How to plan your week in less than an hour

** This is a guest post by Alex Weaver. Scroll down to read more about her! **

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed throughout the week with so much to do? Do you procrastinate your chores, homework, errands, or other tasks and then feel rushed to get it all done in one day? Well, I have a method for planning your week that will allow you to plan your schedule, spread out your tasks throughout the week, and set goals for yourself.

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First things first, you need to know what you need to do for the upcoming week. This can be done many ways. Some people pre-plan using sticky notes, others preplan in another planner. Some people use weekly sticky notes to write out events. It is important to keep track of upcoming events so that when you sit down to plan you don’t forget anything, and you can appropriately schedule your time. Once you pre-plan your week with the big events, you can take a look at the other things that you need to do.

 

Some events have to be completed on a given day, so make sure you allot time for that event. I suggest keeping a running list of errands, chores, and other tasks that you need to accomplish the next week. Then, when you sit down to plan, look at errands you may need to run throughout the week. Do you want to grocery shop, run to the post office, get your hair done, and pick up dry cleaning all in the same day? Do you want to space these errands out so you have less going on each day? It’s up to you. But remember that each of these errands, tasks, or chores take time and you need to make sure you have time to do it on the days you schedule it.

 

After you plan your events and errands, you can tackle your to-do list. Your to-do list may include tasks that you want to get done during the week but don’t have an exact time frame. These events you may want to space out as well, or maybe you want to do them all at once. It depends on you and your schedule. Say I have to do 2 papers, read some chapters, do laundry, clean the house, and more. Personally, I don’t want to do this all in one day. Instead I may delegate one task per day.

 

The last step to planning a successful week is setting goals. This can be anything you want. Maybe you want to not eat out that week. Or you want to journal everyday, or keep track of your meals. Whatever it is, writing this down and tracking it will make that goal more concrete and will encourage you to stick to it. You can track these goals using habit trackers or creating a habit tracker sheet in your planner. Setting goals is all about improving yourself--don’t set goals that you know you won’t keep, or that you don’t want to complete. Once you make it through a week and you fulfill your goal, you will feel great and accountable for your actions.

 

The key to successfully planning your week within an hour or less is that once you create a schedule, stick to it (as best as you can). Once you decide your schedule doesn’t matter, you will procrastinate and then you will end up having to complete all of your tasks in one or two days, and personally, that causes extreme anxiety for me. So to plan a week in an hour or less, it is essential that you:

  1. Pre-plan
  2. Schedule your events, errands, and other tasks.
  3. Delegate your to-do list.
  4. Set personal goals.

 

I hope these tips help you plan in a more efficient way and help you not be lost at the beginning of the week. Delegating my time is one of the most effective strategies I have encountered so that I don’t feel overwhelmed because I procrastinate.

 

Thank you for reading!

Alex

 

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Alex Weaver is a 21 year old college student in Omaha, Nebraska studying Early Childhood Education and aspires to be a teacher to young children. Alex utilizes her planner and other organization tips to ensure success in her classes. Her Instagram (@craftycollegestudent) shows her weekly planner spreads, crafty hauls, and more.  head over to her blog craftycollegestudent.com for more amazing blog posts like this one! 

Should you use a paper planner ?

Did you know that there is a lot of science that goes into the idea of using a paper planner? Trust me when I say that I didn’t believe it myself, but after a lot of thought, it makes sense.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled “Why You Should Use a Paper Planner.” In this post, I highlighted specific moments where a paper planner would be a valuable tool. What I didn’t do is explain why. I realize now that I didn’t focus on that aspect because I wasn’t quite sure myself. During this time, it just so happened that I was approached by a woman who told me about her science based planner, NEUROPLANNER, and it made me want to learn more. There’s far more psychology to using a planner than most of us could ever think.

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 >>check out best planners for moms HERE by estyslife<<

With the current state of the planner market, it’s a great time to jump in and purchase one whether for yourself or for someone else. The wide variety of products that exist means that there is something for everyone. While digital products start to rule the world, there’s a lot to be said about using a product made with paper. The variety of products that exist means that a lot of things can be taken care of and formed to your needs. It’s very easy to maintain and create excellent habits and even assist in the education of future generations.

 

An added feature that’s often found in many planners within the planner community are habit trackers. These added habit trackers allow for personal accountability and helps create healthy and important habits. These habits range from not biting your nails to making sure that you schedule time for yourself. Being able to schedule these tasks is helpful and important for a lot of planners. These habit trackers have helped many planners on their weight loss and weight gain journeys. Going even further, the use of trackers, in general, have helped many couples conceive their first child and provide medical professionals a more in depth approach into their patient’s lives. They have helped others find success in multiple aspects of their lives, by providing a simple and easy to use tool. In fact, these habit trackers go a lot further than just helping the every-day college aged adult. For the younger generations, planners add a lot more.

 

One of the things that more schools should take note of in the United States are the true importance of planners. A lot of educational tools are found digitally, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has the accessibility to these tools. Paper planners range in pricing and style allowing for the most flexibility for someone just learning how to use one. By instilling proper planner habits early, it’s almost guaranteed that a young student will be set for success through their educational career. However, there is a difference between just providing the tools to success and showing someone how to use it. Young students should not only be provided the tools, but educated on helpful techniques to make the process not seem like a chore. From personal experience and from talking to my friends with school-aged children, the use of paper planners is seen with resentment. By forcing children to utilize their planners in one specific way it takes away from the different learning styles that a child has. While I understand the need for some educational professionals to have a planner be presented a specific way, it doesn’t mean that a child shouldn’t be allowed to have their own system that works for them. Planning at the elementary and primary school level should be a system of give and take and become a partnership. Finding a middle ground and fostering these habits early on will be a tool that guides a child through their whole life.

 

In addition to providing tools for life, a lot of planners find that their overall productivity has greatly benefited from writing their tasks down. Being able to see the tasks at hand and prioritize them as needed leads to overall boosts in productivity. Whether large tasks are handled first versus multiple smaller and manageable tasks being taken care of first – it doesn’t matter! The planner owner is able to better delegate the tasks that they have and figure out whether they need to stretch them throughout the week or fit them in one day. This allows for an aid in a better work-life balance and overall happiness.

 

Why does having a paper planner lead to these success stories? As it turns out, it all comes down to science and the psychology of how our brains function. For a lot of us, the use of a paper planner is due to the way our brain responds to a tactile motion. The very act of writing a task down is what causes us to become more productive and manage our everyday lives. However, the truth of the matter comes down to the selfishness of our brains function. The hidden meaning behind paper planning aiding in success is it stems from the reward center in our brains. Being able to take a physical task and check it off a list leads to a feeling of accomplishment. By feeling accomplished, you become happy. When you’re happy, it’s easier to accomplish even more. While plenty of digital formats for planners exist, the tactile response plays tricks with our minds and helps us find pure bliss. The benefits of using a planner far outweigh any possible negative issues that might arise.


To anyone who asks, I will always recommend having a paper planner on hand. There are certain things that digital products won’t be able to truly reproduce. There are dozens of studies that prove the benefits of writing things down versus typing them on a computer. A quick search on Google proves this theory and will prove it for years to come. Sometimes the very basics are what we need – not fancy gadgetry. If you’re looking to maintain a productive lifestyle, go out and buy yourself a paper planner; you’ll only be thanking yourself at the end of the day

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Caitlyn Storm

is the owner and founder of PlannerBabes.com, a website devoted to helping you find and use your perfect planner. After being a part of the planner community for the past few years, she discovered a need for resources and tools to be found in one place. When not working on content for Planner Babes, Caitlyn can be found spending time with her fiancé Chris and her dog Rico. 

Planning for your blog in a Bullet Journal

 **This is a guest post ! Please see the bottom for author details.

Since I have been blogging over at Productive Happiness, I discovered that my best ally to make things run smoothly for the blog has been my Bullet Journal. Planning in my Bujo has allowed me to write better blog posts, be more efficient with my posting schedule and manage my social media presence seamlessly. I’ve also been able to visually track my progress and course correct over time for better results. I just can’t live without. In today’s article, I’ll be taking you through my journal with real-life examples of how I use my Bujo in my blogging process.

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What exactly is a Bullet Journal?

Maybe you are wondering what exactly is a Bullet Journal. In a nutshell, it is any blank notebook in which you write down your tasks, projects, lists and everything you want to keep track of. The principle is to rapidly log your ideas as the day goes by, using bullets, or signifiers to keep track of what type of items you are writing down. If you’d like to know more about the Bullet Journal method, I suggest you start by reading this in-depth article. But the tips I am going to offer you today can be applied in any notebook, even if you are not following the basic Bullet Journal format.

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Every step of the way

 Brainstorming

The Bullet Journal has you covered every step of the way for your blogging needs. The first step that I like to go through before I write any article is brainstorming. I also like to brainstorm for new products, collaborations and social media ideas. My preferred method for brainstorming is the classic mind-map, a visual tool used to represent the different parts of a given topic. Here’s a mind-map I created when I was brainstorming the themes I wanted to cover in my blog.

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Planning

There are a few steps that I like to go through while planning my articles and products, after I have properly brainstormed. First, I like to fit my articles into an editorial calendar. I make sure that I cover most themes of my blog in any given month and that seasonal articles are planned for. I like to share a brand-new article every Tuesday and repost an older article every Thursday. In my editorial calendar, I choose every topics a month in advance. Here’s one of my previous editorial calendar :

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Weekly plan

Once my topics are selected for the month, I need to make sure that I remember to prepare, take pictures and write in time for the deadline. I use my weekly spread to keep track of the tasks I need to get done in the next week. I usually plan my week every Sunday afternoons. If you'd like to know more about my weekly planning process, I have written a full article (with tons of pictures) taking you through each step. Here’s an example of my weekly spread :

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Planning for social media

I like to follow a basic schedule for social media. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I share one of my articles, on Saturdays, I share an article from one of the many blogs I follow. On Fridays, I share a video on my Facebook page, etc. This is my basic schedule, and on Sunday, I select the specific topics I'll be covering on my different social feeds. Instagram is what takes the most effort to plan. Here’s what my plan for last week looks like :

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Planning my ideal week

I like to keep a draft of what I would like my weeks to look like. I like to theme my days, for example Mondays are for writing, Wednesdays are for strategic thinking and planning and Fridays are for reviews and stats tracking. It helps me spread my tasks over the week and put me in the right mood for different tasks at different moments. I keep a visual representation of my ideal week in my Bullet Journal and tweak it as needed.

Writing

Before I sit down to write any blog post, I look at my brainstorming mind-map and draft an outline of what I want my article to look like. An outline is a simple plan, with indented bullets for the different parts of the article in chronological order. You do not need to write any complete sentences, just a few words are sufficient. Here's my outline for today's article
 

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Tracking

I have to admit that I am a data freak. I think that my favorite part of planning for Productive Happiness is tracking my stats and analyzing the results. My goal is to learn from my mistakes AND my successes in order to keep improving my blog and my income. A basic stats tracker along with a space designated to journaling is what helps me keep on track of what’s working and what’s not.

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At the end of the month, I like to compare my stats with those of the previous months to see if I am progressing or not. So far, I am thrilled to report that my stats are booming! My comparative stats tracker is super simple, but clear enough to spot patterns and trends.

As you see, there is a lot you can get accomplished for your blog using the Bullet Journal method. Every part of the blog is covered, allowing you to brainstorm, plan, write and track your stats. Since the Bullet Journal is so customizable, you can tailor your notebook to your specific needs and tweak your system at any time. And most of all, the journaling process is fun, creative and so relaxing! Give it a try, I am sure you’ll find something to love in the process.

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Anick

Anick Globensky-Bromow is a productivity Blogger with a focus on helping her readers take their happiness in hands. Over at Productive Happiness, she writes about the Bullet Journal, productivity tips and techniques as well as happiness hacks in her weekly blog posts. You can follow her on Instagram for Bullet Journal goodness and on Facebook for her weekly videos.  

How to outsource your vacation plans & boost productivity in the process

** This is a guest post. Please be sure to scroll to the bottom to read about the author!

Have you ever had the desire to travel but put off the idea because it seemed like too much work to plan?  Or have you ever thought, "I need a vacation..." but then felt too anxious to step away from your business or your responsibilities for a week?  Vacations are fun, refreshing, and necessary.  Planning them can be a lot of work.  Here's the secret to outsourcing your travel plans so you can keep focusing on the important things.

 

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Why We All Need a Vacation

No matter who you are, you need a vacation now and then.  It is an important source of self-care.  Stepping away from your home and your desk helps you to recharge and allows your brain to flex a different set of muscles.  When you interrupt your daily schedule and place yourself in a different environment, you open yourself up to new ideas and an influx of creative thinking.

In my last job I worked as an aerospace engineer at a launch company in Central California.  During launch seasons I would put in up to 60 hours a week and then go home to work on my blog.  It was exhausting.  But one of the best ways I found to recharge was a weekend trip to Disneyland.  Instead of focusing on task lists, procedures, and contingency plans I could spend a weekend focusing on imagination, positivity, and family.  In fact, I got some of my best ideas wandering through Tomorrowland.  That mini-vacation was just what I needed to head back into my job with a clear head and renewed energy.

How to Outsource Your Vacation Plans

So how do you plan a vacation when you already have too much on your to do list?  You outsource it.  Travel agents and full-service vacation planners are on the rise.  They can assist you with anything from simple weekend trips to global adventures.  Their services go beyond booking hotels and flights and include features such as the following: providing customized itineraries, booking activities and dining, providing personalized recommendations, answering questions,  and serving as a concierge throughout the entire process.  The best part is that often these services are available at no additional cost when you book with the agent.

Choose your destination and research travel agents that specialize in that type of trip.  You want someone who knows more than simply what hotels are in the area (you can discover that yourself); find someone you can connect with who truly understands what you're looking for in your vacation.

My business is centered on Disney, so I like to joke that I act as a "personal Fairy Godmother".  My goal is to handle all of the research, phone calls, emails, and planning so my clients can free up their time to focus on their other priorities.  I also love to come up with creative ideas that allow my clients to be fully present in the moment and feel completely free to enjoy their time away.  Your time leading up to a vacation should be filled with excitement and anticipation, not more stress!

Disney's Aulani Resort &amp; Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii

Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii

 

How to Stay Productive While on Vacation

Speaking of which, how do you take a vacation when you have a job that needs you?  It's been estimated that over 40% of Americans who receive paid time off don't plan on using all of their vacation days.  That number doesn't even take into account the many self-employed business owners who feel like they can't leave their business for a week.  Everyone deserves a great vacation. The two keys to enabling yourself to travel are planning and automation.

When I plan a vacation for myself, one of the first things I do is look at my work calendar.  What deadlines do I have that fall during that week?  What major projects do I have coming up?  I make three lists: what needs to get done before I leave, what has to get done during my trip, and what needs to get done as soon as I get back.  I minimize each of these lists by evaluating the priority of each task.

My next step is to get ahead on routine work that would need to be completed that week.  This includes social media posts, blog posts, follow ups, and newsletters.  The secret here is automation!  I write my content and emails in advance and schedule them to go out during my trip.

Due to the nature of my job, sometimes I have deadlines fall during my trips that cannot be moved.  This is when I make sure to set aside some time during my vacation to stay productive.  I check that my hotels have sufficient Wi-Fi and schedule specific time blocks to get done what needs to get done.  Then I put work away and go back to enjoying my trip and my family.

How to Let Your Vacation Fuel Your Productivity

Vacations are a great tool we have for boosting our own productivity.  The anticipation of an exciting trip helps us to push through the stressful moments and the boring routines.  Upon our return, we find that we can face our work with a fresh mind.

Here are a few easy ways to continue the benefits of the experience long after you sit back down in your office:

  • Frame some photos from your trip or set them as your desktop background
  • Listen to music you enjoyed or create meal plans that include new cuisine you discovered
  • Set aside time each day for creative brainstorming
  • Continue the concept of taking frequent mini-breaks, such as a short walk every 90 minutes
  • Include simple self-care practices into your daily routine
  • Start planning your next vacation

One last tip: Create a list of items to address when you return BEFORE you even leave for your trip.  Be sure to factor in time to sort through emails (you know your inbox will be full, so just plan ahead).  This way you'll be prepared to hit the ground running!

Vacations help us to take care of our bodies, minds, and spirit.  They keep our minds active and they support our productivity long after we return.  Just remember - you don't have to do it alone.


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Jessica Tullino

Jessica Tullino is a concierge vacation planner specializing in Disney Destinations.  She runs Imagineered Vacations, an affiliate of Ears of Experience, LLC.  She helps busy clients plan stress-free trips so they can spend more quality time with their loved ones without adding more projects to their lists.  She is a proud military spouse, a mother of two, and writes weekly for her Disney blog.

Website: www.imagineeredvacations.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/imagineeredvacations

Instagram: www.instagram.com/imagineeredvacations

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/earsbyjess

 

How to Stay Organized During the Semester

**This is a guest post ! Please see the bio below to check out this wonderful contributor

Another August, another year of classes! August and September mark the beginning of most college students’ semesters, and along with that comes the stress and anxiety of preparing for another year of homework, projects, reading, and exams. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate that anxiety, I have some tips that may help reduce anxiety while also improving your success for the semester!

 

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Map out your class schedule

Once you have signed up for classes, I suggest creating a “map” of what your weekly schedule is going to look like. You could do this online via an app such as Google Calendar, or you could create a handwritten grid of your schedule. Having a visual of your classes and free time will allow you to see when you are in class and when you have time outside of class. From here you can start to think of the best times for you to study and work on assignments. For example, I have a 3 hour break twice a week between classes and I have already planned on using that time on campus to complete homework and assignments. I also put this schedule in my planner so that I can easily flip to it and see my schedule.

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Assignment Schedule

One of the newest things I have utilized for the upcoming semester is creating an assignment schedule. Once you have all of your syllabi for your classes you can begin to map out your entire semester based on due dates that are provided. I use google sheets, but you can also use a word document, excel, or a similar program. I color code the months, and categorize assignments based on the due date, class, and a description of the assignment. This digital schedule is easily accessible and shows a linear outlook on your semester. This can also be printed and put in your planner for more accessibility! 

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Study Schedule

Once you have mapped your class schedule and your assignment schedule, you can sit down and determine what tasks need priority on a week-to-week basis. I suggest doing this on Sunday or at the beginning of your week depending on your class schedule. You can use the same program for your assignment schedule or google calendar for this. Looking at your class schedule and referencing your assignment schedule, you can allot time during the week to complete assignments for that week or the upcoming week. This can keep you focused and on task during the semester by allowing you to visualize what assignments need to be completed when. This can also prevent procrastination, the more you plan and stick to your plan, the less you will be rushing assignments at the last minute. 

 

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Organizing Paperwork

During the first week of classes you are typically given many forms, paperwork, and syllabi. What do you do with all of that? Instead of putting it in your backpack to be forgotten, create a system that can keep you organized all year. I use folders and binders to organize important forms that I do not want to lose. I have a folder for all of my class syllabi, a folder for assignment schedules (if provided), and a third folder for important paperwork that doesn’t fit with the other two. I keep all three folders in one binder and label it “Important Papers” or something similar. 

Plant time for YOU

It’s easy to get swept up in the business of college life. For me, being constantly busy and working on assignments can cause me to stress out if I don’t have any free time. Over the last few years I have learned how important it is to plan out time to relax and rejuvenate yourself for the week. This can be anything from taking a bubble bath, doing your nails, taking a nap, relaxing and watching a movie or a tv show, anything that makes you excited and relaxed. This should be a time that you look forward to that motivates you to get work done; it is a reward for your own hard work. I schedule time usually on the weekend to do my nails and it is a calming and relaxing time for me to forget the stress of classes for a few hours!

There are my most popular tips and tricks for preparing for a successful and organized semester. Many of these ideas are not originally my own; I combine a variety of strategies I have witnessed from many other people via pinterest, youtube, and instagram. These are great resources to look to if you want to learn more ways to organize and prepare for college, or life in general! I hope you take at least one of these tips and see how it can improve your semester. Good luck!

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About Alex

Alex Weaver is a 21 year old college student in Omaha, Nebraska studying Early Childhood Education and aspires to be a teacher to young children. Alex utilizes her planner and other organization tips to ensure success in her classes. Her Instagram (@craftycollegestudent) shows her weekly planner spreads, crafty hauls, and more.