How to Plan Your Week as a Mom

by | Nov 15, 2019 | Bullet Journal, productivity

With four kids and the crazy schedule that comes with being a homeschooling mom, I need all the help I can get to organize my busy life.

Enter my secret weapon–my planner.

A couple of years ago, I never would have dreamed I would find time for an amazing creative outlet such as blogging.

The truth is–I was in total survival mode.

In this post, I want to share my planning process with anyone who wants to become a more organized parent.

  • I’ll share how I plan my week to be productive as a stay-at-home, homeschooling, blogging mom.

 

  • I’ll share how to figure out what your actual priorities are so you don’t feel like you’re putting out fires all week–unless you’re into that kind of thing. 

 

  • I’ll also share my absolute favorite planning tools and supplies.

If you’re ready to become more focused and less of a stress case, here’s the rundown of how I plan for a typical week in my busy life.

Things you’ll need to organize your mom brain

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read the full disclosure here.

There are two things I use to keep my life in basic working order:

1) A planner

This year, I swapped my bullet journal for a Passion Planner Pro.  I bujoed for about two years before getting a “standard” planner.

I loved bullet journaling, and still kind of bullet journal in my Passion Planner, but I’m a lazy doodler and wanted something with weekly and monthly layouts already set up.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Bullet Journal Alternatives

2)  A calendar

I have two calendars–a wall calendar I keep on our family command center for everyone to basically ignore, and my Google Calendar.

Planning my week is a non-negotiable at this point.  There are weeks when I don’t plan as much, and the difference is noticeable.  I feel a whole lot better about life when I sit down to plan out the week.

I’ve narrowed down my process to about four main steps to help me keep the majority of my sanity:

  • Brain dump
  • Time block
  • Prioritize
  • Populate

It sounds way fancier than it is, promise.

 

 

How to Plan Your Week

how to plan your week 

Step 1:  Brain dump all the things.

My planner has space in the weekly spread where I can jot down a list of everything that’s on my mind.  I also keep a running list of tasks in the back of my planner for whenever I get anxious and the contents of my brain threaten to spill over.

I write down everything I can think of–appointments, cleaning tasks, errands–the whole backlog.

Don’t worry about your to-do list for a minute.  We’ll take care of that in Step 3.

 

Step 2: Use block scheduling to organize your time.

I plug all of my appointments and events into my Google calendar, which I mostly use for block scheduling and as a reminder alarm.

RELATED:  How I Find Time For Myself As a Busy Mom

I’ve set up calendars for each main category of my life:

  • Family
  • Homeschool
  • Personal
  • Kids (activities and appointments)
  • Blog

how I plan my week

Each calendar is assigned its own color.  Every time I create an event, I can choose which calendar I want to assign it to.

I can also color-code events within each calendar.

how I plan my week as a mom

I keep our homeschooling blocks on my Google Calendar to help me stay on task.

I also have my blogging editorial calendar linked to Google Calendar through ClickUp (a project management tool like Trello on steroids).

By using my Google Calendar, I can see at a glance what is going on in each area of my life on any given day.

Now that my schedule is in place, I can narrow down my to-do list.

 

how to plan your week

Step 3:  Prioritize tasks to find your focus.

Have you ever felt like, no matter how detailed your to-do list, you could never figure out where to get started?

Well, I felt like that too, until I realized that I’m only one person and I can’t do all the things.

I was pretty much stuck trying to figure out what to do first until I learned about a tool that changed my whole planning game.

Enter the Eisenhower Matrix.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool to help you laser-focus your to-do list based on two factors:  urgency and importance.

  • Things that are urgent beg for your immediate attention, like an incoming phone call or a crying baby.
  • Things that are important need to be done, but not necessarily immediately and not always by you, like household chores or a party RSVP (unless you wait until the last minute like I often do).

Here’s how you can apply the E-Matrix to your mom life:

Urgent and important (UI) – Do these things first.  Now. Pronto.

Urgent but not important (UNI) – Delegate (ask for help from your husband, kids, or your village).

Important but not urgent (INU)– Plan to do these things later, or revisit next week if they make the brain dump list again.

Neither urgent nor important (NUNI) – Cross these things off your list altogether, because ain’t nobody got time for that.

 

I combine the E-Matrix with color-coding to highlight the tasks on my Brain Dump list before adding them into my weekly spread.

The E-Matrix been a LIFESAVER.  Instead of running around like a chicken (or procrasti-napping instead of attempting to tackle my list), my weeks are more focused, and I feel less stressed.

Can I get a woot woot?

Okay, now it’s time to plug your shorter, lighter to-do list into your planner.

 

Step 4:  Populate your planner.

Now that you have a to-do list that actually fits on your planner pages, you can plug everything in.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about keeping a planner, it’s that real life trumps your most detailed plans every. single. time.  Especially when your plans involve a whole family.

Since you’re the one who gets to decide how you spend your time, you also get to set the tone for your week.

Your planner can be a rigid taskmaster full of lofty expectations.

Or it can provide a flexible framework to help you become more organized, present, and successful.

 

Here are some ideas I’ve been experimenting with:

Prioritize your personal time.  After blocking out appointments, school, and other mainstays–I highlight “me time.”  Or more specifically–“me and God time.”

This includes my daily morning quiet time, time for meditation, prayer, and Bible reading.  This could also include exercise, coffee time with a friend, date night, a hobby, or whatever fills your cup.

If I don’t put myself on the list, I will find 101 reasons not to take care of myself.  When I neglect my soul, I can’t give my best to the people who matter most to me.

Jesus retreated to quiet places, y’all. Is there any reason why we as moms can’t justify a single moment to ourselves in a whole 24 hours–without resorting to hiding in the bathroom?

 

Plan around your cycle.  I get a boost of energy during the second week of my cycle.  This is when I can tackle larger projects and get a lot done.

I’m naturally less energetic during the first week of my cycle (during “shark week”), and I tend to be more emotional the week before that.  This is when I block a little more time for self care, and I stick with more low-key tasks.  And–for the benefit of everyone who lives in my house–I plan on getting some extra sleep during this… sensitive time.

 

Get feedback from your family.  During the week, I ask my husband if there is anything he wants me to do or pick up.  Sometimes my kids want to have a special meal or a family game night.  Adding these things to my planner brings us closer as a family.

how I plan my week as a mom

4 Tips to make planning more fun

If you are a planner by necessity who also low key dreads planning the week, here are a few things that have helped me warm up to the process:

  • Pick a comfy spot in your home when it’s most quiet, and sit down with your planner and a hot cuppa whatever you like most.

 

  • Do your planning in stages.  For example, I don’t typically meal plan on the same day I do the bulk of my weekly planning.  I try to do homeschool lesson planning separately as well.  This is a great way to not fry your mom brain all in one sitting.

 

  • Whenever you can manage it, take yourself on a date to a coffee shop to do your planning.  I often do this with lesson plans since I do those less frequently.  My dream is to take a weekend-long planning retreat for my annual planning and intention-setting.

 

  • Deck your planner out with some cute pens, highlighters, washi tape, and stickers.  You can swipe my faves below, or you can check out your local dollar store for extra-budget-friendly planning accessories.

 

THE BEST PLANNING SUPPLIES:

I love using these things to plan out my week.  Planning time has become something I look forward to.  I hope you find these fun supplies useful as well.

 

Ready for a lighter, more focused week?

how to plan your week as a mom

About Kat

About Kat

Hey there!  I'm a wife to my high school sweetheart, and homeschooling mom to four kids.  I'm also a planner junkie and a secret shower singer.

When I'm not doing the mom thing, you can find me curled up with a good book and a hot cup of chai.

Want to read my story?

I can occasionally be found hiding from my kids here:

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12 Comments

  1. Karen

    My planner is invaluable in helping me to stay organized. Even though I have a calendar on my phone, I still prefer my paper calendar!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Karen, I don’t know what I did all those years before my planner! Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  2. Beth

    Looks like you have your organization down to a science!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Beth, there’s been a lot of trial and error, that’s for sure! Testing out ideas is one of my hobbies lol.

      Reply
  3. Jen

    I love the urgent/not urgent, important/not important chart! It’s so helpful to know what is helpful but not urgent and make a plan for doing them or we don’t get them done.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Thanks, Jen! The chart has been key to whittling down my long to-do list to a reasonable length.

      Reply
  4. Gina Abernathy

    Great post! I am old school–I like paper and pencil. I am a believer in planning out my days and weeks.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Gina, I’m definitely a paper and pencil person myself. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  5. Jennifer

    Love this. I have had to buy a planner because all of the therapy appointments between the two boys, doctor appointments, IEP meetings, etc. If I didn’t have a planner I would be drowning and forgetting everything.
    Jennifer recently posted…The Best Date Night Ideas for HomeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Jennifer, it’s a lot to keep up with for sure!

      Reply
  6. Lisa

    I agree a calendar is key!!! We have one on our fridge that I update regularly.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Our calendar is kinda the glue that holds us together, Lisa.

      Reply

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Meet Kat

Hey there!  I'm Kat, homeschooling mom of four.  I'm on a journey to design a life I don't want to hide in the bathroom from.  Sound good to you?  Hope you'll join me!

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