Do you often find yourself reacting, responding, and struggling to keep up? Sometimes before you manage to take care of one situation at work or at home, another one pops up! You jump from immediate need to immediate need without ever getting a chance to dig deep and tackle your ever-growing to-do list. You feel stuck in one place as if you’re drowning in requests all requiring your immediate reply.
When this happens, your big picture goals seem impossible to accomplish. You look back on your day and say to yourself: “What did I even get done today? I worked a lot, but don’t feel like I made any progress.”
A few months ago, a book helped me reclaim my weeks
I recently read Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, which is a book about setting life goals. Tucked away inside its pages, I uncovered a secret about gaining back control over my week. And not just control, but architecting my own idea of an ideal week. While I’ve practiced the exercise of tracking my time before, I’ve found the author’s recommendations different. It’s not just about recording how you’re spending your time. This is about being intentional about your time each and every week. Here’s an example of my ideal week, which I drafted upon completing the book.
The book inspired me to dig in, focus on what matters, and consciously set my intentions for how I spend my time. For example, spending time to focus on sending out notes of gratitude aligns with my purpose and intentions, but wasn’t “urgent.” By making sure it’s a priority in my schedule by blocking time, it is more likely to happen now than ever before. Truthfully, it took me a few months to be less reactive about how I spend my time and more intentional, but now I’m getting into a groove.
Do I stick to it every week?
I’ll be honest. Every now and then I have a meeting request that is outside of my dedicated times for meetings, so I go with it and rearrange my schedule. Just the intention of the ideal week, not implementing it perfectly, helps me tremendously with staying on track, albeit with an occasional pit stop or interruption. Setting your intentions and goals is critical for regaining control of your week. It was only after creating my ideal week did I realize how much joy I was missing week by week when I let the week control me, rather than the other way around. Additional examples of my intentions and what’s important to me each week:
- Spending time on Mondays in our company-owned retail studio so I can learn more about how any new offerings are playing out with customers. I’ve found it’s one thing to have a great strategy, but how it’s received by our clients is most important. Being physically present at least once a week gives me a great reality check of our systems and processes.
- Our level 10 meeting is a non-negotiable leadership meeting every week at our HQ (which we fondly call “Big Nest”). This is a very structured check in with my leadership team to measure progress on our team’s goals.
- Wednesdays are for personal meetings with myself and team members. I love the team we’ve built here, so it’s a fun day for me and one I look forward to in particular.
- Thursdays are for special projects that I have taken onto my plate as part of our team’s goal setting process. I also carve out time to send encouragement to team members and owners in our system.
- Friday is for creating content for this blog and our Joy-Preneur Instagram. I work from home and pick up our boys early on Fridays.
Sketching an ideal week was an enormous step toward the balance and sense of purpose we believe in at Little Nest Portraits. I feel much more accomplished at the end of each work week and now have considerably more time for the things that matter.