free goal Tracking Template
Use Craft's free goal tracking template alongside your weekly planner to track longer-term progress

Digital or Physical Planner? The pros and cons

Some still prefer to use the more old-school method of pen-and-paper planners. There can be an appeal in the tactile nature of a calendar or diary, but you’ll also need to carry it around with you which means you may not have it when you need it.

Others like the flexibility and accessibility of digital planners. These can be shared more easily with a partner or colleague, and accessed from any smartphone or computer.

It’s personal preference; the important thing is to create, maintain and follow your planner, whether that’s on paper or on screen.

Why use a weekly planner?

Planning out your week is an incredibly helpful way to make sure you are on top of things and not missing any important deadlines or commitments. Using this type of planner allows you to see the big picture over the coming days and weeks, enabling you to view all of your work projects, social events, meals, errands, and more.

This makes it easier to prioritize what needs to be done and when and plan ahead accordingly.

With everything laid out neatly in one place, it also eliminates the need for guesswork or searching through multiple sources trying to figure out what you need to do and where you need to be. 

How to structure your weekly planner?

We recommended you break down the week into distinct sections. This helps keep each day focused on certain tasks or activities. For example:

• Monday: personal exercise

• Tuesday: errands and shopping

• Wednesday: house chores

• Thursday: personal projects

• Friday: leisure time and socializing

• Saturday: self-care and exercise

• Sunday: free time and planning ahead.

By assigning regular days to the same tasks and activities, you start to create a routine.

Now, let’s move on to what to include in the weekly planner…

What to include in your weekly planner?

There are four key elements you must have on your weekly planner:

  • Tasks for each day
  • Goals for the week or month
  • Special events or holidays
  • And habits or hobbies that help keep the daily routine organized
  • The planner should also reflect any important deadlines from work or school. If something has to be done on a certain date - write it down!

Each element is essential; if you leave out just one piece of the puzzle, you may miss something important. So, get creative - add color coding if needed and make sure every little detail makes its way into the weekly planner!

Tips for an organized planner

#1 Make it simple but visually appealing

Make your that the planner looks as visually appealing as possible.

If you’re using a physical planner, this might include adding small stickers or washi tape designs along the edges of the pages, so it’s quick to refer to your information.

It's also helpful to use different colors for each type of task. For example, blue for work assignments, green for personal errands, etc. That way it can quickly differentiate between them without having to read every entry individually.

Using a virtual planner like Craft - you can also color code your text, using focus mode, block decoration, or highlights. 

#2 Set Deadlines for Each Task

Deadlines provide a sense of urgency and motivation to get something done. When setting deadlines, it’s important to be realistic about how much time is available. Take into account any other commitments or responsibilities that may need to be prioritized.

#3 Review and Reflect

Make it a habit to review and reflect on the previous week's tasks and accomplishments. This will help identify what worked well and what didn't and make adjustments for the upcoming week.

#4 Be flexible

Be prepared to adapt and change plans as needed. Sometimes unexpected events or tasks come up, and it's important to be able to adjust and re-prioritize as necessary.

By using a weekly planner, you can take control of your schedule, stay organized, and accomplish your goals. Remember to keep it simple, set deadlines, review and reflect, and be flexible. With these tips, anyone can be on their way to a more productive and less stressful week.

#5 Break down large tasks into smaller ones

Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. This will help to avoid feeling overwhelmed and make it easier to prioritize and tackle the task at hand.

#6 Use reminders

Set reminders for important tasks or deadlines. This could be through a phone notification or calendar reminder, or even writing the task in multiple places in the planner.

#7 Keep it accessible

Make sure your planner is accessible and easy to find. That might mean keeping it in a specific spot on a desk or carrying it with you in a bag or purse. If you go for a digital planner - then you’ll have it at your fingertips, as long as you have your laptop or smartphone to hand (with a charged battery!).

Weekly Planner FAQ

How To Use a Weekly Planner?

It comes down to personal preference, but here’s one way it can be done:

  • When creating the plan for the week, decide which day works best for them as the “planning day.”
  • It could be Sunday night or Monday morning—whatever fits into your schedule better.
  • Take some time each week to review upcoming deadlines and events so nothing gets forgotten. Include daily habits such as exercise and leisure activities too
  • Once everything is written down, assign priorities by giving them either an A (high priority), B (medium priority), or C (low priority). 
  • Finally, look at the big picture and determine if there's anything else that needs attention that won't fit into this particular week.

How To Keep Your Weekly Planner Organized?

We recommend breaking down tasks into manageable chunks. Start by categorizing them - this could mean separating personal from professional commitments or simply noting which ones are most important or urgent.

When creating categories and subsections, think outside the box - perhaps use colors to assign topics or create labels for each day so that everything is in one place. Once all activities are sorted, it's time to start filling in the blanks.

It might take some trial and error before finding the perfect organizational system. However, don't feel discouraged if something isn't working as planned; just make adjustments until everything runs smoothly.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for an effective way to stay organized and on track, then try using a weekly planner and see if it helps you become more organized, more focused, and more productive.