First Published: August 20, 2023 | Last Updated: August 20, 2023

The gist: Learn how to create a weekly reset routine that works for you, including why you need a weekly reset routine, when to do it, what to include in it, and more.

It’s nearly impossible to scroll YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok these days without coming across an influencer with an extremely aesthetic lifestyle doing a weekly reset vlog.

And based on the weekly resets you see on social media, you might think a weekly reset:

  • Is only for people who already have their lives together
  • Needs to take all day (and all your energy)
  • Only “counts” if you reset everything
  • Is just for “that girl,” “hot girls,” or whatever we’re calling The Impossibly Perfect Woman these days

But luckily, none of those things are true.

A weekly reset routine can be whatever you need it to be to feel prepared and ready for the week.

So let’s break down how to make one work for you.

But first, for the unfamiliar…

What is a Weekly Reset Routine?

A weekly reset routine is a ritual you can do at the end of one week and start of another as a way to give yourself a fresh start.

While weekly planning is common, this is more than that.

Sure, most people include planning in their weekly reset, but they also include things like reflecting on the past week, journaling, maybe some cleaning too.

The point of a weekly reset routine is to make the week ahead as easy as possible.

So the routine can include anything and everything that helps you feel prepared and ready for the week ahead.

(Or at least as ready as can be...)

Why You Need a Weekly Reset Routine

Why should you bother with a weekly reset?

Why give yourself all these “chores” on the same day of the week, especially when that’s often a day you could be relaxing and not working?

I understand that line of thinking, and used to think the same way.

But once I tried it, my life got easier, so more relaxing happened anyway.

Maybe not flat-out “easy” (because when is life easy?), but still not quite as hard.

Even if it didn’t change the kind of things that happened during the week, it changed my ability and skill dealing with them.

Here are a few ways it helped me, personally:

It helps “wrap up” the past week in ways that weekly planning doesn’t.

My own flavor of ADHD is the kind that often does 90% of a project and then completely forgets about it and the last 10%.

But weekly resets force me to make time to review the projects I worked on throughout the week, and what work is still left for them, before doing any future planning.

Fewer tasks get forgotten about and more projects actually get finished.

It reminds me of any “wins” and progress I’ve made.

It can be so easy to forget about your wins, and the things you have done, and over-focus on what seemed to go wrong or didn’t get done.

But one way I try to counter that negativity bias and remind myself how great I (sometimes) am, is to have a moment of celebration in my weekly reset routine.

It helps decrease anxiety and stress around the start of a new week.

This one is for my friends who get the Sunday Scaries.

A big part of that “oh no, a new week” feeling, for me at least, is the anxiety of what to expect and the uncertainty of how I’m going to do everything I need to.

And a weekly reset can help with those feelings in a few ways:

  • Sometimes, I’ll see that the week ahead isn’t as bad as I’d thought, and there’s no reason to be stressed.
  • Other times, I’ll see that the week is bad, but can see opportunities to adjust the plan and scale it back a bit, so it won’t be as bad as originally planned.
  • Finally, sometimes it’s just a bad week that can’t be scaled back, but the reset gives me extra time to mentally and literally prepare for the events and projects ahead of me.

But without that weekly reset, I don’t know what kind of week it’s going to be ahead of time, which only makes stress and anxiety worse.

It helps prioritize what really matters.

Finally, giving myself space to think about and prepare for the week ahead helps me plan and prioritize more effectively.

And when you’re neurodivergent, you take all the help you can get with executive functioning tasks like that.

Planning things out, even if it’s just a rought draft, helps me get some distance from the plans and make decisions less reactively. I’m more likely to prioritize things like rest and recreation instead of just work, and less likely to overplan and fall prey to the planning fallacy.

Want some help starting your own weekly reset routine?

Our Weekly Reset Notion template is full of helpful journaling prompts, braindump triggers, and anything else you need to review and plan your week!

flipthrough of weekly reset template on an ipad

When to Do a Weekly Reset

You can do a weekly reset whenever works best for you. After all, the whole point is to help make the week easier, not more difficult.

Most people do them over the weekend, usually on Sundays.

But it’s also common to do them on Friday afternoons or Monday mornings, either last thing before you stop working for the week, or first thing at the start of a new one.

You can do one whenever you like.

Hell, I’ve even done a midweek Wednesday reset during weeks that I’ve needed one.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding when to try yours:

  • Look for a window of 30-60 minutes when you have medium-to-high energy levels. You want to have enough energy to focus, but don’t need to use your highest energy windows on this.
  • Try to find as uninterrupted a time as possible (for example, when coworkers aren’t likely to ask you something or when your kids are asleep).
  • Consider who else you need to involve. Part of my routine, for example, is “syncing up” with my husband on things like chores and finances. So when I do my weekly reset on Sunday nights, I need to make sure to do that part before he goes to bed, even though I normally do the rest later.
  • Consider what information you need to get prepared. If, say, you work an irregular schedule and don’t find out your shifts for the week until Sunday afternoon, you obviously wouldn’t want to try to plan for the week on Saturday. Without knowing when you’re working, you wouldn’t be able to prepare effectively.

What Goes Into a Weekly Reset Routine

Now it’s time to think about what you want to include as part of your weekly reset.

Remember, all productivity is personal, including this.

So exactly what steps you’ll need will depend on your career, responsibilities, living situation, and more.

But generally, anything you include in your weekly reset can fall into three buckets:

  • Reviewing the past week
  • Clearing your mind
  • Preparing and planning for the week ahead

I like breaking the routine down into these smaller chunks because it also makes it easy to split things up if you don’t have time to do everything at once.

For example, sometimes I’ll do my review Sunday morning, the mind clearing Sunday night, and the weekly planning Monday morning.

Making it more modular makes it more flexible and able to fit around the rest of your life.

Let’s look at each individual section and what can go into each.

Phase 1: Review the Past Week

Phase 1 is all about looking back on the past week and seeing what you can take away from it before you “move on.”

The basic steps I recommend including are:

  • Celebrating any wins or progress (no matter how small)
  • Recognizing any “womp womps” (aka mistakes or challenges)
  • Thinking about what you can learn from the week’s wins and womp womps
  • Rating different areas of your life (work, health, relationships, self-care, etc.)
  • Checking in on progress towards long-term goals
  • Review any unfinished tasks or projects (like in a bullet journal migration)

You may also want to review specific types of tasks you accomplished.

For example, as a writer, I also review what / how much content I created. Someone who does a lot of networking in their job might want to review who or how many people they connected with.

Phase 2: Clear Your Mind

Wrapping up the past week will probably bring up a lot of thoughts and ideas. It can leave your head spinning and full.

So the next step is to empty it out.

Phase 2 is a big ole’ braindump.

In the terminology of GTD, it’s time to collect your open loops and clear your inboxes…including the inbox in your brain.

It’s helpful to have a braindump trigger list for this step, but you can also just make an unstructured list, or even journal in long-form and pull out key action items afterward.

Some things you may want to consider here are:

  • Emails, calls, texts, and DMs to reply to
  • Appointments to schedule
  • Shopping list items to buy
  • Errands to run
  • Housework to take care of
  • Delegated tasks to follow up on

Again, you don’t need use these prompts if you don’t find them helpful.

But especially when you’re first building the habit of doing weekly resets, it can be helpful to have some “thought starters.”

You also don’t need to use the same approach every week!

Sometimes I go through my prompt trigger list, sometimes I just journal and let the thoughts pour out.

If you feel tugged towards a certain method, run with it, even if it’s not your usual routine.

Phase 3: Plan the Week Ahead

Finally, it’s time for weekly planning.

And by doing the other steps first, pulling together unfinished business from the week before, open loops from your email and other inboxes, etc., you know you won’t be forgetting about anything important.

You probably won’t be able to fit everything you want to in your plan, so I like to start by adding in the most important and inflexible items and then work in less important things where there’s space.

Here’s the order I recommend:

  1. Block out time for already scheduled events and appointments
  2. Plan what progress you want to make on your most important productive/energy draining projects. Include which specific next actions you’ll take and when (the general day is fine, a specific time is better if you’re a fan of time blocking).
  3. Block out time for the rest and relaxation required to get those energy draining tasks finished.
  4. Add in recurring tasks for routine maintenance around your job, housework, personal care, etc.
  5. Make note of any preparation you need to do for items on your schedule. For example, saving your spot. in a workout class you plan to attend or creating an agenda for a meeting you’re leading.
  6. Select a few "bonus items" you can do if you finish everything else and have energy left (working on projects you’re most excited about as a reward for getting more urgent or important work done can be super effective!)

It can also be helpful to separate your planned tasks into “must do” and “should do,” and to make note of which tasks need to be done on certain days and which can be done any day.

Another way to make your plan more effective and realistic is to add in how long you estimate each task will take. But unless you’ve done a time audit recently, you might not be able to make accurate estimates and it can throw your plan off more than it helps.

Other Ideas to Include in Your Weekly Reset Routine

The above sections outline the most important parts of a weekly reset. But if you want to take it up a notch, there’s a lot more you can add to yours.

You can add absolutely anything that will help you feel prepared for the week ahead!

For example, I like to make sure I take a nap on Sundays, whether or not I feel like I need one, just to make sure I start off the next week as rested as possible.

Feel free to add a nap into yours, too. 😉

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Clear your inboxes (email, social media, snail mail, etc.)
  • Tidy up your workspace
  • Declutter files on your phone & computer
  • Clean up your Notes app (or Notion, or whatever else you use for notetaking)
  • Update your finances / budget / bookkeeping
  • Update any other tracking or analytics you keep track of
  • Clean the house (or just one part of it)
  • Check on your garden or houseplants
  • Plan and/or prepare some of your meals for the week
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Clean out your car
  • Plan out your outfits for the week
  • Plan your workouts / exercise for the week
  • Pick a friend to reach out to
  • Declutter 5 things around the house
  • Spend 15 minutes on a long-term project
  • Charge any devices you don’t charge daily to “top them up” for the week
  • Special self-care rituals, like a bath, face mask, tarot card pull, or lighting a special incense

Start Your Own Weekly Reset Routine

Now you’re ready to start your own weekly reset routine.

Remember, this routine can be whatever you need it to be. It's not about following a one-size-fits-all checklist.

It's about whatever YOU need to feel prepared.

If you want help getting started, our Notion Weekly Reset Template includes all of the prompts included in this article, plus more.

It’s also completely customizable so you can add and remove whatever you need as you make the routine your own.

flipthrough of weekly reset template on an ipad