My Ideal Ordinary Week

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Hey friends,

To be more intentional with my time, I’ve started using a method called the ‘Ideal Ordinary Week’.

Here’s how it works.

Imagine your ideal week, with all the activities you’d make time for – work, exercise, time with family, hobbies etc.

Then create a blank Google Calendar and block out reasonable times for your top priorities. For example:

  • 8-9am every Tuesday and Thursday for exercise.
  • 6-8pm every day for ‘family time’.
  • 30 mins of reading each night, and lights off at 11pm.

You’ll end up a fairly full calendar. Here’s how my Ideal Ordinary Week looked when I drafted it a couple of weeks ago, for example:

I recommend drafting your ideal ordinary week in two phases:

Phase 1 – Ideal ordinary week right now.

Trying to imagine your ideal week right now, accounting for all the constraints of your current life. Once you’re done, move those blocks to your real calendar and set them as recurring events. This will help you make time for stuff that really matters.

Phase 2 – Ideal ordinary week in the future.

A year from now, or 3 years from now, what would you love a normal week to look like? For me, there’s now not much difference between “ideal week right now” and “ideal week in the future” (other than wanting to have kids some day, which is going to change it).

But when I had a day job, 10 hours of each weekday were “used up” on average. So I had to fit everything else in around that. So this is more of a goal-setting activity, to know what you’re working towards.

Here’s what my real calendar looks like for 5-11 December:

I’ve moved things around a bit to account for real life:

But overall it’s pretty reasonable.

Three Key Benefits

This Ideal Ordinary Week method has helped me in 3 main ways:

  1. 🧘 Thinking Intentionally
    The simple act of constructing my ideal week makes me to think more intentionally about life, and how I’d like to spend my time.
  2. 👉 Useful Nudges
    The events on my calendar give my useful nudges. At 10pm, for example, I get a calendar notification saying ‘No more devices, bed and reading.” And I think “huh that’s a good idea – I think I will do that.’ It’s a gentle suggestion from my intentional self. Obviously stuff comes up. But it works most days.
  3. 🛡️Protecting My Time
    The calendar acts as a gatekeeper for my time. If I want to take on a new thing, I look at my calendar and see that most of the space is blocked out. So I’ll think “well I need to make space for this”.

    And if I don’t have space, then I think “that’s okay, it’s not a priority compared to these other things that I either have to do, or want to do”. This stops me from taking on too many tasks, then getting annoyed at myself for not having enough time. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day.

It’s literally as easy as creating a new calendar (Google, iCal, piece of paper), spending 15 minutes brainstorming your ideal week, then trialling your system and making tweaks along the way. Give it a try.

Have a great (and possibly ideal) week!

Ali xx

🧠 Notion

Notion is an incredible productivity app. I use it for all my creative and business projects, including:

🎬 Scripting Videos

📮 Writing Newsletters

🎙️ Running my Podcast

It’s also game-changing for planning personal projects like holidays, workouts, and meal prep.

My favourite thing about Notion is how easy it is to customise workflows. You can use kanban boards, video embeds, smart spreadsheets – the list goes on. It’s a super-clean and minimalist app by default. But I give my pages some character by adding emojis and images.

For more ideas, Notion has a massive online community creating page templates (check out my free set of YouTube creator templates). Get started on Notion today for free using my link: https://ntn.so/sundaysnippets.

Thanks to Notion for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 😄

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – Francesca Specter on How To Be Alone And Happy. Francesca’s the author of Alonement: How To Be Alone And Absolutely Own It, where she celebrates the transformative power of spending time alone. We talked about ‘solitude skills’, why we need alonement in our daily lives, and how to turn loneliness into positive solitude.

📚 Book – So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. I recently looked over my Readwise highlights from this book for an upcoming video. SGTCIY had an enormous impact on me when I read it back in 2017, and helped me make loads of career decisions. So, thanks for that Cal. 😊

📝 Article – Macro Procrastination by Neel Nanda. Great article about how easy it is to ignore important long-term goals. Especially if nobody is holding us accountable, and there’s no immediate urgency.

🗄️ Furniture – Filing Cabinet. I recently bought one of these to keep under my desk, and stash all the papers that tend to clutter my desk and floor. Having clear surfaces has been a major quality-of-life upgrade.

🎬 My New Videos

🌴 How to Make 3k per Month – The Digital Nomad Playbook Imagine having the freedom and flexibility to work on your own terms… In this video I want to give you a step by step framework to get to that point.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.

From High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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Vijay Burnwal
6 days ago

Hi Ali, Love from India. I have been following you for the last one month. And without any doubt, you have started changing my life in a good way. I have subscribed to you and am following your weekly newsletter.
Thanks a bunch 😊. Keep doing the good work. May god bless you and your family.