When Life Happens: Adjusting Your Ideal Week

Creating your ideal week is a key element to maximizing your productivity. But it’s not something you can get away with doing just once. This is not a “set it and forget it” tool.

Adjusting Your Ideal Week

As much as you might think the work is over once you’ve figured out what your perfect work week should look like, your ideal week is a living, breathing thing. You have to make sure it’s adapting to meet the changing needs of your job.

Say you’ve created your ideal week and you’ve been using it for a while now. Things are going well, and you feel like you’re in a great groove, ticking off your to-do list and slaying your goals.

But then you get a promotion, or maybe a new territory. Something major has changed in your work world. How do you revisit your weekly plan and then move forward, ensuring that your new ideal week fits and sticks?

These sorts of major shifts can mean massive changes in your workload. In such instances, I recommend undertaking an in-depth, multi-week restructuring to hone your ideal week so it fits your new reality. That restructuring might go like this.

Week One

  • Print your blueprint, and put in on your desk.
  • Keep the blueprint visible so you can see where to spend your time.
  • Be present with your time, recognizing any tasks you may have forgotten or want to change.
  • Track a list of distractions that are throwing you off schedule.
  • On Friday afternoon, plan ahead one week and two weeks out to ensure you’re hitting all your goals (e.g. appointments, lunches, networking).

Any time you create an ideal week, sit with it for a full week. Consider what kind of things you may have forgotten about when you plotted it out originally. This is especially important when something has changed in your work life—in moments like these, you may not know what the new normal should look like yet.

The only thing you need to do this first week is be present with your schedule. It’s all about observation. On Friday, go through the blueprint to see what you forgot, where you spent too much or too little time, etc.

Resist the temptation to make adjustments as you go through the week. It’s all about awareness right now. Really sit in it.

Week Two

  • Take what you’ve learned, make changes to your blueprint, and print a new copy.
  • On Monday of week two, start off your ideal week with an ideal day.
  • Change isn’t going to happen overnight—work on changing specific habits.
  • On Friday afternoon, plan ahead one week and two weeks out to ensure you’re hitting all your goals (e.g. appointments, lunches, networking).
  • At the end of week two, evaluate where succeeded and any opportunities for the coming week.

In week two, you get to make adjustments based on week one. Start this by living one ideal day. Pick a day that week (I’d suggest Monday) and think, “What I do need to do to execute this day perfectly?” Don’t try to tackle everything at once this early in the process.

What’s important here is that you’re trying to change specific habits. Focusing on one perfect day instead of a perfect week will prevent you from being overloaded. Again on Friday, plan ahead for the following week. Keep evaluating where you had success or where you may have missed opportunities and where you need to tweak for week 3.

Week Three

  • Make changes to your blueprint and print a new copy.
  • Following the same steps from last week, continue moving from an ideal day to an ideal week by re-evaluating and making small tweaks as you go.

At the beginning of week three, print a new copy of your blueprint and follow the same process as week two. But this time, instead of one ideal day, start to imagine what your ideal week will look like. This is the time where you finally get to make small tweaks and changes.

For most people, this is the week when you’ll either feel like it’s working really well or be ready to give up. Don’t quit! If the blueprint you have isn’t realistic, make more changes.

Week Four and Beyond

Week four and beyond follow the same process as week three in that you’re continuing to look at your blueprint as a living document with an eye for constant evaluation. However, these weeks don’t carry the same urgency or heaviness because, hopefully, you’re starting to live it. Finding an ideal week that works for you is critical to your success and will set you up for incredible success a year from now (and beyond).

Tips on Implementing Your Blueprint

I recommend reviewing your ideal week quarterly and asking yourself, “Is this still working for me?” Additionally, do it every time you have a new territory or responsibilities (especially if you’re in a new position or new company). The more you do this, the better off you’ll be.

You should also be flexible when approaching your week. If prospecting is on your calendar for 9 a.m., but you have an important meeting at that time, it’s not the end of the world to make adjustments. The goal is to move IPA (Income Producing Activity) blocks around rather than deleting or forgetting about them altogether.

Remember that the ideal week doesn’t mean putting a bunch of recurring appointments on your calendar and hoping that you’ll do them. That’s not an ideal week—it’s an imaginary week, and it’s easy to ignore. You should also be dedicating time every week to the things that grow your business and making sure your non-negotiables remain cornerstones of your planning.

Advanced Tip: If you’re feeling really confident in your blueprint, you can do what I do and create a second calendar for your ideal week in Outlook or Google. You can then overlay it with your weekly calendar and see how closely you’re hitting the mark.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!

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