A couple of years ago, author, blogger and podcaster, Michael Hyatt, shared an item on his blog that helped me. Hyatt took a simple Excel spreadsheet and scheduled his "Ideal Week". Each day has a theme, and he blocks the time to achieve his professional and personal goals. Take a look and read about Hyatt's Ideal Week.
I took Michael's advice and created my own Ideal Week spreadsheet. The process alone was helpful in making me think about what I actually should be doing each day. This obviously includes my speaking, consulting and coaching, but it also includes writing, family time, and exercise. I completed the document and printed it out to keep in my office to refer to frequently. Then I got busy and stopped referring to it, I had forgotten about my ideal week. Instead I was scrambling to keep up with everything coming at me a mile a minute, I was very stressed. I recently came up with a solution to help with this.
Schedule Your Ideal Week
I already use Google Calendar (GCal) to keep me on track, I schedule just about everything on it. I also have imported calendars like my Facebook friend's birthdays, local networking events, and national holidays. These calendars are easily switched on and off in GCal, so I can see a clear calendar of just my work week or I can fill it up with content from all of the above. This gave me an idea to better commit to my Ideal Week.
I created a new GCal calendar and called it My Ideal Week. I scheduled everything in it just as I did in the spreadsheet. Now as I plan the weeks ahead, I switch on the calendar, so I can do my best to schedule items in there appropriate time blocks. If My Ideal Week says 5 - 6 AM Mondays are for reading, I will see that I must not schedule anything else in that time period. If I have Thursday 3 - 4 pm for client meetings, I will schedule that meeting accordingly.
This isn't a perfect science, but it is helping me get better focused on living a good life. Download Michael Hyatt's template and give this a try, please let me know what you think. What do you do to stay on schedule?