When I feel out of alignment, I often step back and realize that my time is not being spent the way I want it to be spent. I’m operating either without a plan or doing whatever is on top of my desk or what my family or clients ask me to do. It is then that I pull out my “Ideal Schedule” to remind myself what I want.
So, what is an Ideal Schedule? It is nothing more than a written list of how you want to spend your time each day. Start by writing down, by time, how you would like your day to flow. Do this in a word processing file so you can edit it over time. Put in key activities like when you will get up, exercise, journal or have quiet time. Give a high level title to time slots you want set aside but the task changes. For instance, from 9:00 – 12:00 I call this my “money making task” time slot. Be sure to say when you plan to end each day, especially if you are like me and can be at your desk working at a project without any concept of the time. Be aware…this is your typical daily plan. Each day of the week may look different and you plan accordingly but this should fit most days. If you actually had a day like this you’d feel real productive.
You’re not done yet though…now layout each day of the week. We all have regular meetings or tasks we do – monthly meetings, carpool pickup, coaching calls, date nights with our spouse that occur on specific days of the week. For me, I play golf every Tuesday with the girls, attend church on Saturday nights and have set aside Wednesday’s as client days. Put these activities in by time. Then add in activities you want to ensure happen that you never seem to get around to. For me, this is scheduling time to write my book. I’ve been saying I want a book for years but I never seem to devote the time to it. One reason is, I haven’t clearly set aside set times in my calendar to write. I say it but don’t schedule it. This quarter I’ve made time on Thursday’s to do this.
Step back and look at the flow of your week using both the daily and weekly schedules. Visualize you living this schedule. Make any necessary changes if it doesn’t flow right. (You’ll never get this perfect because you and your priorities change but you can improve each time you analyze this.)
While all I said above sounds easy, and conceptually it is. What’s hard is the decisions you’ll have to make. Just do your best in this cycle. Any step forward is an improvement. That is what you are after right now. I review this each quarter or when I’m totally feeling at loose ends.
Keep moving forward…
Let me know how it works for you!