ProductivityWork-Life Balance

3 Keys to Crafting Your Ideal Week to Win Back Your Time

Your Ideal Week is a football field.

On Monday, you’re starting at your own goal line. As the week progresses, you’re throwing screens and crossers, running the ball in chunks and moving down the field, crossing midfield on Wednesday with your eyes set on the end zone—the weekend.

If you look at the Ideal Week pages in the Full Focus Planner, it’s easy to visualize a football field. Each daily column is a chunk of yards you need to traverse to score a true Double Win; to win back your time and enjoy a couple work-free days.

Everything off the field is out of bounds. By utilizing the Ideal Week, you’re putting all your tasks, appointments and commitments in the field of play and setting yourself up to sidestep distractions en route to putting points on the board.

Why the Ideal Week?

In Full Focus founder Michael Hyatt’s book Free to Focus, he explains a concept devised by Jack Nevison called the Rule of 50. Nevison’s research showed that if you push past 50 hours of work in a week, there’s no productivity gain—in fact, productivity diminishes by that point.

This concept applies to not just your professional life but also to life in general. If you overcommit and overwork, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. You’ll experience burnout in multiple facets of your life.

The Ideal Week is about identifying what’s important in the coming week and putting those items on the field of play. Everything else should remain on the sidelines.

So how do you go about setting up your Ideal Week? Here are three keys for clearing a path to the end zone.

Key 1. Be Flexible

The Ideal Week isn’t about absolutes. When a player gets injured or isn’t the right fit for your play call, you make a substitution. You need to be able to tweak your gameplan as needed.

Having a flexible Ideal Week just means making adjustments. If you set things up correctly—filling in your Ideal Week with what’s most important—it’s easier to move things around to help you accomplish your most important goals.

Batching is a popular practice many people use to set up their ideal week. You may want to frontload your week with Monday meetings and backload with tasks that give you momentum heading into the weekend. But what if one of your meetings has to be rescheduled for Wednesday? Having some flexibility to move things around allows you to make all the pieces fit by the end of the week.

Key 2. Be Honest

It’s a great feeling when you fill out your Ideal Week and see big gaps of free time. But is that actually free time, or did you just underestimate how long your tasks and appointments will actually take?

This is where you need to be honest with yourself. Is that Monday morning meeting really only going to take 30 minutes? Do you only need 45 minutes for that oil change you scheduled, or is two hours more likely?

In order to win back time, avoid burnout and be your most productive self, you need to understand how much time you need for each item on your agenda and then be able to adjust from there.

One useful tip for setting up your Ideal Week is to overestimate how much time each task might take—not by a massive amount, but by enough to give yourself a buffer between tasks. This is also a great way to win back a few minutes here and there throughout your day that you can use to recharge your batteries or to double back on any uncompleted tasks.

Key 3. Set Boundaries

The Ideal Week is a great tool in theory, but if you aren’t putting its tenets into practice, you’re missing out on opportunities to streamline your life and maximize your productivity.

Say, for instance, you want to batch your Mondays with meetings so you don’t have various conference calls splitting up your work day on Wednesdays and Thursdays. That’s a great idea if that helps you, but if you’re not getting buy-in from others (because they aren’t aware of what it is you want), your Ideal Week will quickly come apart.

This is where it’s important to set boundaries and stick to them. You may not have the autonomy to schedule your own meetings, but it could be as simple as muting that group chat with your friends during work hours or asking your spouse to handle the errands during the week so you have the time you need to fully focus on your important tasks.

You may also find that setting good habit goals in your Full Focus Planner will help you with boundary setting for your Ideal Week. For example, you want to make it a habit to not check work emails outside of work hours. That’s a good boundary to set for yourself, and by making it a habit goal, you can use your StreakTracker to track your progress.

Winning back your time

Winning the football game that is your Ideal Week. The Double Win. There’s a reason your best life is often tied to the concept of winning or losing. It’s tangible. And it feels good to win.

Utilize the Ideal Week and use these three keys to find out for yourself.

Last modified on April 5th, 2023 at 8:53 pm

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