Taking away the power of the "shoulds" in my weekly planning
There are two reasons I like to colour coordinate, I either have a very busy week ahead and I know, I’ll have to plan everything around the busy and time-consuming part, or I get too introverted and stop socialising with the people around me.
Basics first. How to stick the right colours:
I’ve put the colours in my Bullet Journal Key and wrote the according part it should highlight, next to it (like work, home task etc.). I know it's basic but I still need to remind myself that there are existing spreads and if used as intended, it works. It also helps me to not decide on a whim each week, which colour should highlight which part of my planning.
I started with grouping all the tasks and appointments into three groups, and I later on added an additional group.
When I started colour coordinating my Weekly Log, my intention wasn’t to be more productive but to have a well-balanced week. I still have to work actively against the urge to make every week “my most productive one so far”, #bossgirl.
In my imagination, my ideal week would have it all. Striving at work, getting things done in my free time and very much feeling deserving of doing nothing.
With the intention of having a more well-balanced week all over, the priority in my weekly planning is to have all the colours I want to see for my “ideal week”. No judgment on what the task or appointment is, to not feel like, "I should do more". Do I need to do more? No. Do I want to do more? No. Okay then, let's not do more "add-ons".
How I colour coordinate:
After setting up my Bullet Journal Weekly Log, I first plan out all fixed appointments or tasks and then highlight them with the according colour. "Fixed" doesn't mean only work related work-related things, it could be, meeting up with a friend I already cancelled on one too many times, or something small like doing laundry on a specific day because there’s a work trip or vacation coming up.
After planning all the fixed tasks and appointments, I have a clear overview over if it’s a very productivity driven week, and I have to be mindful about the "add-ons", or if I'll might have the energy for a more active use of my free time.
My week, usually, won't be fully planned through after going through the first step "fixed tasks". With having all the bullet point that can't be moved, highlighted in their according colour, ready, I’m able to add on to each day, as I need / want to, with being realistic about how much energy I'll have left to give within the next 48h.
If one week is very heavy on one colour, I check if there’s a reason for it, and if I'll need to keep an eye on it.
- Are there so many home tasks because there’s a lot to do or am I starting to retrieve from society?
- Is the workload realistic or did I overestimate how many hours there are in a day?
- Am I not doing anything because I’m depressed or because I’m on vacation?
I try to not F%&* with "shoulds":
After filling in all the fixed bullet points, I go ahead and think through the things that "should" be done. With each "should" task I ask myself: - "Do I NEED to do this?" YES / NO
- "Do I WANT to do this?" YES / NO
If one of theses question is answered with "YES", I'll write it down in my Rapid Log, to later fill into my Weekly Log as an "add-on" to the week.
If both is answered with "NO", the tasks go back into the void my "things-that-should-be-done" list is.
With taking away the power from the "shoulds" over the week, I not only get the more intentional about the "needs" but also about the "wants". I learned that not "all that I want is to hang around and do nothing", I do sometimes, but more often my "wants" overlap with the "needs" in a very productive way. Not filling my week with "shoulds" but with intentional "need"-to do and "want"-to do, I unintentionally started to reframe my thought pattern.
I took away the power of the "should" in:
"My week was filled with so many things I should've done but I ended up only doing the things that really needed to be done, or things I wanted to"
and my ideal week now looks like: "I finished all the things that needed to be done this week and I enjoyed things I wanted to do". There's not actual need to should to anything more.
Filling in "add-ons":
I plan my "add-ons" each day (or the evening before). I evaluate how much energy I have to give, and how my week looked so far. I don't plan the whole week ahead. When I did, I ended up having a disconnect on how I thought I’d best spend my time at the beginning of the week and how I wanted or needed to spend my time, when the day came up.
Sometimes I'd rather get something done while I have the energy and motivation for it, but I'm happy to have a reading evening the next day.
It's about learning to internalise my time management. Having everything, colour coordinated, at one glance helps me tremendously. I don't have to read through each task but by just looking at it, I'll have "an informed feeling" on how my week will look like and also be very realistic about how I need to plan out my week, because I can't add hours to a day or exchange my battery pack.
I hope it helped,
Tipps at the end:
- Start simple and add to your planning routine later, to start getting used to colour coordinating. Instead of having all the colours from the beginning, start with deciding on one or two focus spots, and only highlight the tasks/appointments for these two focus spots within your Weekly Log. Learning what to add, while starting small is easier and takes up less of your time in the end.
- Keep one highlighter colour as your “joker” when setting up. I used my joker for the “draining work / appointments”. If there’s one of these popping up in the week, I’ll try to make sure to put less on my plate the day before or after.