3 Tips for Developing a Habit of Planning
Shown above: Well Planned Day Large Family Homeschool Planner
Did you know planning has to be a habit?
Every time I hit an “off” week, the reason behind it is usually pretty obvious when I look at my planner. It’s either very empty or very chaotic. Bottom line: I didn’t tackle the week and prioritize building a habit of planning.
Build a Habit of Planning by Setting a Weekly Time
The easiest way to keep planning prioritized is by setting a specific weekly time that helps you create a habit of planning. It’s not enough to work through ASPIRE, create goals, and then expect every week to just fall into place. You have to invest the time necessary to review the week you’ve just finished, compare it to your benchmarks, and get a handle on the week ahead. And the only way to consistently accomplish this is by setting aside a specific time each week to do that evaluation. It doesn’t take long! But those few minutes are absolutely critical to success.
Planning each week will save you a great deal of time and energy. But in order to save time, you have to prioritize building your habit of planning.
Why don’t you stop right now and pick your planning time? Write down the day and time and put it in a place where you won’t forget it (like your planner!). Then stick to it! Trust me when I say that it’s a habit worth building!
I’m about to sound like a broken record, but I’m going to say it again anyway. The biggest reason that we fail in our attempts to build a habit of planning is because we neglect to prioritize time to plan.
Strengthen a Habit of Planning by Planning One Week at a Time
But, that’s not the only reason we fail. Another major issue with developing a habit of planning is that we try to plan too much at once.
We often confuse goal-setting with planning. That’s why the ACHIEVE method distinguishes them into very distinct steps.
When we set goals, we get a big picture idea of what’s ahead of us. For instance, your goal may include helping your ninth grader make it through Algebra 1 between mid-August and mid-May. You may even have benchmarks laid out, helping you know where your student needs to be every six weeks to accomplish this goal. Planning, meanwhile, is laying out the daily and weekly tasks necessary to meet that goal.
But if you lay out every single day’s assignments from Day 1 in August to Day 180 in May, you’re going to get frustrated. Why? Because something unexpected will always happen over the course of that 180 days to throw the plan for a loop.
The first time your plan falls apart (and it will!), it’s so easy to get frustrated and give up. The simple solution is to not plan so far ahead! Set your large goals, then break them down into six-week benchmarks. Next, determine what you need to accomplish next week to stay on track for meeting your first benchmark. That’s it. Just next week.
Finally, prioritize within those tasks. Whether it’s a list for home management or assignments for homeschool, make note of the most important subjects and tasks. If something unexpected comes up this week, what must be completed and what can slide?
And you’re done! You have a plan for the coming week and a plan for dealing with unexpected challenges.
Solidify a Habit of Planning by Checking Off Priorities Every Day
You have to prioritize planning time in order to succeed in planning. Have you heard that from me once or twice?
That’s true when creating the big picture by setting goals and a schedule; it’s true on a weekly basis when reviewing the previous week and setting a plan for the new week; and it’s also true on a daily basis. Every single day, it’s important to set aside a few minutes to evaluate priorities and then check off what you’ve completed. If you do this daily, it doesn’t take long at all — rarely more than five minutes! But, those few minutes can save you a fortune in time over the course of the week or month.
First thing each morning, look at your planner to see what your priorities for the day are. Start with those, then work your way down. At the end of the day, review your list. Is there anything left? Move it to another day (it doesn’t automatically have to be tomorrow), then mark your priorities for the next day.
Your planner makes it easy to stay on top of priorities. I’ve included little checkboxes on the weekly spread where you can number priorities or check off completed tasks. You can see at a glance what needs to take precedence each day.
And the more you practice planning each week and reviewing each day, the more you will find that you’re developing a solid habit of planning!
I really need a better plan
I homeschooled our 2 kids off and on during elementary and middle school. And now our youngest wants to homeschool for 10-12th grade. High school homeschool scares me, so I definitely need as many tips and ideas as I can to make sure we are successful. Thanks for this post!
High school has been my favorite!! The keys are finding solid curriculum that teaches the concepts clearly, being willing to learn alongside your student, making plenty of space for discussion (teens really need to freely talk out their ideas and opinions — and some of them won’t agree with yours, which is not a bad thing), and being willing to outsource when needed. It really is a delightful stage of learning!
Hoping this will be a great year
A friend of mine once advised – plan once a month and once a week. I think that’s a great idea. BUt I do need to get more organized with that and other things.
Hoping this will give us usable information.
I like to preplan for the entire year, to see where we will be and when… and then get aggravated when it all blows up in my face! I think it is the public school teacher in me… where my administration wanted semester-by-semester plans. Deschooling (again) for 2 weeks and then getting back to it. Here’s hoping I can find something to help on this site.
Awesome info, I need to get better at planning. I will keep following your posts
Excited to learn more!!!
When we are in routine/habits, our weeks are so much more productive and smoother!
This makes a lot of sense. We have to plan and review the plan constantly to see if we’re on track. If we wait too long to revisit, we may find ourselves completely off track.
This! I want to try to plan way too much at once! I need to give myself grace and not overwhelm myself.
I’m hoping to be more consistent with planning this year!
Planning = freedom ! I need to stick to my plans ! 🙂
Most of our stuff is ready made, online curriculum. I do however need to do better at planning our day so everyone gets a decent amount of work done
I’ve tried planning but seem to fail miserably at trying to keep up with 3 different little calendars. That was the only way I could think to keep 3 kids differentiated. Luckily I only have 1 child I really stress over, the 9th grader. I am still trying to fix the problems our grand public school caused with their “no left behind” and “common core” math fiasco.
I usually plan on Sunday evenings, and I will often sync with my husband during that time as well. It is so helpful to wrap my mind about what is happening in the week ahead. We are in the middle of a cross-country move and our schedule is all over the map (pun intended!). I’m eager to get back into a routine of planning each week.
I’m so excited to see this page. It has a lot to offer and get me organized.
Love this and saving! I’m hoping to be much more organized this year
It’s good to read now that it’s suggested to plan one week at a time. I was just going to start planning out the entire year in one sitting!
I always set out a plan, but deviate from it. I want to make time to organize and plan every morning, but it has definitely been trying to do so.
I’ve been trying to plan my day to day schedule but I’ve always forgot or messed it up. These definitely helps me to plan my day better and hopefully I’ll be able to follow it through! Fingers crossed*
Definitely good ideas! I’m new to homeschooling, so all tips and tricks are helpful
Good idea to plan 1 week at a time. I like to plan out a month or more and it does get overwelming
I often confuse goal setting with planning and then get overwhelmed and end up just tossing everything. I do like the idea of setting up daily and weekly plan with just the basic priorities that way it’s not too overwhelming and I’m building a habit.
I think I have often planned too much at once, partly because I know I haven’t planned the weekly time to evaluate and plan. This is a helpful post!
I’d like to plan more…
Thank you for these tips!
I plan for everything! I have 2 special needs children and one rowdy boy. We have to plan out our every week due to therapies. We have plans for all our trips each week and sometimes I’m planning ahead on those. For our curriculum I plan out the whole school year that way I know what we need to do and how we can fit in everything else into our schedules.
I am always looking for ways to improve in time management AND organization.
I’m going to start homeschooling my kiddos this fall. I’m so excited but I also know it will be WORK. I’m glad there are planning tools and resources to help make things a bit easier.
Thank you for all the amazing information!!
This is exactly what I have been looking for!! Thank you!!!
Linda Van Kirk
After homeschooling my children K-12, I am now heading into the realm of homeschooling my grandchildren! Couldn’t be more excited to leave a legacy of the importance of education!! Love your products to utilize!!
Jennie L Newman
I’m trying really hard to get a plan in place. Not only am I starting homeschooling for the first time this year but I also have a job a run from home plus a 1 1/2 year old.
I need to get better at planning!
Looking forward to learning more!
I’m planning to work on Charlotte Mason’s Habits for the kids and I need to work on my own! This would be perfect to help me get a jump start on myself!
My son starts pre-k this year and I’ve been looking into home schooling him. This is really helpful.
Yes, love this!!!!
Any help to be organized is so appreciated.
I absolutely try to plan too much in a day! Ha ha! Thank you so much for your insight, can’t wait to get better and better at some new habits.
Great tips! I always feel so much more accomplished if I have a list I can check off.
This was our 2nd year homeschooling. I have 6 littles from age 12-4. These last 2 years have been trial and error. I don’t like feeling unprepared or that I am failing my kids. I need guidance with planning and schedules. Organization started out great but I quickly got overwhelmed looking at the curriculum schedules. Help! Homeschool mom of 6!
We’ll! This is one of those blog posts I never knew I needed! Thank you for sharing with us!❤️
I love checklists! They make me feel so accomplished but prioritizing the list makes me so much more organized.
I’m terrible at planning so I hope to get better.
I need help figuring out how to plan through chaos. Hubby would rather have organized chaos and that just causes me stress. Any advice I would love.
I love the idea of planning 1 week at a time. Especially with a 2 month old baby, I need to make planning a habit!
Love all the wonderful tools to help stay organized!
These are such great reminders! Taking it one week at a time and scheduling a specific day and time to plan are game changers.
I have learned to set time each week to plan out our homeschool day. It’s helps to keep everything organized and helps our day run smoothly.
I love your resources
It’s like this was written directly to me… haha! I always start out with the best of intentions regarding planning— and then get discouraged if I miss a day or two, which makes me feel behind and it’s intimidating trying to catch up. Setting aside a specific time dedicated to planning should help!!
I cannot wait to use this to help me with homeschooling my 2 kids this year.
I usually plan out a week at a time. It has worked for us so far.
Thanks so much for sharing and for the opportunity to get a free planner
As a new homeschooler, I am looking forward to staying as organized as humanly possible . I’m also
Looking forward to utilizing tools and Facebook groups, blogs , etc to do so .
In so excited about this homeschool year
So glad I stumbled on to this. Planning is the hardest part for me when it comes to homeschooling. I’m trying to learn as I go but we are starting year 3 and I feel like I’m no better than year 1. Hopefully this helps me stay motivated to plan!
Thank you for this. I always want to plan but only plan for a month.
I struggle to get my grades for the week completed on time and it often moves into the following week. This year I’ve freed up our Fridays and made a plan to have the papers graded before noon each week
Excited about the upcoming year!
I love these tips. I am trying to learn how to be a better planner in our school schedule. I can plan anything else, but this has been hard. I think it is where i try to plan so much instead of a week at a time.
Excited to learn more and grow to be as successful as possibly homeschooling!
This is great! Thanks!
Wonderful advice! ❤️
Planning is what I’m most nervous about as a new homeschooler! I’m trying to improve many habits in my life, and I think getting organized is where I need to start.
Can’t wait for all this info and help!
I love the wealth of planning resources that Wellplannedgal has to offer!
Great advice! It’s hard to start and keep a habit.
Love these ideas!
Wow thank you!
Thanks for all your ideas! -Adelheid
I love the floral options you have. I need help as it’s my first official year
I definitely need to have a better plan. Gotta build that habit of creating a plan and sticking to it.
I love being a flexible person, but hate when things don’t happen due to my poor planning, looking for a happy medium!
This year we are working with various different new types of assignments. I definitely need all the help I can get with planning out all of it.
This is super helpful! I need to be better with my planning. When I don’t, I feel more overwhelmed.
I love your site and I’m learning a lot from you – thanks!
As a busy mom of two. All of your information is so helpful!! Thank you for taking the time to put it out there for all of us needing some organization in our homeschools. God bless you!
Best planner!! Absolutely stunning!
I struggle with alot of what I call brain fog and forgetfulness due to my high anxiety and my other health issues. I would love to have everything planned out better, but it’s a big struggle. So hopefully I can do better after learning from you.
I’m excited to have my mom help me plan this year!
Looking forward to a new year with tools to help us be more productive.
I love planning! It makes me feel happy and optimistic. Thanks for the tips!
I definitely need to plan better. Most of the time I am just planning for the day. I would like to start doing weekly plans.
Thank you for the tips and encouragement! I enjoy planning, and the feeling of accomplishment it gives me, but I have a hard time working up the motivation to actually plan because I want to make it more complicated than it should be (stickers, pretty writing, lists everywhere, etc).