When I ask clients to describe their ideal week, responses range from dream scenarios (which are encouraged as part of your visioning exercises but a little too ‘long term’ for these purposes!) to abject surprise ‘Ideal? I don’t understand what you mean!
The ideal week might be something we dream of in that big picture ‘making a difference while having a lifestyle’ kind of way but it’s unlikely to be something we aspire to actually having – let alone something we believe is within reach. And there’s the problem.
It’s almost impossible to achieve something if you don’t believe you can
The truth is, we have a lot more control over how we spend our days and weeks than we may first realise.
What if your ideal week helped you to achieve your business goals as well as delivering that work life balance you’re so eager to find?
Creating a schedule that balances key priorities with necessary admin and activities to keep you energised, makes for fantastic business momentum and breeds better work life balance. The trick is in knowing how to make your week work harder for you, so you can create a way of working that’s proactive, effective, sustainable and enjoyable.
So, if I asked you to describe your ideal week – what would you say?
Would you set aside specific days dedicated to building the business and others dedicated to delivering it? Would you spend mornings in your office and afternoons with clients? Would you start earlier and finish earlier? Or simply make time for lunch breaks, or a lunchtime yoga class three times a week? Would you work extended hours four days a week to give yourself a three-day weekend? Which things do you know will make a quantum difference, not just in how well your business succeeds, but how well you succeed within it?
Not sure where to begin?
Grab a sheet of paper and write down your overall business goals for the year (these are the few highly valuable things you want to achieve before the end of the year – keep them brief, punchy and powerful).
Next add the activities that will help you reach those goals; these are often things that populate your to-do list – focus on the 80/20 rule here
Finally add the things that will keep you sane and energized. From the practicalities (like starting and finishing times, how many days you’ll work and meal breaks) to the sanity savers (like regular breaks and small treats) and the energy boosters (exercise, fresh air or enjoyable tasks).
Now take a moment to think about what times of the day or week you’re at your best and those days or times when you always seem to struggle. Those dead zones are perfect for tackling things you know you can do in your sleep (because they won’t tax you any further) or things you know you’ll enjoy (because they’ll jump-start your energy). Those days – or times of the day – when your energy is high are great for engaging in anything that requires a little more courage, confidence or commitment.
Schedule Your ‘Ideal Week’
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge about what times of the day and week work best for you and what activities you need to focus on to deliver your year-end goals, start to consider what your ideal week would look like. Cast convention aside, forget what you ‘usually’ do – instead just think about what you’d create if it were totally up to you. When would you do your business development? What slots would you allocate to R&D? Sales and marketing? Service delivery? Client follow up? Client meetings? Planning and review time? When would you schedule admin, book work and errands?
Now take a look back over your ‘ideal week’ – if you were to establish this ‘ideal’ as your routine, how would your business success and business/life balance look? Would the schedule – as you’ve designed it – help you to create a more sustainable business pace? Be prepared to test and tweak it to find a rhythm that works for you. Remember – this is your business – you’re in a unique position where you’re able to do what works for you.
As you begin to shift your schedule around, bear in mind those people who might be affected and consider what you could do to make sure any changes you make come across as positive developments for them to. Chances are these changes won’t just benefit you – if the business is running more smoothly and beginning to feel more effortless because you’re more relaxed or enjoying it more (hopefully both!) then there’ll be silver linings for them too. Think about what those are so you can wrap them into the conversation to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.
And no – you won’t get it right every time, but you may just find that getting it right 3 weeks out of 4 is pretty darned good.
For more tips on organising your time as you bed in your new weekly routine, check out this article and let me know what you think in the comments below!