I remember planning my ideal week already when I was in middle school. I would draw it on a piece of paper – what times I’d be in school and what day I would focus on the different homework. I can’t remember exactly what more I planned since most of my time was spent doing homework and playing with friends LOL
But if you’re a #plannernerd I bet you also did something similar when you were a kid.
What’s This “Ideal Week” Thing?
A few years ago Michael Hyatt started talking about the concept of designing the ideal week. And it got traction! I think he was the first one I heard talking about the ideal week planning idea.
Then others joined in. I really enjoyed listening to Amy Porterfield’s interview with Michael and her sharing of how she designed her ideal week. But then again, I love everything that lady talks about :)
It’s very likely that you’ve heard about the concept before. But maybe you didn’t feel like it was something for you? Or you didn’t feel it was something that would have any real impact in your life? Or maybe you did create your ideal week, but it was a while ago and you’re interested in doing it again, taking into account what you have going on in your life right now?
Either way, if you’re up for some tips on mapping out your ideal week you’re in the right place! And if you’d like to get your hands on this pretty little planner you can get it for free over on the Good Life library. If you’re not yet signed up you can do that here and get immediate access.
Tools For Planning Your Ideal Week
You can create your ideal week directly in your Bullet Journal if you want to. Or you can do it digitally in Excel or Google Sheets. However, being a person that loves to write on paper the digital version wasn’t for me when it came to this task.
I wanted to be able to put this ideal week planner somewhere I would see it every day, so doing it in my Bullet Journal wasn’t an option either.
Instead, I created this printable Ideal Week Planner. And if you’d like to use this as well you can. Simply sign up here to get access to the Good Life library. It’s completely free, and you’ll also get access to all other freebies that I’ve created over the years. Printables like monthly habit trackers and goal lists. And I’m currently adding a monthly overview for each new month in 2019. Here are two examples from the Good Life library:
As for the Ideal Week Planner, it took a few versions before I came up with this final one. I thought it’d be fun to share so you can see a few of the different versions in the photo below :)
How To Map Out Your Ideal Week
1. Start by identifying what you want to have more time for
Ask yourself these questions to get you going;
- What brings a smile to your lips when you do it?
- What do you wish you had more time for?
- Do you have a project you’ve always dreamt about doing?
- Who would you like to spend more time with?
- Would you like to carve out time for going to the gym? Taking a dance class? Writing? Or… fill in the blank…
Also, take note on how much time you’d like to spend on each activity and how often you’d like to do it (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-weekly and so on).
2. What else do you need to make sure you plan for?
This is where you list all the everyday things you sort of need to make sure gets done. Things like laundry, cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping. I guess work would fall under this category as well :)
Here you should also take note on how much time these activities take and how often you’d like to (or rather, feel like you need to) do them.
(Just a side note… the Ideal Week Planner on this photo is one of the first versions. This is not how the final version looks like. Just wanted to be clear about that… The very first photo in this blog post shows how the Ideal Week Planner you can download from the Good Life library looks like.)
3. Get in the right state
Now that you have the different parts that you want to (and need to) add to your ideal week it’s time to visualize. Yes, it’s time to sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and imagine what you’d like your days to look like.
You would think this would be a pretty straight forward and easy task, right? Not so much. I would guess that you have quite a lot of things you want to include in your ideal week and it can take some going back and forth as you think about this before you find a way that you feel suits your needs and what you want.
Remember that there is no right or wrong! This is your life, and you want to plan your week so that it suits you, your needs and your dreams!
See yourself having a truly great day. What does it look like? How does it feel?
- When do you have the most energy and what do you want to use that energy for?
- How do you want to spend your mornings? Do you want to meditate, workout and have time for yourself? Or would you rather be effective and simply get ready and get out the door as fast as possible?
- How would you like to spend the last hour of the day, before going to bed? Reading, planning for the next day, watching Netflix?
- Do you spend a lot of time and energy on doing household stuff or do you put that energy into your creative project?
- If there’s something you want to do but you’re not in the habit of doing it right now, like let’s say going to the gym – imagine the positive feelings you could have coming home from a great exercise class. Imagine feeling stronger and fitter as you’ve developed this habit.
A tip that always helps me when doing these kinds of exercises is to see myself as 80-years-old, reminiscing on my younger years. Yep, I think I’ll definitely say I was young when I was in my 40’s… I mean if I’m 80 that’s double that age! Haha Anyhow, how will I want to have spent my precious younger years? Doing cleaning or taking the time to meet up with my friends?
4. Think About Theme Days
The idea of theme days is to decide what you want to focus on each day. If you want your theme days to be about work, then maybe you’ll want to focus on administrative stuff on Mondays and plan most of your meetings for Tuesdays and so on.
You decide what you want your themes to be about – what it is you want to put a focus on. The key, however, is to be flexible.
Setting theme days is a way to help structure your week, but to be honest we’ll probably never be able to stick to it. Unexpected things come up that we have to deal with. That’s life and that’s ok.
Why I like setting theme days is that in the morning I know what it is I should be putting my focus on. But if things happen I’m flexible and change focus as needed. But just the feeling of knowing what to focus on in the morning takes away those energy-sucking thoughts like ”what should I do today” or the trap of getting stuck on email.
5. Set Up Your Ideal Week
Now the fun begins! :)
First of all, I would just like to say that this can take a few versions before you get it right. So don’t feel discouraged if you have to re-print the Ideal Week Planner a few times before you get it right. I used up three or four planners before I got it right. But that’s the fun part of it all, right :)
Start with adding the non-negotiables like work or school. If you want to make sure you can attend your favorite workout classes add that as well. Or anything else that you have on your lists that’s important to you.
Once that’s all added you go through the planner day by day, planning each day they way you would like it to be.
If you want to you can color code the different activities.
To me, adding too much color makes it more difficult to get an overview. So instead I added color only to what I wanted to focus on, what was important to me. I should probably take a photo of my final version of my Ideal Week Planner and show you… I’ll do that as soon as possible, promise :)
Some Notes On The Free “Ideal Week Planner”
Compared to other Ideal Week Planners out there on the internet I wanted to be able to add some notes for each day. Maybe you won’t use it the way I do, but I think you’ll find the notes area useful too.
I added a notes section at the bottom of each day, marked ”N” for Notes.
For each day I wanted to add two pieces of information. First of all, I wanted to make a note of how many hours each day I’d have to work on my project. This is to help me plan out what to do those days. E.g. if I only had 1 hour I wouldn’t want to start something that’d take time to get into. I’d want to save that for days when I have more time.
I also wanted to be able to write what to focus on that day, my theme for the day. For me, that’s linked to my projects, but this can of course be anything that suits you. Like what you want to focus on at work. Or at the gym, if it’s leg day or back day. Or use the area for something completely different that gives it better meaning for you.
6. Refer To It Daily
Well, this one is self-explanatory, right? You create the planner to have more structure in your day to day life. The night before have a look at how you’d like the next day to go, what you’d like to focus on. While you’re at it, add in some visualization as well – what will a truly great day look like? Feel like?
Don’t be afraid to make changes if you discover that the plan isn’t optimal for you. It’s meant to be a work in progress.
Do you want to check out other articles on goal setting and productivity? Head on over here to get inspired! And if you’d love to get inspiration for your Bullet Journal I recommend you check this collection of articles out, a lot of inspiration from myself and other Bullet Journalists that create some pretty amazing layouts!
Until next time, take care & be well