This the second in a three-part series on designing your perfect week. You can read the first post: here.
Have you ever wondered, “Where did all the time go?” If you are a high achiever, trying to break out of the normal life, then you probably ask that question every day. When you’re staring up at that tall peak where you’re wildest dreams sit do you wonder, “How can I possibly get there with so much to do?” The secret is to separate your visioning from your working by designing a perfect week in advance.
I started writing the step-by-step guide on designing your perfect week by covering why it is so important to design your perfect week. There were so many questions to elaborate on that it has become a post on its own. The guide is just a post away, but if your not totally convinced yet, or are simply excited to see what a perfect week can do for you, read on for my top 5 reasons.
I have been designing my perfect week for about two years now. When I first started the task my life was highly irregular. I worked rotating shift hours, some weeks filled with 12-hour day shifts, some with graveyard shifts, and some scattered with days off. These days my perfect week is very consistent, but back then each week had a life of its own. I tell you this because I want to assure you that you can design a perfect week no matter how regular, or irregular, your life is.
Over these two years, my perfect week has helped me in many ways. Here are the five biggest benefits of designing a perfect week:
- Make one less decision.I make decisions all day long. When I write, I am constantly selecting subjects, themes, and the best progression to illustrate the topic. My day job is an endless task of decision making, for which they pay me well. And when I’m finally back to my dream job the decision making continues as I solve various problems standing between me and you.Having a design for my perfect week leaves me with one less decision to make. When I’ve completed a task, or looked up at the clock noticing some time has passed, the last thing I want is to be distracted by a decision about what I should do next. That invariably leads down a rabbit hole to considering my objectives and, before I know it, I’m dreaming again.
- Get out on time.Without my perfect week designed, I end up stuck in tasks, or meetings, or conversations that carry on far longer than they should. In those moments it usually crosses my mind that I should wrap it up. But without a pressing appointment I am tempted by the thought of, “What’s the rush?”With my perfect week designed I’m cautious about getting caught wandering. Unless it is critical to extend whatever I am doing, I remind myself it can wait and move on to the next objective. When I first started my perfect week I found myself making constant excuses to extend a task or appointment. “If I just get this done now…” I thought. But then at the end of each week I would look sadly at my unachieved goals. I’m getting much better at planning appropriate time for tasks and, even more important, sticking to the schedule.
- Say no.Before having a perfect week designed it was easy to say yes to everything; or probably more accurately: it was hard to say no to anything. I love to help people, but when you say yes to everything you end up living for other people’s sake rather than your own. I would occasionally review my goals and wonder why I wasn’t getting anywhere with them. But once I started planning my week I quickly saw that I was constantly being derailed by requests for my time. Having my priorities scheduled reminds me that I have a lot to accomplish and cannot accept anything else unless it is really important or fits clearly into one of my goals.
- Make time for what’s important.The key to a perfect week is dedicating time to the things that are most important. If I don’t plan time for those things I end up spending, “Too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what’s important.” (From, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.) Once you have the important things clearly laid out it gives you perspective. You will start to question whether something is truly urgent, and find that most things really are not; most things can wait.
- Eliminate distractions.One of my biggest worries is that I’m forgetting something. Because when I’m disorganized I usually do. When I was younger I locked my keys in the car so often that each Christmas my mom would renew my AAA membership. I’ve learned by experience the importance of having important things in order. Having thought in detail about the things I needed to get done this week, I can focus on the task at hand without the distracting feeling of, “Am I forgetting something.”
I hope I have been convincing and you are ready to get your perfect week started. In the next, and final, post in this series I will give you the step-by-step instructions, walking you through my perfect week.
Which of the five key benefits above do you want most?