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Creating a Weekly Todo list

Creating a Weekly Todo list

  Photo credit: Lance Taylor photography    @lance_taylor4

Photo credit: Lance Taylor photography   @lance_taylor4


Creating a Weekly Todo list

Life is a constant crisis. Attention is diverted from one thing to another. Think about a typical work day. You are trying to accomplish a single task, but while you are trying to do it you receive an important email, get a text or your computer tells you it needs to update. If you have followed my 3 month goals formation article this article will be the next step. It will help you take the 3 month goals you came up with and start planning weekly, creating a todo list and executing them.

What I do is at the beginning of every week for me it is Sunday, but any day you choose will work. I set aside some time to strategize and plan my activities for the week. What I am doing is converting my 3 month goals into actionable steps and executing those.

Here are the steps I use to plan my week:

  1. Strategize

First you need to form a strategy by figuring out what is needed to accomplish your goal. For example if you want to lose weight your strategy might be to find a diet and start a fitness routine. Be specific with your strategy. Do your homework. Your goal has most likely been done before. Research how others have accomplished that goal, learn from them, and decide on a strategy you want to execute. Don’t worry if the strategy you choose doesn't work or turns out to not be what you expected. In step 4 you will reassess how the week went and make changes.

  1. Break down your goals into a weekly todo list

For example one of my 3 month goals is to complete an online lesson series for learning how to play guitar. Here’s how I break it down into manageable tasks for the week:

        1. Do a guitar lesson

        2. Add anything from the lesson to a list of things to practice on the guitar

        3. Practice X on the guitar for 5 mins 3 times this week

        4. Practice Y on the guitar for 5 mins 3 times this week

The key here is to not make the tasks overwhelming, but not underwhelming either. Generally I make sure the task is less than an hour, but more than 10 minutes. If you have bunch of small tasks a good way to be to batch tasks. For my guitar practice example, I will practice X for 5 mins, practice Y for 5 mins, and practice Z for 5 mins. I do 3-4 of them together because one alone is too small. Make sure to write them down and put that list where you will see it.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you work 8 hours 5 days a week and sleep 8 hours a day that leaves you with 72 hours of free time a week. Which some of that time you will be eating, commuting, and doing other things not related to your goals.

For a majority of my goals I have a list of weekly tasks I keep separate. When it comes to my planning time I can pull from that list and add them to the week.

3. Schedule your tasks

Managing time by setting a schedule to achieve your tasks is important. When you don’t have a schedule other activities will control your time and block you from your intended goal. After blocking out the time I include the specific activity I will be doing. For example I set my schedule to workout after work with that I have mapped out exactly what I am going to do during my workout. This way when I get off work I don't have to think about what I am going to do next. Pre planning gives me a higher likelihood of success that I will accomplish the activity and not skip out.

If you are a person who has emergencies to deal with set aside some extra time to deal with those. The schedule you make needs to be realistic. Provide some extra time to do tasks and allow extra time for the activity to run over.

I use my calendar on my phone to keep track of my schedule and I am a huge fan of the reminders feature. Often I forget what I had planned to do so getting an alarm reminder is helpful.

4. Review, assess and plan for next week

After each week you should review how your last week went. Ask yourself the following questions: Did I get everything done I intended? If not why not? What went well and what didn’t go so well? How can I make this work better? Should I add more or less to my plan? Is my strategy working?

By reviewing and make changes you are customizing your plan to help fit your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is different you might need more structure or less. You may need to add in some extra ways to make yourself accountable to your goals. Perhaps you spent an hour on facebook or playing video games instead of doing your goal. This is is the time to strategize how to save yourself from yourself.

    This simple template for weekly planning has easily 3X my weekly output towards my goals. Simple planning and assessment of how a week has went allowed me to make changes when I have had poor strategy, identify when I am not executing, and  keeping track of goals I want to do. In fact this is one of my favorite activities of the week. I enjoy coming up with a plan. If you want to see change in your life and start turning your dreams into reality I recommend using my template listed above. It has been a great habit for me to get into every week and I hope it will help you as well.

Here is a link to a journal planner I like:

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