Tag Archives: Weekly Launch

Launching a New Week, Part Two

My last post discussed how I use a “Weekly Launch” routine to prepare for a new week. Most of what I wrote yesterday wasn’t specific to my Filofax. Today, I will share how I sit down to set up my planner for the week.

I have three paper calendars or agendas, in addition to the dry erase weekly calendar I shared yesterday. Each serves a distinct purpose.

  1. Stapled monthly calendar – This calendar holds every event I need to track for our family. It’s thin, so I can carry it with me easily. Since this is the family calendar, the large size of each calendar square works perfectly for me. I use color to distinguish who does what…
  2. My A5 “Week on 2 Pages” layout – The WO2P tracks my personal schedule for each day. It gives me a chronological plan, and I omit activities that don’t impact what I’m doing or where I need to be. For example, if my husband is taking my daughter to swimming, I don’t include it in my personal schedule; it goes on the family calendar, though. I also include time-specific tasks. In between the two-page spread, I use a piece of lined paper for tasks that can be done at any time during the week. For 2014, I’m trying the layout with boxes, rather than the vertical lined days. Fingers crossed!
  3. My A5 “Month on 2 Pages” layout – I use the MO2P calendar to track my writing tasks for each day. I’m basically my own boss when it comes to working on my dissertation proposal, which is good, but I tend to run into trouble staying on track if I haven’t identified a purpose for my writing sessions. On Sunday, I set different goals for each day of the week to ensure I keep forward momentum. I wrote about this in detail in an earlier post.
  4. The weekly dry erase calendar – This calendar is not really for planning. It’s a communication tool. My husband, kids, and sitter refer to it to see what the day looks like for everyone. While my Filofax and calendar are personal, this is for the family. Plus, when I fill it out with my husband, we note scheduling conflicts and resolve them on Sunday by adjusting plans as needed. There are no unfortunate surprises like me having a late meeting and my husband being at the dentist when one of us needs to take our son to soccer, only to realize it the day of…

On Sunday, I manually “sync” them before I coordinate schedules with my husband or meal plan. It’s important to have a sense of the week before meal planning, because some days are more hectic than others. I plan the easiest meals for those days. Also, if we’ll be out for the evening, I know I don’t need to have food prepared that night.

I begin by making a cup of Jasmine Silver Needle white tea and laying out everything I need. This week, I have to mail a birthday card , so I pulled out my greeting card organizer and stamps as well.

Getting settled

My monthly calendar, A5 Malden, card organizer with stamps and Washi tape, laptop, paper supplies, and tea

Once I’ve hunkered down, I refer to my monthly calendar so I can complete my WO2P personal schedule for the week. I pull out events that need to be done each morning and afternoon/evening. Then I generate a list of tasks for the week that can be done at anytime. I also check my e-mail for any follow-up tasks that I should put on my calendar or task list.

Each night, I review my schedule before bed, making any changes as needed…including tasks that pop into my head. That’s my final “brain dump” (or in GTD terms: “mind sweep”) for the day. Establishing this routine helped eliminate my insomnia, because I no longer have a mental list scrolling through my head once I turn the lights out. I can rest easy because I’ve written down what needs to be done, and I can let it go until tomorrow. I put my Malden on my nightstand and refer to it every morning before I’m even out of bed.

I should mention that this week is pretty light for me since the children and my university are still on break. My son, however, has several projects that are due when he returns next Monday, so I added a Post-It to remind myself to nag him a bit 🙂 In the “this week” section, I’ve also added a few personal goals I’d like to keep front and center.

Once I finish with my daily schedule, I move to planning my academic writing on my MO2P. I don’t have a sitter this week, so it won’t be as productive as when my children are in school.

Jan1 writing

My writing schedule…I only plan one week ahead for this calendar. This allows me to be flexible.

Once I’m done scheduling my week, I’m ready to plan meals and coordinate schedules on the weekly white board I described in Pt. 1). If I am very concerned about remembering an appointment, I may add a reminder into my phone.

All told, this process takes me about an hour. I consider it an investment in the week ahead. It’s not just an exercise on paper; I’m mentally rehearsing for the week ahead. The Sunday routine allows me to strategize how to make the most of my time, and I no longer forget appointments or tasks.

What about you? Do you have a Weekly Review or Routine?

Launching a New Week, Part One

I know some people consider Sunday a day of rest, but for me, it is the day to prepare for a new week. That translate to a busy day, but the effort pays dividends all week long. In this post, I’ll explain how my Sunday routine includes several tasks that prepare our family for a smooth(ish) week. Part One is about the routine itself. On Tuesday, Part Two will focus specifically on my Filofax.

WL1

The first half of my list for the Weekly Launch routine

My Sunday mornings are basically reserved for church and getting the kids to choir practice/youth group (all at different times). Once church and associated activities wrap up, I dive headfirst into planning the week and completing several tasks. I call this my “Weekly Launch” routine. I begin with a list stored on OmniFocus (a task management app). I don’t put the list in my Filofax because they’re set on repeat with reminders in my phone. Personal preference, mainly. I took two screenshots, because the list doesn’t fit all in one screen. 

I don’t necessarily do the list in the order you see. I usually empty my e-mail inboxes while I’m watching TV in the evening. By doing this, I have been able to avoid returning to a ridiculously cluttered inbox (One I remember vividly…who wants to open their e-mail to see the number 1,487 next to their Inbox folder?). I mark messages that have info relevant to my calendar and refer to them as I work with my Filo and calendar later in the day. If I neglected to reply to an e-mail, I take care of it then and there. I also tidy my office, refill my vitamin dispenser, plan meals, and create a shopping list. I post the menu on a dry erase weekly calendar posted on the fridge so the kids know what to expect and Brian can help prep if he gets home before I do.

I write the weekly meal plan on the fridge so that our kids know what's for dinner.  By the way, if you're wondering about the "statistically significant" magnet, it was a gift the professor gave the students at the end of our required stats course. Math humor.

I write the weekly meal plan on the fridge so that our kids know what’s for dinner. If we are eating out or attending a party, I’ll note that on the board, too. By the way, if you’re wondering about the “statistically significant” magnet, it was a gift my professor gave the students at the end of our required stats course. Math humor can be terrible, but I thought the sentiment was sweet…plus, it’s a reminder that I survived grad school stats after not having taken a math course for over fifteen years! 

The calendar review with my husband is very important for our whole family. It doesn’t help to have a great schedule worked out in my Filofax if other people in the family don’t have access to it, so I posted a dry erase weekly calendar in the kitchen above the phone/charger shelf. The central location means we pass by it several times a day. On Sunday, my husband and I pull out our individual calendars (his is on his iPhone, mine on good ol’ paper) and we fill out the board together. The real value of this routine is the conversation we have. If we notice conflicting appointments or meetings that affect childcare, I make a note to tell our sitter or we make other arrangements. We also know when to reschedule appointments. In the past, we used to catch the schedule conflicts halfway through the day of the events, which meant a mad scramble to adjust.

Weekly Calendar

As you can see, I don’t bother color-coding here. I have room for writing things out, and it takes less time to use one color. While I post appointments for my schedule, my husband only posts activities that might affect the family (e.g., early/late meetings or days off).

The second half of my "Weekly Launch" task list.

The second half of my “Weekly Launch” task list.

Other Weekly Launch tasks include cleaning out the car and filling up the gas tank. While I’m out, I’ll stop by the ATM if I need any cash for the week. I try to write one letter to a family member while I’m waiting for my kids at choir practice and/or youth group. This summer, I began writing to nieces and nephews after finding some old letters from my grandmother and realizing how much my kids enjoyed receiving mail at camp. Now that I think about it, doing this on Sunday is a lovely way to reflect on what is happening in our family’s life, as well as connecting with people I care about…Snail mail is a beautiful thing! 

That about wraps up Part One. Part Two – a post about setting up my Filofax for a new week – will be Tuesday.

My Weekly Launch routine brings me a lot of comfort. I’ve been doing this for over a year, and I’d say this is a key component of my organization system. When I go to sleep on Sunday night, I feel better knowing I’ve set our family up for success. Rather than flying by the seat of our pants, we all have a sense of the week ahead. There’s gas in the car, I have empty inboxes, and my husband and I are on the same page. Naturally, we have to make adjustments when the unexpected occurs –as it always does — but this is something that truly works for our whole family. If only my routine for dealing with incoming paperwork ran as smoothly!