How does your perfect week look? Probably not like those 5 days you spend every year on a sunny beach in a warm place, even if this image might spontaneously come to mind when asked such a question. But do not let this get you down, such a lifestyle can get tired after a while as well.
What I am referring to is the perfect workweek.
I am guessing that it involves some working on your own and a whole lot of working with others in one way or another, moments when the tempo is high, and some when there is time and space for reflection.
You can let a jigsaw-puzzle illustrate the work of getting all the pieces of life to fit together, but I also like the metaphor a good friend of mine with an artistic past used the other day when we met for lunch. He described the week and all the activities we do during it as a composition.
By combining different components in carefully selected proportions, the week becomes balanced just like a well-composed photograph, piece of music or artwork.
Be an everyday-visionary
Create your very own norm-week, that is, design your ideal week and strive to match reality with the norm.
Of course we can allow our weeks to just unfold randomly and parry events as they come your way, but the likelihood of having a smooth, efficient and enjoyable workday increases if we regain control of the paintbrush and make conscious decisions on how we want our weeks to pan out.
Try this to allow for your desired norm-week to emerge.
- Think about what components your ideal week consist of and write them down on a piece of paper.
- Do you leave one day every week free from meetings?
- Do you find it easier to work with a particular type of tasks in the morning?
- Do you check your e‑mail a specific time every day?
- Do you call of work early on Friday afternoons?
- Do you eat lunch alone one day every week? Or, eat lunch with a friend (not work-related) at least once a week?
- Do you have time set aside for reflection?
- When do you prefer to make sales-calls?
- When do you leave the door to your office open? When is it closed?
If you use a digital calendar (such as Outlook, Google Calendar or iCal), create a new calendar and name it something along the lines of “My Ideal Week”.
If you use a physical calendar, you can print out a work-sheet such as the one you can find here.
- In the new calendar, create blocks of time containing the components you just chose to be included in your ideal week. You create these in the same way as you would schedule a meeting. Make them recurring, so that they are repeated every week.
- While we are at it, we can extend this thinking to include how you plan your moths as well. Do you want one or several days every month reserved for focusing on a particular type of task, work on a particular project or work remotely from home? Add this into your “Ideal Week”- calendar as well.
- When you are done composing your ideal week, set the settings so that you will see the “Ideal Week”-calendar as well as your actual calendar at the same time.
When you make plans for the weeks to come, take a look at your ideal calendar as you plan and schedule new activities, suggest times for appointments, decide if you should say yes or no to suggestions for meeting-times you receive, and so on.
If you think it becomes confusing to see the “Ideal Week” at all times, change the settings so that you only see it when you are adding new plans to your calendar.
“Make your own kind of music…”
If you set the standard for how you want your weeks to turn out, they will do so more to your liking and less as a result of default and other people’s plans. By creating the conditions for being able to work as efficiently as possible, you will have time to do more of the things you want to do and which you prioritize.
If you strive to live according to your ideal week, your work-rhythm will gradually change into what you would prefer it to be. It might feel difficult at first to get activities to add up as your would want them to, but as the weeks go by and your persist in your efforts to change the structure of your weeks, it will become easier and feel more natural.
It is like learning to draw or paint. When we are children we practice drawing in coloring books, and with time we become fully fledged artists who can create outside the box.
What is your way?
What sorts of attempts have you made to create a life-rhythm you are comfortable with? Leave a comment to tell us about your experiences!