How to Plan Your Week Without Getting Stressed About Work (Bonus: Free Weekly Planner Template PDF)

Do you get stressed out seeing your never-ending to do lists? Does planning your week stress you out instead of letting you be your productive best? Sigh… you are not alone my friend. This post will show you how to plan your week without getting stressed about work.

Click here to jump to ‘How To’ section.

We are told that in today’s world *hustling* is the only way to make it. So we cram our daily to do lists with tasks that perhaps until the 20th century was accomplished over three weeks by three people. No wonder we are stressed out thinking of Mondays! But we don’t have to be. There are a few simple ways in which you can take the Monday blues out of your life and stay productive throughout the week. I know there are tons of productivity experts with all the science and data about increasing weekly productivity–Eisenhower matrix templates, time-blocking templates, Kanban techniques, the X method (that is a real thing, I am not just saying X for saying X), of course, the wonderfully simple Pomodoro technique and so on!

So instead of going through all that, I will show you the technique that combines a couple of these techniques to create one of the most simple and effortless ways to plan your week. The BEST feature of this weekly planning system is that it WILL NOT penalize you for not completing your tasks. Never again will you have to cross something out of your list when you have not attempted or completed a task.

Let’s face it–we have busy days. Some of us have excruciatingly demanding bosses that drop things on your desk without so much as a heads-up. Some of us (like me) have boisterous children enjoying their summer vacay with extended hug times with mommy which, as it should, eats into your workday. Some of us (also like me) may have dinged their car in the morning and now has an added hour of making sure to register for insurance claims, and therefore one hour less to write a blog post on weekly planning. What I am saying is: You shouldn’t get to see red on your to-do lists just because you have a real life and you are human.

So here is how you do it. (I have a FREE downloadable weekly planner template PDF if you want to try out this technique. Scroll down to the bottom of the post and put in your email and I’ll send it to you.)


Take ALL this and make it comprehensible! (Picture courtesy: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)
  1. Before you start the week, preferably sometime between Friday (when you really don’t want to be working but you are still at your work desk) and Sunday of your previous week, do a brain dump list of all the tasks you need to do for the upcoming week.
  2. As you do this brain dump, you may realize some tasks are probably best put off or can be taken out or delegated. Take out, delegate, or put away tasks for later on a separate list. (I keep this long list of later to-dos as a simple task list on Google Keep.)
  3. Take the remaining tasks and write it down on the left-corner of a two-page spread in your planner or notebook. Do not have more than 21 tasks for each week. Yes, this is a random number that works for me. Anything more than 21 and I know nothing will get done.
Here’s what this would look like. (Scroll to the bottom to find out how you can get a better version of this as a downloadable PDF for free.)

4. Divide the rest of your page into 6 columns, 5 for each weekday and 1 for the weekend.

5. Divide each of the day columns into three. The first row is for any scheduled appointments you already have. Write these down at the top first so you know that you have those time windows blocked away.

6. Once you have done this, you have a better idea of how much time you have available to do the other things on your weekly to-do list.

7. Pick the most important and/or urgent task from the weekly to-do list and enter them using a pencil or a sticky note on the second row under ‘Monday.’ This step is VERY important. Getting that tough task done at the beginning of the week is a great way to push through and finish that task. It also is a big relief once you finish because you know you have plenty of time now for other things on your list.

8. Write two more tasks that you can complete that day. If the most important task is a monster then don’t fill up your day with more than you can chew. Write the tasks down in pencil or on a small sticky tab which you can easily move around on your page. (See picture below.)

Like great readers, ignore that I bungled the page sub-headers in my bujo.

9. Each day should not have more than three work tasks. You can have one or two additional home or personal tasks but no more than three work tasks. (In the picture above, I have three work tasks in green tabs and one home task in blue. And I can already tell you that that blue tab is going to be moved to Wednesday.) If you finish the three work tasks ahead of schedule you can always add more to the list!

Optional: You can choose to divide the tasks into groups of three (no more than three) for each day. Write each of them down on a pencil or use a sticky note and stick them on the second rows. (I prefer to do only one day at a time as it makes it easier to move tasks as needed. See point below.)

10. If you don’t finish a task designated for a day, simply move it to the next day down the page that you think you can do it. It’s that simple!

11. When you finish a task you can take the sticky tab off and write it down with a pen and put a cute little check mark or a star next to it. (And if you don’t get to it, no one, not even you, will know because you moved the sticky tab to another day! No guilt tripping, yay!!)

12. The third row is for notes where you can jot down thoughts or other to-dos or anything as they come to you. At the end of the week, you can take the information from the notes and start the new weekly list.

To make this easy for you, I made a free downloadable weekly planner sheet/template. Scroll to the bottom of the post here and put in your email. I’ll send it to your inbox right away!

So that’s all it is! You do not EVER have to write down a task and cross it off because your day got messy. You don’t have to keep looking at the tasks that you wanted to complete and you just couldn’t get to and then mentally kick yourself around the block. Weekly lists should be about productivity not punishment for having a real busy life.

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe for FREE downloadable weekly planner template!