Take a minute to think about what a perfect week in your life looks like.
Would you have calls on Monday mornings? Would you go for a 20-minute walk every afternoon? Would you take a real lunch break and leave your desk?
This conceptualized week, the one where everything is in its right place, where you feel balanced and in control of your time isn’t impossible. With a simple exercise, you can make your most ideal schedule the new norm.
What is an Ideal Week?
The My Ideal Week exercise originally comes from The Dynamic Duo course, developed by “The Together Leader.” To put it simply, My Ideal Week is a calendar in which each ideal day is time-blocked according to the specific priorities, tasks and projects surrounding one’s personal and professional life.
Creating your Ideal Week is valuable because it aligns time with priorities, helps manage others’ expectations, and ensures that you are on track to meeting goals—in a visual and straightforward way. It’s also helpful to:
- Maximize batch processing of tasks
- Create calendar rhythms
- Ensure energy alignment
- Provide insight on calendar preferences
Your calendar can include:
- Personal time (workouts, morning routine, lunch, dinner, family time, church, etc.)
- Various client projects (scheduling, board meeting prep, creating processes, etc.)
- Other professional time (email management, internal calls, flex time, tasks)
- Scheduled breaks
When you compare your current calendar to your Ideal Week, you will likely find gaps and opportunities that can boost productivity and time management. Sure, every week’s events won’t fit perfectly into your allotted time blocks—but if you’re juggling multiple clients or struggling to stay on track, it certainly won’t hurt to have a standard schedule to work from.
Want to incorporate fitness into your daily life? Block off an hour of workout time in the morning. Want department meetings to happen on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons? Create those time blocks. Like scheduling phone calls on Friday mornings? You can make it happen!
Can I use this exercise with my executive?
We’re glad you asked—why yes, you can! In fact, we highly encourage it.
Doing so will enable you to understand what your executive truly prioritizes, prefers and needs from their weekly schedule.
We recommend that you create an Ideal Week of your own before bringing up the exercise to your eExec. That way, you’ll have a solid (and personal) example of how the process works. You could even create a draft version of their ideal week while you’re at it to kick things off.
Then, you can start to compare where you can be better aligned and help with your executive’s time and overall life management. Set up time with your executive to review the Ideal Week and determine if it is a tool they would like to continue using.
How do I create my own Ideal Week?
First step: Use this template (make a copy for yourself), and review Sheet 1 (Sample EA Week). This will give you an idea of what the end result could look like and help you see how you can best organize your week around multiple client engagements and other professional and personal needs.
On Sheet 2, start mapping out your Ideal Week, hour by hour. Use various colors to code between different clients, themes, and personal time—or whatever works best for you! Keep in mind that everything should be time blocked and if you’re key on flexibility, schedule catch-up or flex-blocks a few times a week.
Below each day, you will see totals. Fill out the totals, adjusting the left margin for your own categories, to ensure you’re budgeting time efficiently and that enough time is given to each category.
Remember that sticking to an Ideal Week will always be a work in progress. It’s also an exercise you can do every few months to help you work toward personal goals, strategically support your executive, and feel in control of your valuable time.