When a client comes to me in overwhelm or needing help with their work-life balance, the very first step I take with them is to design a Favorite Week. It’s essentially a budget of your time. A financial budget is spending your money on paper before you make it. A Favorite Week is spending your time before it happens.
It’s a template. Given the priorities you juggle, design a schedule that leaves you feeling the best. Give the appropriate amount of time to each of the areas of your life.
I teach these steps:
- Define your priorities/mental load
- Consider how much time you need to be able to thrive in each area
- Figure out a flow that leaves you feeling really good
Then, play Tetris. (If you’re Gen Z and don’t know that reference as some of my teen clients have brought to my attention, Google it, lol) Make it all fit.
- Consider tasks that have to be done daily or weekly and build in when you will consistently do them
- Be realistic. Just because something can fit on the calendar at 8pm or 6am, are you ACTUALLY going to feel like doing it at that time, or will you just be constantly letting yourself down for not following through on something? Don’t set yourself up for failure.
- Share this flow with the people in your life. If you have a partner, an employee or anyone else who actively plays a role in your schedule, let them know your intentions so they don’t commit you to things that will sabotage your flow
Making the plan is one thing, but there’s a reason it’s called the FAVORITE week. It’s best case scenario. Tiramisu ice cream is my favorite flavor. It’s rarely available for me. So I often enjoy chocolate or coffee. This template sets you up for success, but being human means there are circumstances outside our control. So we must be prepared to be flexible.
In the game Jenga, you start with the perfect tower. It’s strong. It’s stable. Everything is precisely where it belongs. And then…you begin adjusting.
Your Favorite Week is the starting tower. Everything fits perfectly. It’s your best case scenario.
Each week, it’s almost guaranteed you will need to make adjustments. This is where the most important work begins:
Declare your non-negotiables.
What absolutely must occur to set the rest of the week of up for success?
Think of each one of these cell blocks as a Jenga block. Some of them you can move around and absolutely nothing happens. They practically pop out on their own. The stability of your tower is not impacted by moving that piece around. However, other pieces, if moved will either make the tower wobbly or will cause it to come crashing down.
I recorded a full episode on the podcast this week (episode number 11) explaining the entire process and why mine is designed the way it is. Here is a link to find the episode on your preferred app.
Examples shown below: (top) My personal example of a favorite week. (bottom) A blank template.
I created these in Google Sheets but you could easily replicate in Excel or a similar program.