In business, many of us can appreciate the challenge that comes with juggling tasks and priorities.
As business owners and operators, there’s staff to look after and mentor, there is paperwork to get done, jobs to handle, and in between we also need to tend to our own family and our personal wellbeing.
That’s a lot to juggle in just one week comprising only 168 hours in total.
Enter the concept of the ideal week – a philosophy that first really hit the mainstream in about 2011 and sees people account for, map and allocate their time based on what they would ideally like to get done within a realistic timeframe.
The idea of the ideal week
The idea of an ideal week is a bit like having a financial budget, but in this case you are budgeting your time and your energy.
In a nutshell, the ideal week is the perfect week you would have if you had 100 percent control of what’s happening around you. And it extends to pretty much everything, accounting for leisure time, exercise, business tasks and family life.
That means the ideal week might factor in time for the exercise you want to do, the sleep you want to get, the business tasks you need to get done and the quality time you would like to spend with your kids and other family members.
In the traditional format each theme of the ideal week is colour-coded, so red might be allocated to work, green to family time, yellow to exercise etc.
The features of an ideal week
As mentioned, an ideal week factors in ALL the things you want to get done inside and beyond the workplace.
As part of the business component of an ideal week you might allocate:
- Specific time for returning phone calls
- Time for replying to emails
- Time for staff reviews, meetings, training, etc
- Periods of time to be spent actually on the job – managing customers, performing services or manufacturing products
- Time for marketing and managing social media
- Time spent completing paperwork
There would also likely be an allocated overflow period, where you set aside time for specific items that were more complex or time-consuming than anticipated. On the weeks you get your time “budget” correct and no overflow work is required, this slot can be used for pure leisure or personal time.
The benefits of an ideal week
The true benefit of an ideal week is that it allows you to set priorities and goals and allocate time to do them.
In many ways this is just good planning, but what the ideal week offers as a tool is realistic time tracking and accountability. Most importantly it provides clarity of mind and less stress.
The fact the week extends beyond just work accomplishments and into personal goals allows you to set these as at least an equal priority to your business.
Meanwhile, using the concept of an ideal week over an extended period offers you insight into your most time-consuming tasks and where you might need to outsource or seek help.
Ultimately, the real benefit of an ideal week is that it helps address overwhelm – a common complaint amongst business owners that we hear more and more about each day.
It allows you to understand how your time is spent, hone each week and improve your work/life balance and productivity. It also allows you the freedom to relax in the knowledge that everything is etched on paper and you no longer need to revisit that endless mental to-do list.
Ideal, not perfection
As a final note, the ideal week is not meant to equal instant perfection. You do not fail if you do not accomplish everything you say you will when you say you should.
Instead, the ideal week is a vehicle for lifestyle and business improvement and it’s one of many ways to help get your business and work/life balance back on track.
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