Have you ever felt to be tangled among the juggling work, unlimited email traps, family adherence? Have you ever reacted to every minor thing life has thrown at you? Have you ever taken some time to think about what your ideal week would look like? Like really thinking on it in the real sense, not just musing about it.
Vision is something that revolves around the primary step of “Imagining it”. You are the one who has to devise a clear notion of
- What you want.
- What values are you looking forward to cultivating &
- How your time should synchronize with your work pattern and targets.
You have several priorities in your life. You either decide to live on-purpose by planning your aims and goals. Or you just shuffle and live by accident, by formulating no target plan to concentrate on. These are the two approaches i.e. former being the proactive approach and the latter being a reactive approach etc. that determine a man’s commitment to his work.
“You have to think a little smarter, be proactive, not reactive.”-Frank Abagnale
It’s a known fact that you can’t plan out everything. Sometimes, things happen in the most exceptional way that we can’t anticipate. But you certainly have one thing in your strong clutches and that is to become proactive. You need to shift your mind from finding time to ACCOMPLISHING the things that matter the most. Clear your mind from all the twisting thoughts and get a sharp idea of what your priorities are!
Why freelancers have to bother with an ideal week?
While working in a full-time job, one usually longs for super flexible timing hours. So, people jump on the track of freelancing and try to exert their autonomy. Sometimes, the situations take a turnaround and prove to be anti-parallel to your set goals. Clients try to discuss their projects at any hour of the day, weeks continue to swing like a pendulum back and forth between the tough schedules and stress, no satisfactory progress is made on the important tasks, and no crystal-clear line is drawn between work and fun.
Being a freelancer means being your boss. You have to fabricate the 24 hours of the day without any annoying influence of the external boss. Freedom doesn’t come as a sole package rather it brings greater responsibility. If you are looking forward to freedom, you should also buckle up for the unending responsibilities.
“Freedom is not only a gift but a summons to personal responsibility.”- Pope Benedict XV
A Symmetrical schedule is the only key that helps a freelancer to achieve his goal in a structured manner otherwise, everything would up in unstructured banana skills.
So, the freelancers have a lucid understanding of what an ideal week is and how its creation can keep everything on the right track!
How to shape out your ideal week:
An ideal week needs to be appropriately shaped up by you. It will determine your struggle to thrive in your field. Freelancing is entitled to you by yourself, so don’t take it as an easy-peasy job. You need to set your priorities and that can be achieved through the conscious formulation of an ideal week.
1. Get an explicit idea of your priorities:
If you put maximum effort into controlling 100% of your time, you won’t ever feel the need to blame yourself. SAY A BIG NO TO EXCUSES! Because excuses are the characteristic quality of those who reside in failure.
In a modern world of hustle and bustle, everyone is living in his/her private bubble. The priorities are rarely recognized by us. We fail to understand the complicated web formed between our personal and professional life. Our eyes are always directed on the smaller picture of the work community and this is the prime reason that we are blind to notice the bigger spectrum. So, the entire mess needs to be de-tangled and it can only be done by being clear on the priorities.
“Good things happen when you set your priorities straight.”-Scott Caan
Let’s reflect on what our basic priorities should be. I think the following elements have made it into the list of top-most priorities.
- Career (e.g. responding to client’s requests, meeting deadlines, etc.)
- Relations (e.g. family commitments, hanging out with friends, etc.)
- Health and comfort (e.g. regular fulfilling meals, having meditation, focusing on your physical health by going to a gym, etc.)
- Personal learning and experiences (e.g. reading journals and research papers, online courses, listening to online lectures, etc.)
- Merry-making activities (e.g. hobbies, gardening, play-station, etc.)
So, most of our works fall into any of the above-mentioned five categories. Most of the freelancers opt for this field because it offers a great degree of freedom and self-rule, it allows you to spend heaps of hours with your family and friends, enables you to travel and explore more, and spend your time on everything that holds a tag of being meaningful.
But do you what’s the surprising irony in the case of freelancing? Despite having so much freedom and time, one usually gets caught up in the so-called importance of work and keep all the other areas at bay.
So, to maintain an equilibrium between your work other priorities, you need to map out a calendar. Wielding the above categories, you need to list up all the activities that you want to add up in your ideal week draft. Then place in the order of more important to less important. Also, leave some vacant spaces for relaxing activities like having a power nap… After all, as a human, you sometimes need your sleep cycle to carry on without any speed breaker!!!
2. Form your ideal week blueprint:
Your ideal week blueprint is the amazingly scheduled calendar of one perfect week that is filled with work commitments, aims, and several other activities that keep you moving with a perfect passion. All your activities find a room in this blueprint.
It acts as an adhesive that connects your workload and your purpose with your everyday actions. It also ensures that smooth balance is helping you in all your domains rather than acting as a stumbling block.
Once you are done with getting a clear list of your priorities, place them in the time slots on the calendar. To form an ideal week blueprint, you need to make seven columns that are labeled on the top with the weekdays starting from Monday to Sunday. The hours of the day are mentioned on the left in the form of rows.
You can either make the draft by using paper with a pencil or in Excel. The choice is yours!
To make the blueprint lucid, you can even go for color-coding. Keep different colors to stand for different activities, for example, you may shade the most important activities as green, the activities that are not directly related to your goals as red, and the ones that are super relaxing as grey or white, etc.
You can even add bold mini-captions to the block to emphasize any activity. So, experiment with interesting and innovative configurations to make your ideal week blueprint stand out!
To form up a super constructive and functional ideal week, pay heed to follow the noteworthy principle:
· Start with pivotal tasks:
You need to extract your top-most priorities from the surrounding smaller ones. Big rocks are your priorities that are the tasks, activities, and goals you need to accomplish at any rate. Once you’re done with your big rocks, then you can address the small stones lying in your work path. Little tasks offer big challenges as they require their every minute detail to be addressed. They can engulf much of your time.
“If the big rocks don’t go in first, they aren’t going to fit in later.”- Stephen R. Covey
So, it’s better to start with the activities that truly matter to you in your life. You are the one who can decide what are the big rocks in your life based on your personal goals.
· Stop procrastinating:
If you have piles of tasks, it’s better to start them on time. Procrastination will only make you sit like a sloth. If you know you have to fulfill the tasks, start with the ones that are super important even if they are boring. Stick to them before you get distracted by other fun activities. Then move towards the easiest ones and enjoy completing them. Eat the frog otherwise the frog will eat you and you will end up procrastinating the task the whole day.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”- Mark Twain
· Follow your circadian rhythm:
Circadian rhythm is your body’s natural system of sleepiness and wakefulness. Its smooth pattern determines your satisfactory workflow. Listen to your body clock as it can make you more productive. If you are a morning person who loves to wake up with a single alarm bell, then make sure you cover up a lot of your work in the morning session. If you are a night owl and super active in the dusk period, then you can plan to do much work once you say goodbye to the sun. Being a freelancer means having the liberty to work anytime but it’s no good forcing your body to work when it’s doesn’t feel the need to work properly. Just follow the natural circadian rhythm of your body and enjoy the productive working hours!
3. Practising the ideal week:
You need to transfer your key ideas either from Excel or paper to your actual calendar. For example, mark the primary hours of the day (7 am-2 pm) for the top-most activities which include going for a morning walk, having a nutritious breakfast then writing a creative article. Give yourself a break day once a week. You may keep Saturday or Sunday completely free so that you can energize yourself for the next week.
To stick to the plan firmly and avoid numerous hindrances, make sure you configure crystal clear boundaries. Communicate these boundaries to everyone so you don’t have to face any disturbance later on. Tell the people about your working hours after which you won’t pick up any call or respond to any mail. This rule also applies to your family not to disturb you during his working hours.
Your ideal week blueprint will help you to follow your day in a scheduled manner. Keep in mind that life is the name of sudden shifts and changes, so you should always be ready for things that you have never dreamt of. You might not experience your ideal week in the same way as you mapped it out. Consider it as a set of guidelines and instructions that keep you moving smoothly on your work track.
Planning an ideal week is better than no planning at all!
Planning is always better as it enables you to consider your priorities and try to achieve them in any possible way. You set your expectations and strive for them. Your planned schedule acts as a thrust force that keeps pushing you towards your set goals. The ideal week helps to be your most productive week. Its active practice depends on your motivation to reach your targets.
So, why waste the time when you can easily map out an ideal week.
A Happy Planning to all freelancers!!!