How I Schedule My Weeks
Today I wanted to share with you how I am scheduling my weeks currently. The way I create my schedule has changed a lot since I added in my 1-on-1 coaching, and also picked up studying another course and needed to get more done in less time. Here’s a quick snapshot overview first, and then I’ll go into detail and explain how/why I schedule like this.
Why I Switched From A Paper Journal
I switched from a bullet journal for my personal/work schedule as I was finding I kept needing to erase/move things around, which is much easier to do digitally. I still use a bullet journal to plan my content schedule and ideas, as I can make more mess and be more creative in there.
For my video planning I use the Plan journal from my Plan Train Create collection.
Because I am simply using Google Calendar, I have colour-coded my activities. I wish they had nicer colour options though haha. I find Google calendar is the easiest option for me right now, as it syncs quickly and automatically to my phone, and I am also able to quickly add in my ‘to do’ list each day.
Here’s how my colour code works and some rough examples of what each category might cover:
Reviewing client progress/updates
Writing meal plans
Scheduling training programs
CATCH UPS / TIME OFF
Every weekday evening from 6-7pm is ‘catch up’ time
Also use this colour to signify taking time off
1-on-1 30min Skype/Phone calls with my coaching clients, these happen on a 2-3 weekly basis per client, so some weeks are busier than others
Extra time doing a proper clean EG mopping, vacuuming, windows, etc
Writing blog posts
Photos for Instagram
I find (for me anyway) that an effective schedule needs to have some ‘wiggle room’ incase things get thrown out of whack, which they will. You need to understand which of your tasks are higher priority, these are usually deadline-based (client calls, college work), and which of them are lower priority and can be made up for later on (blogging, cleaning).
Throughout my schedule there are multiple half an hour breaks in the day. These are usually used as time to eat, or time between places (e.g. getting to/from the gym).
I tend to eat whenever I feel the need to, and thus don’t set myself a ‘lunch’ break… I also eat 5-6 meals a day so I’m not going to take an hour off every time that has to happen haha. Whenever it is time to eat I just stop what I’m doing, and pick back up whatever time block I was on when I’m finished eating. I believe for the sake of your stress levels and digestion, it’s good to try and put down what you’re doing to eat, and not try to multi-task through.
I schedule some afternoons off, but never whole days off. On the rare occasion that I am having a super off day where I feel like things aren’t going to get done I will clear my schedule and re-arrange the rest of the week as best I can.
When I Plan
I have my schedule done 2-3 weeks in advanced, just a rough template.
At the start of each week I go through and add my ‘reminders’ into Google Calendar, this acts as a to-do list for me throughout the week, with my tasks prioritised according to what day they’re scheduled in on. This could be things like creating extra downloads for a client, certain video segments I have to film, etc!
Each day I look through my schedule (in the morning) and make adjustments where needed and migrate over any ‘to do’ tasks that weren’t completed from the day before.
I use time blocking in order to be as efficient as possible with my time. What this means is, as soon as a block is over, task down, no questions.
For example, if I was moving from “college work” into “coaching”, I’d save what I was working on, close all my tabs and documents, take 5 minutes to reset myself and then start on coaching.
If I’m having trouble focusing I often set my phone to airplane mode or ‘do not disturb’ mode. The reason that I give myself a few minutes to reset before starting a new task is so that I can get into a ‘flow state’ of working, where I’m able to churn out mass amounts of work in short amounts of time, without being interrupted. The way I can best describe this is that I am so locked in on what I’m doing that I can’t even hear what people are saying to me if someone speaks (which ends up in a delayed, “wait, what’d you say?” as I slowly look up off the screen), I don’t have music on, and I forget about most things going on around me. For me, this 100% the most highly productive segment of time, so I always try to get myself into this, particularly when doing repetitive tasks: college work, workout program scheduling for clients, blog writing, and things like this.
The reason I have no stress/issues with cutting a task as soon as the time block is up is because:
a) I will always know when/where in the week I’ll have a chance to go back to it
b) I have a “catch up” zone at the end of every week day
c) If a deadline needs to be extended, it needs to be extended and that’s all we can do.
Catch Up Zone
You may have noticed that every weekday from 6-7pm is “catch up’ time.
This time can cover anything it needs to, including:
Responding to messages
Replying to emails I didn’t get a chance to earlier
Finishing off a task that was left undone
My day ends at 7pm, the only exception being if I have had to book a client call in after this time to suit their schedule. In order for me to have some work-life balance I need to know when I am finishing, or else I’ll keep finding things for myself to do and end up glued to my computer. I don’t mind starting early in the day as I feel productive in the mornings, but evenings are time to go out for a walk, hang with Mitch, watch a movie, etc.
TO DO LIST
Currently I have been working my to-do list into my calendar rather than writing it out. I did used to use my phone notepad and then a matrix app to sort via ‘important/urgent’ ‘not important/not urgent’ etc, but I’m finding I have the same effect by prioritising which ones need to be done on which day. Here’s an example of my to-do list in order of priority each day. I tack them on to the end of the day but check them off as I work through my time blocks each day.
The day on the left are different segments of a video which needs to be filmed, the day on the right contains creating the thumbnail, doing a voiceover, planning a new video, etc!
Admin and Other Tasks
Tasks like admin, finances, and other little tasks are mostly outsourced in my life, leaving me more time to focus on what I need to do to grow/learn/create.
Mitch and I share the responsibilities of cooking/cleaning and I often do meal preps for us to save time on food.
How I Create The Schedule
Any appointments for the week I am working on are usually already scheduled in, so I work around them. This week doesn’t have any appointments other than my usual coaching calls, so it’s not something I need to consider when designing the schedule.
I always start with my training. The way I do this is by flicking back to the last week and seeing where I’ll be up to in my training split (my training is on a rolling split, it’s not set days per body parts). At current I like to train around mid-morning, as it helps break up my day a little, and it’s usually when gyms are at their emptiest, making it much faster to get around the gym and use what you need when you need it. My training split for the last year has been 3 days on 1 day off, but I’ve been trialling a new method for the last 6 weeks, so currently it’s:
DAY 1 - Back and shoulders
DAY 2 - Legs
DAY 3 - Chest and arms
DAY 4 - Rest
DAY 5 - Morning: legs, Evening: arms and shoulders
DAY 6 - Rest
Repeat over again
I find that for me, scheduling my training in first gives me a basic structure to work off. If you want to try my method you may wish to start with something in your day that has set times, such as work or university - for me those are just wherever I decide to place them.
After filling in my training I write in any videos that I am uploading that week, which will help me decide what ‘to do’ list tasks will be in that week when I get to it.
LARGE TIME BLOCKS
Next I will start scheduling in some of my bigger time blocks and creating a rough timeline for myself, remember, I tend to edit these a tiny bit when it gets to the actual day. I usually begin by putting a YouTube block on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, as I tend to get my hair blow dried around the middle of the day on Tuesday, leaving me time to film when my hair is freshest and I look less like a sweaty gym mess.
CATCH UP ZONES
Once I have a few of the large time blocks in I like to add the catch up zones to the end of my weekdays to signal the end of day. I also have calendar notifications on, so this reminds me when it’s time to start tying up loose ends and packing up for the day.
SMALLER TIME BLOCKS
Now I work on filling in the other time blocks, such as the coaching tasks which need to be done, particularly around calls. A vast majority of my 1-on-1 coaching calls are on a Thursday and Friday, so the scheduling on these days is typically any home-based work which can be switched into/out of very quickly, such as coaching tasks (meal plans etc) and college work.
On weekends I try to have at least one of the days that is focused only on one activity, whether that’s blog writing all day, any YouTube tasks, etc, the day is devoted to one activity as on this day I know I’m likely to want to go outside and do other things if it’s sunny. By scheduling like this I only have a few tasks that need to get done and my day isn’t so jam packed.
At this stage in my life my schedule, and my use of time is very selfish. I also have the luxury of working for myself which creates a varied and flexible schedule. If you are a freelancer I’d recommend giving it a go, it will not only allow you to maximise your output and use time more efficiently, but will also stop you from overworking by creating the balance you need with limitations set in on when you can start/stop work and not let yourself get carried away.