One of the most challenging things about coalition work is scheduling meetings. When we try to find times that align with our partners and teams, we often struggle with figuring out the right day or time that will work best for most participants. In our era of continued virtual meetings, occasional in-person meetings and hybrid opportunities, we can also find ourselves “overscheduled” and struggling to find time to get our most important work done. If you are working to regain your rhythm, one of the best things you can do is to create and honor your “ideal week.” Join me this week as I provide three steps to take to create – or re-create your ideal week.
Consider your energy.
When are you at your best? What times of day are ideal for you to spend time working on priorities that require thoughtfulness, strategy, writing or thinking work? If you are a morning person and your best ideas, thoughts and products are created in the morning, then block time on your calendar for one or more mornings each week for focused time to write, create and think. Alternatively, if you work best in the afternoon, then block that time. Also, treat these time blocks as meetings (with yourself) and work diligently to keep those appointments. If you are going to find rhythm, you have to create and protect time to work on what is most important for you.. When you have already scheduled time on your calendar, it is much easier to protect that time when the next meeting request, calendly or doodle poll is in your email.
Reflect upon your priorities.
What is most important for you to be working on right now? In each area of life? When you paused and reflected upon what kinds of things you particularly enjoy and are good at doing, what are those areas? Depending upon your season, some of this work may be very meeting intensive and you need to create lots of open time to meet with specific groups. In other seasons, you may be responsible for writing, developing, creating, planning and need more space on your calendar for focused time. You also want to consider priorities outside of your coalition work. If you have a child in school and you want to be the one to pick her up, then you need to include that as part of your ideal week planning. You may have exercise goals, want to cook more meals at home, and would like to incorporate more quality family or friend time every week. When you consider what is important to you in each area of life, you will be more equipped to designate specific time to those priorities. You can not be everything to everyone but you can decide what you want to prioritize right now. Also, protecting time to rest and to play will re-energize you to be at your best. These underappreciated calendar items are often the difference between you being exhausted and overwhelmed or energized and living in rhythm.
Put it on your calendar.
Use the information in steps 1 and 2 to inform your ideal week and then develop the specifics in your calendar. I start by writing this down in the “ideal week” section of my planner (love the Full Focus Planner System!). Then, I take these blocks of time and put them in my electronic calendar. This allows me and others to accurately assess my availability and protects the time to devote to my priorities. While I know you want to be available to your coalition and to others in your life, you also have to set boundaries and create blocks of time to do what is most important during your current season. This also helps you have clarity on the areas where you can say “yes” and “no” in order to regain or maintain rhythm. When you put things on your calendar, you can also realize that you may not need to be the one participating in every meeting. As I have been working with multiple teams lately, I realize that I can provide some guidance and direction but do not have to be involved in each meeting. When I consider my ideal week, this helps with discerning where I need to be involved and where I need to delegate to other team members.
So what about you? What will you do next to create your ideal week?
If you would like more support in applying this practical action, check out my resource, Escape the Overwhelm Checklist!