Seven Reasons Weekly Task Lists More Sense To Me Than Daily Task Lists

Why I Keep Coming Back To Weekly Planner Layouts

One: You only have to migrate tasks once a week.

I absolutely hate migrating tasks. Nothing is more defeating than migrating a task day after day. It is a waste of time, ink, and paper. I think most people who make daily checklists do this—hats off to the checklists queens who don’t. And I think most of us feel the same feeling of checklist failure when viewing the unchecked tasks at the end of each day. We just don’t know that it’s the system, not always our productivity, that is to blame.

Two: It helps you respect work boundaries.

You don’t have to feel defeated if you get to the end of the day and you only got three-quarters of the way through your last big task. With a weekly task list, you can instead feel excited because you know the time to check it off draweth night. I look forward to my morning cup of coffee and the relish of devoting my morning energy to completing something that would have exhausted me the night before.

Three: You get more done than you expected to.

Your task list magically adjusts to the ebb and flow of life’s demands. Some tasks take longer than expected, and some are finished sooner. Some days are busier with more interruptions and others provide more quiet hours in which to work. Writing down the amount of time each task will take next to the task has never made any sense to me because of this. I suppose it can be a helpful guideline, but so far, it usually ends up frustrating me (planner queens everywhere are hyperventilating).

I use a planner that emphasizes my weekly goals. I can see my whole week’s agenda and goal list on one page. This allows me to sneak in a task when I least expect to be able to. This might be one of the greatest reasons I love my weekly task list system.

It’s like this. With a daily checklist, I will put certain personal goals on the weekend or some other future day. Out of sight is out of mind and if I don’t see the task until Friday or Saturday, I won’t start on it until then. Then what do you think happens when the weekend comes around? All my weekend tasks are waiting to greet me with their loud, needy voices. But with a weekly planner layout or checklist, I get hit with sudden bursts of inspiration at, say, Tuesday at 1pm. “Hey, you have 5 minutes before your daughter’s activity timer goes off! Why not print that document, grab a stamp and get it in the mail!”

Or Wednesday at 9:37pm. Hey, I really could upload those two documents and finish Anneka’s school application. I got a nap in today and I’m not as tired as I usually am.

Get the idea?

The same is true of workouts. Instead of saying, “I will work out every day,” I make a goal of, say, three or four times a week. As long as it’s written down and I can see it, I can grab the moment of opportunity and inspiration, color in one of the squares, and feel inspired that I completed one more weekly workout. Contrast this with the defeat you feel when you miss your daily workout.

Four: Weekly Checklists are highly motivating.

A weekly checklist allows me to be motivated to finish early so that I can begin my weekend celebration. I don’t end up sabotaging my rest time by inventing new tasks. I don’t convince myself that I need to get more done. Instead, I start to feel a sense of accomplishment seeing how far I’ve come in my weekly checklist, one that I have never felt looking at a daily list. Why? Because without looking at my week as a whole, I can never remember what I did the day before. If I approach life only on a daily level, I always feel like I have to prove my productivity all over again. However, with a weekly approach, I can push myself harder one day with the anticipation of resting more the next day. I love the feeling of knowing I deserve to take a break. Looking at all those beautiful, colorful boxes is a visual reminder that I am efficient, hard-working, and have good priorities. This is one of the greatest reasons for paper planning for me—not to motivate myself by making endless lists but to motivate myself by seeing all I’ve accomplished.

(Yes, I like to color in boxes instead of using scratchy checkboxes or x’s, but the principle is the same no matter what you use).

Five: Weekly checklists allow me to break one of my favorite planner rules to break, which is always finish a task before moving on to the next. 

Who invents these rules?

The reason I think this rule is made to be broken is this. Sometimes you simply don’t have the physical or mental energy to finish a task. Sometimes you need to sleep on an idea to give your brain time to percolate on it.

My grandfather lived by the principle that “a change is as good as a rest.” He had many amazing hobbies and excelled at them all. He used time blocking to devote different parts of his day towards different jobs and tasks. He did not worry about whether he had to finish something he started that day, knowing he was devoting focused time to it and it would be there for him the next day. The beauty of his timeless working style is that he practiced time blocking, doing only one thing at a time. This is different from multi-tasking.

And if you write things down, your brain will be able to easily pick up the next day where you left off.

Six: It allows me to practice one of my favorite rules, the ten-minute rule.

I have a ten-minute rule that has served me well. Whenever a new idea comes wandering up to me by way of a co-worker, spouse, or my own brain, and I feel like I just can’t get to it, just can’t cram one more thing into my schedule, I put it on my weekly (or sometimes monthly) task list. Then I say, “I’ll do this for ten minutes, and then I’ll move on.”

I’ve written whole blog posts because I followed my ten-minute rule.

And still finished the rest of my priorities for the day and week.

Seven: I don’t feel guilty for migrating tasks at the end of the week.

Remember how I said I hated migrating tasks? Well, I do. Especially daily. Especially when I’m not sure if I’ve had a productive day.

But when you make a plan at the beginning of the week for everything you’d like to accomplish in the different areas of your life (personal, gamechanger, and work), and you prioritize those tasks to a reasonable degree, then at the end of the week when you look back and see all you’ve accomplished. You will have accomplished a lot. When you do this, you know it’s okay to migrate those last few tasks to the next week. (And don’t forget to cross some off completely—that’s fun, too).

These are some of my main reasons weekly checklists make more sense to me. What about you? Are you a weekly checklist or a daily checklist person? While you’re at it, are you a time-blocker, a list-maker, or both like I am? I’d love to hear from you!

I currently use the Passion Planner. It’s the queen of Weekly Goal Trackers and coached me in much of what I currently practice about goal planning, mind mapping, and celebrating. However, many planner people will need more space. You can apply the principals of weekly goals I wrote about here and have more space by using the Passion Planner in tandem with a blank bullet journal, or in tandem with the new Passion Planner Daily. Day Designer has always impressed me with their weekly layout as well, though there’s no separate space for weekly goals (but you can see your whole week at once and I do like the week’s top three space they have). However, I still end up migrating daily checklists with the Day Designer, which is why I’ve been so hard—core about the Passion Planner.

Finally, and if you don’t want to carry around two planners, two awesome ladies (Chelsea Brown and Reanne Dimick) are coming out with The Amplify Planner soon (reportedly in May). From the pdfs, it promises to be the only dated Monthly/Weekly/Daily planner on the market that I know of.

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