09 Aug

in pursuit of the perfect weekly planner

I’m a really visual person. I need to see my week laid out in front of me on a single page, and because I don’t use a paper diary, I need a weekly planner to do this. I like to have a visual map of my time so I know when I’m committed, and when I can be working on stuff that requires concentration (like my PhD).

On weekdays, I like to plan my day out in blocks of time, assigning an hour or two to particular tasks. These get moved around during the week, but allocating them time helps keep everything in perspective. So my planner needs to have time slots mapped out for weekdays and those time slots need to extend beyond normal business hours, because I start work early and finish late.

The bulk of my work right now is my PhD, and this means I need to focus on micro goals because looking at the big picture is scary as hell. So I need a space to make a note of one or two things I want to achieve in a day. I also need space to note down my focus for the week and to remind myself of my next deadline.

In addition to the diary-style weekday section, I need a section for work I plan to tackle on Saturday (because the reality is I really need to work six days a week). And I need space to write a list of the fun things I’ve got planned for Sunday. This last space is important, because having plans for Sunday helps me keep on track.

I am also trying really hard to stick to a weekly menu plan, and rather than have a separate menu planner, I want to keep track of this on my weekly planner.

That is an extensive list of criteria. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been hunting for a weekly planner that does all of these things for a long time. I’ve looked on Etsy and scoured Pinterest in search of a downloadable planner, but none of them did what I needed them to do. So I finally made my own.

It’s not an example of awesome design but it’s also not ugly. And it’s functional. I’ve tweaked it over the last three weeks to evolve it into the perfect planner. I’ve shared it with a couple of colleagues who have found it useful, so I thought I’d post it here, too. Here’s what it looks like:

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If you would like to use the Word version (which will allow you to customise the planner), you will need to install three fonts:

I’ve made a number of different versions for myself and a couple of friends. Here they all are:

  • The Kate: This is my version of the planner. It includes space to note a focus for the week, upcoming deadlines, a goal for each day, and lunch and dinner plans for each day. Times run 7.30am to 7.30pm. Sunday has space for me to note down fun plans. Word | PDF
  • The Dinnerless Kate: This planner has all the same spaces as the one above except meals. Word | PDF
  • The Kate In Reverse: This planner has all the same spaces as The Kate but the day starts and finishes later and Saturday is fun-day, instead of Sunday. Times run 8.30am to 8pm. Word | PDF
  • The Miss 11: An orange version, with a space for a name. I made this one for a friend’s daughter who has lots of activities to track. Times run 7.30am to 7pm. Sunday is the fun day. No spaces for meals on this one. Word | PDF
  • The Miss 11 Version 2: Another orange version with a space for a name, but this time with times running 6.30am to 8pm. No spaces for meals on this one. Word | PDF

Happy planning!