How do you make sure your most important priorities get done each week? How do you take control of your time before others start making their own demands? You create an ideal week plan.
In this episode, Sandra will walk you through how to make time to do everything you need to get done and do the things you want to do! She’ll share what her week looks like as she cares for her family, serves her church, creates content for her audience, and plans for speaking events.
Find the show notes with all the links you need at sandrapeoples.com/podcast.
If this episode is helpful to you, take a second to hit that five-star rating! Or take 2 minutes to write a review!
Listen to Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver on iTunes or the link at the end of this post.
Quick links from the episode:
- Episode 6: How Decision Fatigue Leads to Caregiver Burnout
- Michael Hyatt’s post on the Ideal Week
- PDF of My Ideal Week Grid
- Listen to the bonus episode on Patreon
- All Access Disability Ministry Conference (Houston, TX area on Feb. 22nd)
- Sandra’s speaking schedule
- Sandra on Instagram
This is self care and soul care for the care giver, and I’m your host—Sandra Peoples. To us, self care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. We want to take better care of ourselves so we’re able to care for our loved ones who rely on us.
Friends, if you’re listening to this in real time, meaning it’s the week of Jan. 20thright now as you listen, my family is going through some huge schedule changes! I’m so glad I planned for this episode this week. What we talk about today has helped me make the transitions smoother on our entire family. But more about that when we dive in to today’s topic which is creating the ideal week
In episode 6 we talked about how stressful it can be for caregivers to make so many decisions each day. We’re not only making them for ourselves, we’re making them for our children as well. The solution is to eliminate decision fatigue. I shared how to do that in episode 6, and this week we’re diving even deeper into how to make our lives run smoother.
So let’s walk through how to create a plan for the ideal week.
I first heard the idea of an ideal week from author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt. The idea is that you use a grid with blocks of hours of time and decide what you would do with each hour of the week if you got to design your week. The idea of the ideal week isn’t that it’s a goal you’ll never meet, but that if you don’t know what you really want to do with each hour of the week, you may find yourself wasting the most important hours of your day. But when you have a plan, it puts that decision making on autopilot, like we talked about in episode 6, so you get done what you really needs to get done each week.
As I mentioned in the introduction, our schedules are going through a big change over the next couple of weeks. James was going to therapy half a day and then school the other half of the day. This meant I was driving him to therapy each morning, picking him up in the middle of the day and driving him to school, then picking him up a few hours later. Our time in the car was taking two hours each day. But starting soon, he’ll be at therapy 3 days a week and at school 2 days a week. That gives me two days a week off from driving him back and forth to therapy!
With this big change, I needed to redo my ideal week. So I printed out the grid from the website weekplan.net, which I’ll link to in the show notes, and sat down to fill it out.
First, I decided on themes for some of my days of the week. On Tuesdays I teach a ladies’ Bible study. So that takes up most of my Tuesday. On Thursdays James will be gone from 8-4, so I’ll be able to get big projects done that take lots of focused time. Friday is Lee’s day off, so anything I do needs to be able to happen with him around. So that leaves Mondays and Wednesdays for everything else in short spurts. I decided Monday will be the day I answer emails, schedule social media, and do graphic design projects. Wednesdays will be my podcast days! I’ll work on the scripts and record each Wednesday. On Fridays, when Lee is home, I can focus on Patreon content, my 3 newsletters that go out each month, and hopefully have lunch with him as often as possible!
I have a few other weekly things I like to get done that need a day of the week. Laundry being the big one. Thursday would be a great laundry day because I’ll be doing projects that require focus, but I will need a reason to get up and stretch my legs every hour or so. Switching over laundry is a great task to get done during that time.
I also have the weekly goal of eating a meal with someone outside of my family. Since I have my Bible study on Tuesdays, it would be the perfect day to be available if the ladies want to go to lunch or to make plans to meet someone else after Bible study.
So with all that in mind, I filled out a grid of my ideal week. The morning and evening routines stay consistent each day. Each month I release a bonus podcast episode for my Patreon supporters, and this week I’ll do a whole episode on my morning and evening routines that you’ll be able to listen to there. Just visit patreon.com/sandrapeoples to learn more.
After the morning and evening routines are in place, I filled out all the rest. I included all the things I have to do and all the things I want to do. Every block of time has an ideal goal. Even if that ideal goal is reading or watching Pioneer Woman reruns. It doesn’t make me a slave to the schedule, it frees me up to do what needs to get done at the best time possible so when I decide on a Saturday morning to get everyone in the car and drive thirty minutes the beach, I know my work and ministry stuff is done and I have the flexibility to do that.
Let me walk you through what each day looks like for me:
The morning routine ends at 9:00 am, and I’m ready to do what’s on the schedule for the week. On Mondays I’m going to start with making the weekly to do list, answering emails, scheduling social media, and creating graphics for any series I have going on. I like to batch my work, so all the social media for the week that can be scheduled will get done at the same time. Around noon I’ll stop for lunch and will either read or watch a Pioneer Woman episode. After lunch I’ll do my Bible study prep so I’m ready for Tuesday morning. James will get picked up at 2:00, so between that time and 4:00 when it’s time to pick up David, I’ll play with James and get kitchen stuff done, like prepping for dinner. Right now on Mondays James has special Olympics practice, so our evening routine is a little different for that, but dinner time, bath time, James’s bed time, and all that comes after are consistent.
On Tuesdays at 9:00 I’ll be getting the house clean for Bible study to start at 9:30. It ends around 11:30 and I’ll go to lunch with a friend. In the afternoon on Tuesdays I’ll do event prep. Right now my friend Tiffany and I are hosting a disability ministry conference on Feb. 22nd, so there’s always something to do to get ready for that. In March, April, and the beginning of May I’ll be speaking almost every weekend and traveling to Maryland, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, and to Dallas and Amarillo here in Texas. So on Tuesdays in those months I’ll work on my presentations, handouts, and powerpoints.
As I mentioned, Wednesdays will be a great day for podcast work. I plan out the topics before each month starts, so each week I’m writing out the scripts, recording, editing, uploading, and finalizing the shownotes. James gets picked up at 2:00 on Wednesdays, so like Mondays, my late afternoons will be with him. On Wednesday nights my husband Lee and my older son David both go to church activities. James and I are working on helping him build up to sitting with us for the music on Sunday mornings, so that’s on our schedule for Wednesday nights since we sit through choir practice to help him get ready for a Sunday morning.
Thursdays will be my long-form writing days. I am really excited about having this blocked out on my schedule since I haven’t had many long days since James started therapy back in Sept. This will include writing the spring Bible study we’ll do in my Patreon group and working on projects I have planned for special-needs siblings.
On Fridays, I’ll get my newsletters out and work with the 3 life coaching clients I have right now. Hopefully Lee and I will get back in the routine of having lunch together since he’s off on Fridays. In the afternoons I can catch up on anything left on the to do list or head to the church to get my special-needs ministry classrooms ready for Sunday. James will get picked up at 2:00 on Fridays, so I’m sure those days will fly by!
That’s my plan for the ideal week! Honestly, I’m getting super excited about our new routine and my plan. On the grid I used, you can fill out the slots on Saturday and Sunday, but I don’t usually do that. My schedule on those days is determined by my husband’s schedule and what the boys are doing, like when David has play rehearsal. I have a meal plan routine that we stick to through the weekends so at least something is predictable, but overall we just do what we need to do and hopefully what we want to do!
Thanks for listening as we talked through the ideal week concept! Here’s what I hope you’ll do next: go to the show notes at sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast and find the link for your own ideal week grid. Then print off two copies. On one copy you can fill out what actually takes up each hour of your week. Then you can review it and fill out the second copy with what you want to happen each hour of next week and the weeks that follow. That will be your ideal week! I’ll show you my actual ideal week print out on Instagram this week, so make sure you’re following me there. My user name is SandraPeoples.
Let me pray for you as we close our time together: God, thank you for giving us 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. We want to honor you with each one! You are infinite and never sleep or grow weary. Some of us try to be like you, cramming too much into our days and trying to get by on too little sleep. This week we’re asking for your wisdom as we plan out what an ideal week would look like. Help us to prioritize what you would prioritize. Help us to balance productivity and rest, work and play, social media and the people we see when we put down our screens. It’s in Jesus’s name we pray, amen.
This has been episode 7 of self care and soul care for the caregiver, and it’s probably my new favorite. At least until next week when we’ll talk about habit triggers! I learned about them last year and they helped me make progress to reach the goals I have, especially my goal to walk more. If this episode was helpful to you, please hit that five star rating so more caregivers can find the podcast and be encouraged! And if you have time, leaving a review would be even more helpful!
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s important for us to take care of ourselves so we can care for the loved ones God has entrusted to us. Thanks for listening and I’ll meet you back here next Monday!