Our lives are full of activities that originate from many sources and often take precious time from our time and even prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. Taking the time to organize our days can greatly improve the quality of life, our productivity, and the way we feel about ourselves after achieving a successful week.
These activities can loosely be grouped into the following activities:
- External commitments,
- Business goals,
- Personal objectives,
- Surprise activities,
- Miscellaneous activities,
- Family time
- Personal time and
- Time for sleep
Organizing your commitments, goals, and personal time improves your ability to be effective, focus on the high priority items while maintaining time to focus on yourself and your family. Many people accomplish this goal through the use of a detailed weekly calendar.
What is a Weekly Calendar?
Regardless of the type of calendar you use, taking the time to plan your week’s activities can make a huge difference in your life, help you achieve high priority goals, and make time for yourself as well.
A weekly calendar can best be described as a seven-day calendar with times divided by the hour into the morning, afternoon, and evening. One-hour time slots provide an opportunity to schedule events and activities by the hour or even the half-hour if you need to squeeze in short must-do activities.
Many calendars run from Sunday through to Saturday and can be configured to show the entire month, weekly, or even daily activities. They come populated with features that provide alerts, notification reminders, location information, and notes to record more details to help with the completion of the activity. Many also provide a space to invite other parties to the activity or meeting, depending on what type of activity it is.
Not all entries to your calendar require this level of detail. Each entry can be customized depending on the activity, where it is, who is involved etc.
Electronic weekly calendars provide many features and options that many people find useful, compared to the older style of a paper or book-style calendar. Calendar information can be presented on various electronic devices, ported to your smartphone to be available at a moment’s notice. Activities can easily be updated, changing time slots, locations, and more.
What Is a Weekly Calendar Template?
A weekly calendar template can be a schedule, a register, a table, or an electronic system for you to use in recording and planning the activities you want to accomplish during the week, including scheduling time for yourself. They can be organized to run from Monday to Sunday, Sunday to Monday, or only reflect activities during the week.
Using a weekly calendar template helps you plan activities, prioritize them and focus on those items that are important. Take the time to schedule and plan short-term as well as long-term goal activities that lead to meeting career goals and major achievements.
The template can be used to schedule items that occur only once, as well as recurring activities that you do not want to miss. Weekly meetings, time to prep weekly status reports, children’s weekly activities, birthdays and anniversary’s as well as many more. A weekly calendar template can also be set up to include statutory holidays, which is helpful to know, especially for someone with a busy schedule.
There are various types of weekly calendar templates, and we will review these in the next segment.
Weekly Calendar Templates & Examples
Types of Weekly Calendar Templates
There are a variety of weekly calendar templates. It is important to find one that you are comfortable using, can easily update, and at a glance know what your day is going to be like once all of the events and appointments have been updated. Most people like to look at their schedule initially weekly and then focus on the day’s activities. Online Weekly calendars also have options to display information daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Some also can format the information in a schedule format or over several weeks. Choose one that you are most comfortable using for your situation.
There are two types of weekly calendar templates that are popular and include many of the options and features mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.
The horizontal weekly format has the days spread across the page from Monday to Sunday, with space for adding notes. Some templates will only show Monday to Thursday with the last three days on the side. They are available in both paper format as well as electronic formats that can be loaded onto your personal computer or smartphone and updated.
The vertical weekly calendar format lists the seven days in a column format from Sunday through Saturday. There is space for scheduling activities by time and adding notes. These calendars are also available in electronic form for download to your smartphone or personal computer.
Whether you use a vertical or horizontal format, the electronic versions offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of scheduling, adding notes, inviting people to attend meetings, and moving items from one time slot to another without the need to rewrite the activity in the new time slot. Just update the date and time, and your weekly electronic calendar automatically moves the activity to the new time slot.
How to Plan Your Weekly Schedule (Step by Step)?
Planning your week helps you make the most efficient use of your time; otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated when you are late for activities or miss them altogether. One of the first steps is to set aside some time, usually at the beginning of the week or on the weekend, to plan the week. Once your plan is prepared, you can sleep better knowing that everything is organized for the week ahead.
Our schedules are often made up of short, medium, and long-term goals. Part of planning our activities is to ensure that we do not lose sight of the longer-term goals and objectives. Start by reviewing your longer-term and medium-term goals and the action you need to take to move the yardsticks on these items.
Prepare a detailed list of everything that must be completed in the upcoming week, including short-term as well as long-term activities. Include work items, personal items such as driving the kids, grocery shopping, and anything that must be accomplished in the week ahead. Review your list to assess if any activities can be delayed to the following week without jeopardizing your long-term goals and objectives.
Some items will be a high priority and must be completed this week. Identify those and make sure time is allocated for these items. Most people find that weekly priorities should be in the 3-7 range. Otherwise, you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed.
Once you have your list, break them down into specific actions which will lead to the completion of these items by the end of the week.
Now that you have a detailed list and identified those that are high priority, it is time to prepare your schedule. Allocate time in your weekly calendar to complete each item and group activities as much as possible to maximize your productivity. Next, select one or two big tasks that must get done to help to stay focused and ensure that you complete the most important item during the week.
Lastly, be flexible and be prepared to make adjustments during the week. Some items will take less time to complete, which is a bonus. Other activities may take longer, and you may find that you need to make adjustments to your calendar and schedule throughout the week. Some activities you planned to complete may even carry over to the following week if you could not get to them, or they took more time than you originally planned. This is common and part of the planning process for your weekly schedule.
Tips for Planning Your Week
- Tools – select a weekly calendar template that you are comfortable with. Don’t be surprised if you need to try several before you find one that works for you. You may also want a notebook to keep track of notes associated with your activities.
- Set Priorities – we all have demands on our time that usually exceed the time available. Review your tasks and activities, set a priority for each, and focus on those items that are high priority. Note that priorities may change during the week based on new data. Be ready to make adjustments and refocus your efforts if needed.
- Identify Repeating Events – if an event occurs every week at the same time and it falls in your list of priorities, set it up as a repeating event to avoid losing time re-entering the data every week.
- Don’t Get Lost in the Details – step back a moment and focus on the big picture. What are you trying to accomplish? Make sure you assign time to focus on what counts.
- Keep Time Available for Personal Activities – whether it is family, friends, or just alone time, don’t forget to make time available for your personal life.
- Schedule Your Time – group activities that are synergistic, schedule items during your most productive period during the day, and estimate the time needed to complete each item before entering the item in your calendar.
- Leave Time for Surprises – you cannot predict when or where, but there will always be surprises, so leave time in your busy schedule to handle events that are not planned.
- Committing to Meetings – before committing to a meeting, assess how much time will be needed, what you want to achieve, and where does it sit on your priority list? Does this meeting help you achieve your long-term goals?
- Avoiding Conflicts – share your calendar with a spouse or partner to avoid conflicts between personal and business activities.
- Difficult Tasks – completing difficult tasks early in the week puts you in a great mood and sets the conditions for completing all of your other tasks.
- Set a Time to Plan – pick the same time to plan your week every week. Making it a habit helps to ensure that you are always ready for the coming week.
- Reassess Uncompleted Activities – there may be activities that were not completed due to conflicts and other higher priority items. Add them to the next week’s activities and prioritize the uncompleted activity against all of the new activities for the week.
The following frequently asked questions are often asked by readers who are planning their weekly activities for the first time.
What should I write in my weekly calendar?
Once you have identified your activities and prioritized each item or activity, you are ready to make entries in your weekly calendar. If you are using an electronic version on your tablet or smartphone, they typically come with a set of data fields to help you slot activities into your calendar.
- Title – include a couple of words that identify the event, task, or reminder
- Type of entry – assign the item as an event, task, or a reminder
- Schedule the activity – Select a date and time to start and complete the activity
- Add Guests – identify who is attending
- Add Location – where will the activity be held
- Description – add notes as needed to help you recall specific details
In addition to your weekly calendar, using a companion notebook to keep track of details, minutes of meetings, the information you need to bring to the activity, etc., is a good idea. Each entry should be related to a scheduled activity for future reference if needed.
When should you plan your week?
Many people find a time that best fits with their personal and business activities. For some, the end of the workweek is a good time. They review what was accomplished during the week, what remains, and what they would like to accomplish in the following week while everything is still fresh in their minds.
Sunday nights are another time many people like to plan their weeks. They may wish to discuss family schedules with members of the family to ensure there are no conflicts and no missed activities that are important to the family. They also reflect on what needs to be focused on during the week at work. With the week planned, they can get a good night’s sleep.
Folks with hectic schedules will also review their schedules at the end of every day. What did they complete, and what is ahead of them the following day? This is a time when adjustments may need to be made to reflect surprises, activities that need more time, and changing priorities.
Using a weekly calendar to plan your week can help to organize your time, make you more efficient and help to focus on those activities and tasks that are high priority. While it may take some time to plan your week, the benefits far exceed the time it takes to plan your week.
Allow time for surprises during the week. Both personal and business activities may suddenly compete for more time, and you will need to make adjustments to your schedule and priorities. This is a normal part of everyday life.
Some activities or tasks may not be completed as planned. Add these uncompleted items to the following weeks planning activity and include them based on their priority compared to the new tasks and activities for the coming week.
Try different weekly calendar formats until you find one that you are comfortable with. Use a notebook to keep notes and records associated with calendar activities.
Many busy people find that their professional lives encroach on their personal lives, leaving less time to spend with family and friends. It is important to keep your personal and business priorities in perspective to avoid losing friends and sacrificing your family time. Use your planning time for your weekly calendar to ensure there is a good balance.
Many busy people also make up for busy schedules by reducing time for sleep. Professional schedules put pressure on personal time, and to compensate, they reduce the hours for sleep to avoid sacrificing personal time. Long-term lack of sleep can have significant impacts on your health and performance. Find the right balance between professional, personal activities and sleep are important for your health and personal well-being.