Leadership and productivity guy Michael Hyatt talks about planning your ideal week so that you can schedule your actual work weeks in a way that hopefully approximates what you want your life to look like.
I’ve used daily themes — where you group similar work on a particular day — for a few years. But I’ve noticed recently that it just isn’t holding up for me like it used to. I know I am very calendar driven, so I thought I’d give the Ideal Week a try.
I use Google Calendars, so I created the week as its own calendar in a neutral color. I toggle it on and off during the day as I am scheduling things or thinking about my next task, and so far, so good! It’s been very helpful in keeping me focused. My theme phrase for the year is “Ruthless Focus and Peace of Mind,” which is straight out of How to Be a Productivity Ninja, and this calendar really has helped.
You can see mine below . . .
This calendar reflects my reality in a few ways.
First, I am not a morning person. I am useless before 8 a.m., and not focused until mid-morning. So that’s my time to wake-up, exercise, and deal with other activities that are important but that don’t require much of me (like reading and journaling).
From 10:00 – 10:30 am, I am transitioning into work mode by responding to email and social media.
The real work starts at 10:30 am. For the past several years, I’ve tended to create new content in big, but scattered, bursts of time. I want to try to be more intentional by giving myself 2-hour blocks Tuesday – Thursday. I suspect I will also use a lot of the “catch up” time on Friday for that purpose too. Note how these blocks remind me to CLOSE APPS! That means no email and social media.
From 12:30 – 2:30 pm on Tuesday – Thursday is what I am calling Community Time. This is the window where I deliver most of our training, do coaching calls, and (very soon) live streaming.
After that, it’s Kid Running, aka Mom Chauffeur Mode for two hours. Within that block, there’s a fair amount of sitting in the car line, so that’s where I plan to check back in with my apps on my phone (email, social, news, etc.). On the days where I have help with kid running, I will extend the content creation or community activities for that day.
Note that if I am good about the schedule, I won’t have looked at email or social for four hours. That’s a shift from the regular dabbling habit I’ve fallen into.
Wrapping up the day, I’ll focus on content marketing, including blogging, e-newsletter content, planning our live streams, etc. The reality is I often work until 6:30 or 7:30 pm (remember, NOT a morning person!), but that time isn’t something I want to schedule at all, so this ends at 6:00 pm.
Mondays and Fridays are a bit different. I like having some extra flexibility for long weekends and some cushion or “white space” in general. So while I have plans for Mondays and Fridays, I am rarely beholden to anyone via meetings, etc.
Some people schedule their weekends on their Ideal Weeks. Not me! My ideal weekends aren’t scheduled!
Some people also schedule lunch and dinner. I eat when I am hungry, and that can be at different times, so I left it off. We eat as a family most nights, but typically not until 7:30 or 8:00 pm. If you get a paid lunch hour and never take it, I’d suggest putting it on your Ideal Week! For those of you who work at home, you might want schedule “Take a shower!” I am on camera enough with video meetings, live streaming, etc. that I will make that happen as needed, just like eating. 🙂
Keep in mind this is just an ideal, and real life is anything but that usually! Borders on these time blocks will and have been crossed. But it gives me something to anchor my work days too, and I like that a lot.
Have you created an Ideal Week before? How did it work for you?