The ultimate guide to weekly planning and proper pie eating.
When you start your weekly planning by placing yourself at the center, your week becomes the story of who you are, not just what you do.
Has this happened to you?
Week after week it’s the same thing…
You plan, and plan, and plan, and by the end of the week, you feel like you really got nothing done. Nothing that important, anyway.
Is planning broken?
Yes. And no.
How about we sit and discuss planning over a piece of pie?
Best. Club. Ever.
Imagine belonging to the best club imaginable.
I’m sure we would all agree it would be the “Pie of the Week” club. Right?
At the start of every week, a warm, freshly baked pie arrives on your doorstep.
Made with the best ingredients—just for you. Nice.
How you eat the pie is totally up to you.
Being the pie aficionado that you are, you know that one does not simply eat a pie, one must enjoy the pie. Savor every bite.
So, how do you start?
Where do you start?
Even. Better. Club.
You are already a life-long member of the most important club imaginable.
It’s called the “Time” club.
At the start of every week, you wake up to a fresh, free delivery of time—a whole week’s worth. Not getting your time delivery would be problematic, to say the least.
(We know that’s not how time works, but stick with us for a minute.)
And, the best part is, how you use your week’s worth of time is totally up to you.
Unlike pie, you can’t sit down and devour a week’s worth of time all at once. Even when having a toddler or two at home feels that way.
However, you can savor your time by intentionally choosing how you use it.
That’s why weekly planning is so effective.
Aaaand there it is: The P word. Planning.
We know… we know…
Some of us would prefer to go outside and start slamming our hand in the car door rather than sitting down and planning out the day—or even worse, planning out the entire week.
And that’s exactly the problem. You’re doing it wrong. You’ve made it too hard. Your way is soooo exhausting.
Planning gone wild.
When planning is done wrong, it feels overwhelming. You’re flooded with how much needs to get done. So. Much. To. Do.
Post traumatic planning disorder.
The good news is, planning doesn’t have to feel that way.
So, how do you start?
Where do you start?
And when can we talk about pie again?
Soon. We promise.
When done right, weekly planning puts you in the flow state. It gives you a sense of heightened clarity and awareness.
One of the most creative things you can do is express yourself through how you choose to use your time.
That being the case, planning your time is the ultimate expression of self-care. Like warm pie for your soul.
Now get your hand out of the car door and come inside for pie.
Let’s get started the right way.
To eat your pie, it’s best to begin by cutting your pie into slices.
Cutting the whole pie into slices doesn’t ruin your pie. It’s still a pie.
Slices make the pie easier to eat.
It makes the pie-eating experience better.
It’s not as messy, and you get to appreciate your pie a slice at a time.
Good planning is just like eating a good pie.
As you did with your pie, it’s best first to divide your week into slices. Of course, you already have the seven natural slices that comprise the seven days of the week.
Unfortunately, that’s usually where everyone begins and ends their weekly planning—by frantically searching through their to-do lists and appointments and desperately trying to fit it all into the next seven days of the week.
It feels like a competition to put together a jigsaw puzzle with your eyes closed before time runs out. Occasionally pieces may fit, but when you open your eyes, they don’t make much sense.
No wonder planning is so frustrating. It’s not surprising that you hate it. It’s not your fault.
Don’t get us wrong, we feel it’s vital to get things done that are on your to-do list. It’s very important to keep appointments you’ve made.
Although that’s a vital step, it’s not the first step.
If you plan this way, what’s at the center of your planning? Your tasks and your time.
What’s missing? You are.
If you only focus on the tasks and appointments you’re obligated to accomplish, then your week becomes the story of what you do.
When you start your weekly planning by first placing yourself at the center, your week becomes the story of who you are.
How do you do that?
Before you try to tackle your to-do list, before you rush to find time for appointments, start with something even more important than those: You.
Choose the order of the slices you’ll eat.
Don’t panic! You’ll still get to eat that slice of your pie–that slice overstuffed with things to do.
All we’re saying is to set that slice aside for just a few minutes. We’ll do some me-time first, and then fit it back in. Maybe we’ll cut it into thinner slices and fit it back where there is room. No worries, you still get to eat your pie.
First, you must divide your week into the Roles you’ll be performing this week.
So… that’s new. Roles?
What do we mean by roles?
We experience our lives in terms of roles—authentic roles or parts we’ve chosen to fill.
Roles represent responsibilities, relationships, and areas of contribution or focus.
This week, you might have these roles:
- Research manager
- Repair and maintenance
- Red Cross board member
- Side hustle
Some weeks you can assume more roles, and some weeks less.
Roles are first aid.
Much of the pain in life comes from the sense that we’re succeeding in one role at the expense of another possibly even more important role.
Occasionally during the week, we get to focus exclusively on one role at a time, such as:
- Sales manager
Sometimes we must focus on a few roles at the same time, such as:
- Father/Soccer coach
- Remote sales manager/mother
And still other times, we must focus on roles we didn’t plan for:
Dividing your week into roles doesn’t compartmentalize your life. It’s still your life and still your week.
It’s simply a way to make sure that you accomplish this week what is most important to you.
Good work! You’ve determined the few roles you have responsibility for this week, and perhaps the few roles you willingly commit to this week because you’d like to improve your performance in those roles.
Step two: bite by bite.
Now that you’ve cut your pie into slices, you can choose the slice you want to start with.
For most of us, a slice is still bigger than what you can put in your mouth all at one time.
What do you do? It’s simple, you eat your slice a bite at a time. Maybe you’ll start with the crust and work towards the point. Maybe you’ll start at the point and keep the crust for last.
It’s your pie, your slice, you get to decide.
A slice at a time. Easier. Less mess. More enjoyable.
And, in the end, bite by bite, slice by slice, you’ll eat the entire pie.
Role by role.
Now that you’ve chosen the roles you will focus on this week, you can determine what you want to accomplish in that role by the end of the week.
It helps to ask yourself this simple question:
“What are the one or two most important things I can do this week that will have the greatest positive impact to this role?”
Those one or two things are this week’s goals.
Goal by goal.
In weekly planning, a goal is an outcome you want to achieve by the end of the week.
Most weekly goals can be broken down into a handful of tasks, or to-dos, or subgoals… It doesn’t really matter what you call them. What is most important is that you break the big goal into smaller, actionable steps that you can accomplish this week.
After you have chosen and scheduled your roles and goals, now is the time you can add those other things on your task list and calendar.
You’ve gone from whole pie, to slices, to bites!
Did you see what just happened? Before you fill up your entire week with all the urgent things that are demanded of you, you found a way to intentionally choose to schedule the activities that are most important to you.
Your weekly planning session has become an expression of who you are, not just what you need to do.