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How to Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week

entrepreneurship leadership mindset productivity strategy time management Mar 23, 2021
One of the greatest tools that I’ve come across to help entrepreneurs and small business owners start taking back control of their time...

Do you remember when you started (or bought) your business?

You had this thing called “hope.”

Hope that finally, THIS would be your ticket out of the rat race. Hope that you would now be able to control your life and your time. Hope that by creating this new venture you would be able to help people.

You once had a vision of the impact you could make on the world and the lifestyle that you could create for yourself and your family with your own business.

Fast-forward a few years and that vision has been blurred by the realities of too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

Now you’re overwhelmed, working all of the time, skipping vacations with the family, constantly worrying about money, and you’re stuck in an endless loop of customer complaints, employee challenges, and a general lack of fulfillment.

You might even find yourself saying things like this:

"Constantly pulled in a thousand different directions — I have no idea which way I should go first. I haven’t had time to myself in so long that I have forgotten what it even feels like to choose what I get to do next. I wonder if I should just go get a normal job like everybody else. I don’t even know why I’m doing this anymore.”

If you feel like this, you’re certainly not alone.

In fact, I’d bet that every small business owner that you know has said some variation of this quote at some time in their career.

One of the things I find myself saying to my clients nearly every week is some variation of, “Listen, man, you can work for your business, or you can make your business work for you.”

Inevitably their next question is, “But how?”

One of the greatest tools that I’ve come across to help entrepreneurs and small business owners start taking back control of their time, their business, and their life is my version of Michael Hyatt’s “Ideal Week” that I call the “Optimal Week."

The idea behind the "Optimal Week" is to craft a vision for yourself of what your week would look like if you had 100-percent control over your time and schedule.

The difference between Michael’s Ideal Week and my Optimal Week is that I don’t necessarily divide my week into themes or segment my days into focus areas.

I schedule my Optimal Week VERY PURPOSEFULLY to maximize my ability to focus on my quarterly goals. That may mean that my days have themes, or it may mean that I have purposefully loaded my week to place a priority on a specific goal.


Here’s what mine looks like for Q4, 2018:


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In my case, for Q4, the Big Rocks are my coaching time and my creative time. These go into my calendar FIRST.

What that means is that the ONLY time that I have for coaching is between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If the only time that someone can fit me into their schedule is on a Monday or a Friday, then I won’t take them on as a client.

I’m FIRM on my calendar because I’m FIRM on creating the life that I’ve always imagined.

Likewise, this quarter I am working on several creative projects that require focused creative time so I’ve made sure to put them in my calendar as a priority. Again, this time is non-negotiable.


Elements of an Optimal Week:


Sunday Planning Session (SPS)

The first and the most important element of my week is my Sunday Planning Session. My SPS is where I set the tone for my week, schedule my important tasks for the week, and identify potential roadblocks that need to be addressed to keep me on track for my goals.

Morning and Evening Rituals 

I firmly believe that the way that I start and end my day has a significant impact on the success or failure of that day. In the morning, after waking around 4:30 a.m., I do some variation of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning routine called SAVERS.

  1. Silence – I meditate using Sam Harris’s Waking Up App
  2. Affirmations – I repeat a set of affirmations that I’ve written for myself out loud;
  3. Visualization – I spend time visualizing what a successful day would look, feel, taste, and smell like
  4. Exercise – I perform a very simple 7-minute mini-workout using an app called 7M Workout that hits me with a different set of exercises each day;
  5. Reading – I read something inspirational for about 5-10 minutes. I’m currently alternating between random chapters in Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans and rereading one of my all-time favorites The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin;
  6. Scribing – This is basically journaling. I also alternate this time between The Five Minute Journal and a process called Morning Pages which is simply 3 hand-written pages that I use to empty my “monkey mind”. o In the evening my ritual is much simpler. I generally drink some form of non-caffeinated tea like Chamomile or Peppermint and then sit down for the second half of my journaling in my office before heading to bed where we keep the temperature very cool for optimal sleeping. I’m generally in bed by 8:30 or 9 each night.


I’ve tried every time of day for a workout, but the morning works best for both my body and my brain. Any anxiety or uneasiness that I have in the morning can generally be allayed through a simple cardio workout (I like the bike) and some simple strength training. For this season I am not training for any event in particular so 5 hours of weekday workouts plus a longer, fun “workout” on the weekend is enough to keep me where I need to be.

Process Emails, Complete Tasks

One thing that I think entrepreneurs spend WAY too much time on is email and task completion. I use task batching (See Issue 3) to complete all of my tasks for the week in a focused 9 to10 hours per week. This is more than enough time to get everything I need to get done. Notice I only do this TWICE PER DAY. My email is not open all day long and I’ve got my notifications turned off for the most part.

Scheduled Meeting Blocks

I’m a big fan of meetings because I think that they help us set deadlines, communicate with our teams, and spend time together face-to-face. That being said, too many meetings are never a good thing. I schedule 4 slots for meetings each week, from 8 to 9 a.m. only, and always backed up by another non-negotiable task block so that I can make sure my meetings are efficient.

Coaching and Creative Blocks

As I mentioned, these items are my focus areas this quarter, but in other quarters I may split up or use these larger blocks for prospecting, or training if I’ve got an event coming up.

Close The Week

I have been taking Friday afternoons off with my wife for the last 8 years or so, thanks to this block. This is where I wrap up my week, prepare a draft schedule for my next week and finish any remaining tasks before the weekend. Once I close my week, I’m done and off to a Friday matinee or bike ride with Wonder Woman.

It’s important to understand that this is an OPTIMAL week.

I rarely complete my Optimal Week to 100-percent perfection. In fact, I generally consider it to be a pretty good week if I hit 70 to 80 percent completion.

The purpose behind this strategy isn’t to create a plan that doesn’t allow for upsets or flexibility. It’s designed to place the most IMPORTANT items in my calendar in positions of priority so that I can increase the chances of getting those things completed while minimizing chances for interruptions and distractions to upset my day.

Finally, I regard each of my blocks as “Lego blocks.”

What I mean by this is that if for some reason my schedule gets upset I can simply grab an entire block of time and move it to another location.

This allows me some flexibility while also making sure that I don’t simply skip past an important item without making sure that I have allocated new time for it in my calendar. 


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