Creating your ideal day schedule allows you to plan activities and tasks for the times during the day that best utilize your Peak Productivity Levels (see Recipe). You can also then plan for all the things that often cause distractions throughout your day. For example, if you often write business proposals that require a lot of concentration, it may not be the best idea for you to work on those an hour after lunch when you hit a post-lunch slump and when your social media updates are calling you. Instead, you may find that you will get those proposals done better and fast if you work on them from 10 am to 12 pm with time scheduled for social media from 4 pm to 5 pm (when most of your target audience is also on social media).
In this recipe, you will learn how to create your own Ideal Day Schedule template so that your weekly planning can go faster and you can improve your overall daily and weekly productivity.
Ingredients for Creating your Ideal Day Schedule
- Digital calendar with recurring appointments option or weekly planner spreadsheet.
- Printed weekly planner.
- Peak Productivity Levels (see recipe). *Optional but ideal.
Preparation (Prep Time: 30 to 45 minutes)
- If you have not identified your Peak Productivity Levels, start to observe when you seem to best perform what tasks during the day/week.
- Record a list of all of your routine tasks. Accounting, calls, networking, social media, client work, etc… Update over a period of time.
- Printed version of a blank weekly planner with lines for every 30 minutes.
Cooking (Cook Time: 1 to 2 hours)
- On your printed weekly planner, if there are certain things that absolutely HAVE to be done at set times add those first. Weekly networking meetings, child drop off/pick up times, etc… These should only be things that are absolutely fixed.
- Next schedule your top priority tasks for each week. Think general, not specific. Instead of “Pay Chase, file taxes” simply add a block for “Accounting”. These are the things you know you most want/need to accomplish. Schedule them during the days/times that would best fit the needed energy, motivation and focus for that task. This becomes an “appointment” with yourself to complete the task in that specific time.
- Add your next highest priority tasks in the next best time slots for those tasks. Again, keep it general. You’ll fill in details when you do your planning for each given week.
- As you go down your list of routine tasks, be sure to schedule time for the things most likely to allow you to procrastinate. If you are tempted to answer those phone calls, schedule time to return messages. If you find yourself drawn towards program development instead of calls and sales, be sure you have time in your schedule for working on new programs.
- Also remember to add non-business tasks that may be performed during the course of your day.
- Once you have worked out an entire week, transfer it to your digital version using recurring appointments in your calendar or a spread sheet.
Yield: One week of Ideal Day Schedules
Creating your ideal day is a lot like having a road map for your road trip across country. It gives you the best possible way to travel but there may be detours along the way that require a different road or a later start. Not every week will follow your ideal day schedule perfectly but it gives you a starting point when choosing when to schedule that dentist appointment (when your energy, motivation and focus tend to be at their lowest) or when to make those follow up calls (when your motivation is at it’s highest).
Be sure to honor not just the time of day but the day of the week that you may tend to do things best. I am always most motivated to do creative work early on in the week so I schedule it for Monday and Tuesday. Doctor’s appointments, haircuts, etc… almost always get scheduled for Thursday or Friday afternoon because I’m least likely to be productive during those times.
It’s important to remember the little things such as driving, showering, eating and even returning emails. When these little things don’t get scheduled, you are most likely to get overwhelmed or start to procrastinate on the important things.
While it is an option to have a printed out version of your weekly Ideal Day Schedule, most of my clients have found they are far more likely to use it as a template if they have it in the form of recurring appointments on their digital calendar or as a spreadsheet that they can easily copy and then modify.
There is a lot of power in knowing how to design your days and weeks based on your ideals. This ideal day schedule gives you a great place to start. Just remember that it will be a work-in-progress for a long time and will often need to be revised based on a change in circumstances even when it has been working well.