How to plan your weekly schedule

It’s not easy running two of the biggest tech companies in the world like Twitter and Square. That’s why Jack Dorsey, the founder of these companies, sticks to a specific weekly schedule, which is divided into themed days:

  • Monday: Management and meetings
  • Tuesday: Product, engineering, and design
  • Wednesday: Marketing, growth, and communications
  • Thursday: Developers and partnerships
  • Friday: Company and culture
  • Saturday: Recreation and hiking
  • Sunday: Reflection and strategy

Dorsey also spends half of each day at Twitter and the other half at Square. “On days beginning with T, I start at Twitter in the morning, then go to Square in the afternoon,” he tells Fast Company.

Now, this schedule won’t necessarily work for everyone. But it’s a great example of how people can use weekly scheduling to organize their calendars and make their workweeks more manageable.

That’s why we’re providing a how-to guide for planning your weekly schedule from strategizing and creating your calendar to maintaining it effectively.

Why is it important to create a weekly schedule?

A weekly schedule not only keeps you on track with your business goals, but it also allows you to effectively make time for other personal experiences and creative projects. It even helps you be a better collaborator to colleagues and clients by ensuring that your tasks are parsed out throughout the week.

You can build your own weekly schedule in Canva with templates like Colorful Illustrated Weekly Calendar and the Blue Wave Pattern Weekly Schedule Planner. Customize it to fit your needs—adding brand logos, color palettes, and ready-made illustrations. Then print out your calendar or use it digitally to fill in your appointments and stay on track towards your weekly goals. You can even collaborate with colleagues on your designs by clicking “Share” and entering their email addresses.

What are the strategies for planning your weekly schedule?

Aside from creating themed days like Dorsey, there is a variety of strategies you can use to plan your weekly schedule and improve productivity.

Let’s take a look.

Set aside one day or block for planning

Set aside time to plan. Image by Glenn Carsten-Peters via Unsplash

The late French President François Mitterrand said, “Donner du temps au temps,” or “Give time for time.” You can heed this advice and set aside time to plan your schedule each week, or even each day.

As high-performance coach Liz Huber wrote, “I plan for planning time (how ironic) on my weekends so I can get a head start of the week. If I know how my week will look like by the time I am in the office on Monday morning, I am not only more focused on actually getting my work done but also a lot less stressed.”

She recommends creating a weekly planning checklist to ensure you fit in all of your professional and personal priorities. Her checklist includes three blocks for projects, weekly date nights, three workouts, relaxation times, and chores. This strategy helped Huber cut down her planning time from three hours to 30 minutes.

Create weekly goals and daily goals

Your weekly schedule should provide a bird’s-eye view of your week as well as a granular look at your daily objectives.

For example, executive coach Rafael Sarandeses recommends setting five weekly goals and three daily goals to accomplish throughout the week. The daily tasks might be simple to-dos or they could be tasks that contribute to those overall, weekly goals.

“The idea is to combine an excellent weekly view of what matters with a daily commitment to get at least 3 relevant tasks done,” he wrote. “[Daily] tasks may [be tasks] that don’t take that much energy or time to complete, but that have a tangible impact on my progress.”

If you build your weekly schedule in Canva, you can use templates like Geometric Colorful Daily Calendar or the General Weekly Schedule with built-in sections for jotting down notes and outlining goals.

Related: Find more customizable templates for weekly schedule in the Canva library by clicking the link.

Decide when to do “deep work”

Motivational reads by Jeroen den Otter via Unsplash

Have you ever been so focused on a task that the world around you fell away and you lost track of time? You were likely caught doing deep work. This concept is unpacked in professor Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task,” he wrote. “It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time … And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep—spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media…”

When planning your weekly schedule, make sure you’re not just filling your calendar with menial tasks. Yes, answering emails and attending meetings is important. But it’s also crucial to carve out time for deep work, such as writing that next blog post or diving into that brainstorming session.

Try “The Da Vinci Schedule”

Analog timepiece by Djim Loic via Unsplash

Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, painter, sculptor, Renaissance thinker—and master scheduler. That’s why entrepreneur Adrian Iliopoulos created “The Da Vinci Schedule,” inspired by the man and his quote, “Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings a blessed death.”

Here’s a look at what it involves:

  • Start planning your week on Sunday evening at 8:00 PM. Use this time to reflect on the past week and set your goals.
  • Divide your week across the following categories: Deep work, administrative work, meetings, fitness, networking, and play

This scheduling method also includes tips like writing down your five most important tasks of the day and rating them based on priority and building a detailed morning routine that could span three hours and include exercise, personal hygiene, breakfast, and catching up on the news.

How can you maintain your weekly schedule?

Starting your weekly schedule is just the first step. The next step is tougher—maintaining and optimizing that schedule week after week.

One of the best ways to ensure that you stick to your planning is by auditing your calendars each week or month. This requires reviewing your past calendars, cataloging your activities, dividing them into buckets of priorities, and assessing whether you’re spending enough time working towards your biggest goals.

Once you make this auditing process a habit, you can continuously improve your weekly schedule and better understand how to allocate your time going forward.

Start building and maintaining your weekly schedule today with Canva templates like Colorful Dotted Weekly Calendar or the Yellow Sprinkles Weekly Schedule Planner. Download it as it comes, or make it your own by adding graphics, illustrations, and colors that match your calendar preferences and design aesthetic.

Looking for more productivity tips? Learn how to create an effective schedule to ensure that you're managing your time efficiently. Read up on the ultimate guide to creating a checklist to make sure you're getting all things done. Then, get creative as you plot and personalize using Canva's Calendars for any day of the week.

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