Your Ideal Day
This is where you will sketch your most productive day. This is not a daily schedule, this is your “Ideal Day”… how each day would go if they were entirely up to you. If everything goes as planned, this would be what your day looks like. You won’t be perfect in achieving this, but you should strive to get as close as possible.
Wake and Bed Time
Begin by defining your wake and bedtime. These are the times that bookend your days. You should strive to operate between these times every day. Be sure to schedule yourself 8 hours of rest if possible. More about rest can be found in Vital Behaviors.
Next, fill in your daily obligations. This part will illustrate to you how much of your day is taken up by things you commit to and possibly, how little time you have left after. Some of these obligations will be necessary and maybe very good for you. Others may not be. Clearing obligations that stop you from making progress should be a goal each month you complete this exercise.
Define My Day
Schedule a time to complete the Define My Day journal. We recommend you do this first thing in the morning before anything else gets in your way or invades your mental space. This is your time to write down the priorities that mean the most to you and set your mindset before the world starts rushing in. Also, schedule a time to review at the end of the day. Just 5 minutes before going to bed to reflect and
Schedule your meals. Take the time to ensure that you are eating well and on a regular schedule. We recommend against working while eating and
Block off priority time. This block of time is when you will make the most of your progress toward your goals. Schedule this time where you are most likely to be able to uphold the commitment. It is a commitment… to yourself. This is your time to focus on what is most important to you.
No matter how much you can schedule, be sure to do your best to make it interruption free. Turn off your cell phone, place your office phone on Do Not Disturb, shut down email, close your door, and ask to not be bothered until a scheduled time.
In the beginning, some people may not like to have to wait. It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, co-worker, client, or kids, someone will react with dissatisfaction. You will have to state clearly that you are now scheduling the time to work on your most important things during this time. You will be available after if they need you. You will have to repeat yourself. People that appreciate the work you are doing will understand. Others, well, they’ll have to learn to live with not pestering you for a moment.
Fit this wherever you can in your day. If you don’t already integrate exercise into your daily schedule, sometimes it’s easier to wake up 30 minutes early and exercise in the morning. There are fewer distractions and unexpected moments that may stop you from accomplishing it. Plus, a good morning routine that incorporates exercise really sets a great tone for the day.
No matter when you chose to exercise, be sure to give yourself enough time to change your clothes, drive to the gym, or anything else you may need to get done in relation to your workout.
Family and Friend Time
This is a segment of time that you may not be able to add to your Ideal Day but it is important. We tend to fill in the cracks with relationship times. Even then, we don’t devote our full attention. We look at our phones and half-listen to a conversation. We justify it by saying we’re “too busy”. In reality, we most likely had a lot of time throughout the day, we just wasted it on distractions and to-dos.
One goal should be to be able to increase solid, scheduled, devoted family and friend time on your calendar. As you grow more efficient and more able to identify and avoid distractions, you will get more accomplished in less time. That should allow you to focus your attention on the people that matter.
You can schedule to-do list time in small chunks or as a large block of time. Just make sure that you schedule it. However, this is one commitment that can be overridden if we still need time for our priorities or other things higher on our list. Remember, to-dos are not urgent at the moment. They don’t progress you toward your goals. They can be put off until a later time.
Try to avoid doing to-do list items throughout the day. That can lead to time-wasting. The best time to accomplish to-dos in the afternoon or evening. You may identify this time of day as when you feel mentally tired and stressed. That’s the perfect time for a thoughtless to-do.
Another hard one to schedule is play time. A lot of us pride ourselves on working harder than others. But everyone needs downtime. Our hope is that you find more as you define your days. Become more efficient during your work time and you will have more time to relax in your off-hours.
Be careful what you categorize as “leisure”. Take time to observe your energy and feelings before and after your leisurely activity. Do you feel rejuvenated or do you feel more worn down? This is important because many times, we do things to “check out” and call it leisure, but they actually cause more problems, depleting our energy and causing more stress and anxiety.
Inevitably, we come across things that we can’t categorize. Here’s your space for that. Minimize