In everyday life people can afford to live without a well thought out plan for their week, but this is not the case with professional life. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is hidden in the details, and such failure is often avoidable through careful planning for any scenario. Planning ahead does not only mean to set fixed times for appointments or periods of time in which a task has to be done. It also means scheduling your activities in a way that keeps in mind your other tasks on the same day, your grade of exhaustion (I am almost always dead tired on Friday afternoons), and to stick to the timeline you set for yourself.
The key to successfully planning your week is structure. Personal development master Michael Hyatt differentiates between two ways a man can live. One of them is the “reactive” way, where the person reacts to the demands of others, the other is the “proactive” way, where the person lives by an on-purpose plan. Of course, the “proactive” approach is the better one. He recognizes the fact that there is no way to plan ahead for everything that might occur, not even in a week-long period, but recommends for a person to be proactive and plan ahead. His method is creating a document he calls “My Ideal Week”, which provides the structure for the seven days ahead (image via shutterstock).
Think of it as a financial budget, where time takes the place of money. Just like when you create a budget for your monetary spending, you can do the same with your time. And just like the spending budget, it must have room for unexpected events, because there is no way a person could predict unexpected spending and tasks (image via shutterstock).
The idea behind the “ideal week” is to give each day a theme, and gather activities related to the theme into each respective way. In his example Monday is devoted to meetings, Tuesday and Wednesday are reserved for travel, Thursday is sort of a “buffer” day, where he can schedule external meetings and other tasks, Friday is devoted to planning, Saturday is reserved for personal activities and Sunday is the day of rest, plus the time for planning for the next week. And the days in this schedule are also divided into focus areas, with the early hours devoted to the improvement of one’s body and mind, the middle of the day devoted to work, and the end of the day is reserved for family and rest.
If you think of it this way, planning ahead for a week seems not to be so hard at all.
Based on what Hyatt recommended, I was able to create an “ideal” schedule for my week. Before changing my views on planning ahead I often found myself delaying meetings at the last minutes, running around like a headless chicken trying to finish “one more task” for the day, and spending less than ideal time with my loved ones. But when I started planning my ideal week, adapting the schedule I found on Hyatt’s website to my own needs, I suddenly found myself having much more spare time to spend relaxing, and still doing all the jobs I was required to within schedule (image via shutterstock).
Here is what I planned for my ideal week.
Hyatt has scheduled all the meetings with his team for Mondays. I don’t have a team – I work with a few freelance programmers, on a per-project basis. So, in my Ideal Week Mondays are dedicated to taking care of my one-man company. On Mondays I go to the bank, visit my accountant, catch up on paperwork and file all the documents gathered during the previous week.
By Tuesday my sleep cycle comes back to normal after the weekend, so this is the day when I wake up the most rested during the whole week. This is the day when I like to have meetings with my existing and prospective customers, discuss ideas and projects. I found myself thinking more clearly on Tuesdays than on any other day, and I can use it to my advantage. This is the day of reviewing the progress on current projects and scheduling photo shoots with new customers.
I have reserved Wednesdays and Thursdays for photography. I schedule most of my shoots on these days. Two days a week are enough for me to reach any of the locations I plan to, wait for the right weather or the perfect lighting conditions, and take the best photos I can.
On Fridays I spend my day at the office, sorting the pictures taken on the previous days and processing them as necessary. By the end of the day (depending on the volume of work I have, this could stretch until the evening sometimes) I have all the pictures ready to be presented to the customer. This way the weekend can begin with peace of mind (image via shutterstock).
I like to spend my Friday nights relaxing until late night, playing my favorite games at the Royal Vegas Canada. This is a surprisingly relaxing time for me, when I don’t have to focus on anything, letting chance do its job. It is a small pleasure I have reserved for Fridays – a perfect way for me to take my mind off my workweek and prepare for a short, but relaxing (not) weekend.
And Royal Vegas casino indeed has a lot of things to explore. Take, for one, its vast library of high quality games. It has a game library of more than 700 titles to explore. Most of them are slot machines, but there are enough card games, table games, casual titles and lotteries to engage in. The complete library of games is only available for download and install on Windows PCs, but hundreds of games are running in a browser window, and over 100 of them are also available on smartphones and tablets. Another thing that keeps me coming back to the Canadian Royal Vegas has the excellent promotions selection, week after week, it has for me – and for its other players, new and existing ones. One of its promotions, which has just ended recently, offered me a chance to win a seven day vacation for two on a luxurious cruise ship. I haven’t been lucky enough to be one of the 50 winners this year, but this promotion returns to the Royal Vegas each year – maybe next year I will be one of the lucky ones. Aside from the cruise, the Royal Vegas has great promotions to follow each month. It offers cash prizes, luxury vacations – in short, a lot of things worth playing for. And take a look at their welcome offer, putting a lot of cash to play with in your pocket.
While my schedule is pretty fluid, I like to have fixed points in it each day. For example, I am at the gym each morning at 7 o’clock sharp, when it’s still almost empty, so I can work out in peace. I like to have my lunch between 12 and 12:30 each day – I don’t know why, but it works for me (image via shutterstock).
As Murphy’s immortal Laws so well say, you always have to expect the unexpected. Sometimes an urgent project drops in, forcing me to re-schedule tasks for a day. But when this happens, I don’t panic – I find new spots in the structure for the new tasks, and move on with my close to ideal week.
How do you like to plan your week? Give us some hints in the comments below.