One of the biggest benefits of running your own show is freedom of choice. How we live and work is entirely up to us. Yeehah!
We can work ‘on purpose’ and follow a plan and structure that we’ve designed, or we can take things as they come and respond to the moods and demands of everyone else.
Good luck with that second option!
“If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
I tend to agree with these words from author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn. So what is it to be for you, proactive or reactive?
While we can’t control every hour of the day – in business as in life, there will be surprises along the way – we can only accomplish what matters most when we confidently become the leader of our own life, and begin with the end in mind.
One of the ways to do this is by creating ‘your ideal week’. Think of it as a budget for your time. Instead of working out how to spend your money, you're figuring out how best to spend your time.
I've long favoured the concept of blocks of time; that’s to say a period whether a few short minutes or a longer chunk of a couple of hours, even an entire day, dedicated to one single, focused activity.
In the early days of my consulting business, one such block for me was Wednesday. Wednesdays were my ‘business-development days’.
For a good few months, every action on a Wednesday had to do with marketing and business development. Anything and everything else simply had to wait.
Interestingly, my Wednesdays were always full as my mind was on the lookout for activities during the rest of the week. ‘What’s happening on Wednesday?’ was the constant question coming from my subconscious.
Allocating that day also allowed me to shelve any thoughts on the topic I’d have at other times in the week, simply noting them and knowing that I’d get to it on Wednesday.
These days, I no longer have full-day blocks, but instead have solid periods blocked out for specific activities and they are not all work related either.
I walk for an hour every day; I do yoga twice a week; I write for regular two-hour periods; I research new podcast guests, and all these are articulated in my ideal week.
In my diary I plan for the week I want to have. I know for sure that without a picture and a plan, time becomes disjointed and unproductive. Personally that leaves me feeling noticeably unfulfilled at the end of the week, and more susceptible to stress and worry.
This ideal week process doesn’t need to be complex. You can map it out in a simple grid or online calendar. Or, like me, simply use a page-per-day diary.
You may like to give individual days a theme. While I had business-development Wednesday, my Friday afternoons were known, to me anyway, as my ‘do what the hell I want’ block.
For this structure to be useful, it’s vital to lock in activities that are important for your health and wellbeing and relationships, not just your work. Get all these things into your diary first.
Good weeks make for good months that turn into good years. Your ideal week is an essential building block of a life well lived.
Robert Gerrish is the founder of Flying Solo, author of The 1 - Minute Commute and host of the Rekindle podcast. Read more of his work at www.robertgerrish.com