Ideal Week

March 7, 2024

I have participants in Best Laid Plans Academy and Planning by Season complete an ideal week template. My favorite layout is a vertical weekly, similar to what is in the weekly pages of the Hobonichi Cousin (or a Hemlock & Oak, Sterling Ink, Wonderland, EC hourly, etc).

I think it’s an exercise best done seasonally, especially as a parent of school-aged kids. A lot can change from season to season! The weather might impact whether you build in an afternoon walk, and of course daylight savings time (time change coming up!) might change your tolerance for various morning or evening activities.

(Though not me, really. I am running in the dark for most of the year and I go to bed early either way, so whatever. I guess if anything I prefer shorter evenings because they are more in sync with my own chemistry!)

Anyway, I just completed my own template for Q2; this layout was included in the March newsletter but if you’d like it and didn’t receive it, let me know and I can send it!


  • Finding 1:1 time for the kids IS hard in this season! I need to sneak it in where I can (often around kid-centered appointments).
  • There is a reason I am finding it hard to fit in the following: helping G with piano; helping others with homework (not always needed, but sometimes and then it can feel urgent . . .); organizing of any kind. For the organizing and piano practice, I should probably should set the bar really low (like – 5-10 min piano 3x/week, 30 min of organizing on Sunday and maybe a 10-minute decluttering blitz Tue/Thur). For the homework, I probably need to think about bringing in an expert for one of the kids who seems to need help in a specific subject fairly regularly. (Tutor would probably be better teacher than I am anyway . . .). I guess seeing it laid out like this, I don’t necessarily want the time I spend with the kids to be focused on homework and I definitely do not want to spend hours/week organizing the house!! I’d rather have more time to just hang out, chat, etc.
  • Finding 1:1 time for myself/Josh IS ALSO HARD. This is a reason that probably every other Saturday (or so) should be a date night (though obviously have to work around call schedules)
  • I should have enough writing time to really create something here. I can do a lot with a solid block 2x/week. Could potentially add time for this while waiting for kids at the gym (I oddly enjoy writing in the gymnastics waiting room!?) and on Sundays.
  • There is no way I will get anything of substance done on Saturday post-long-run so that should just be chill time (after kid activities, but my roles there are not too strenuous. Just drive/wait).
  • I should try really hard to keep kid (and self) appointments to Tue/Thur AFTERNOONS or even end-of-day Weds on my admin days. Mornings are so much more naturally productive.
  • Same with email – I can and should certainly look at it earlier, but the routine ‘cleanout’ should be an afternoon activity.

I think I will do a routine audit AND a monthly calendar sort of like this weekly one next. In other news, we toured a possible school and I have a lot of my mental energy going towards this decision. I just want things DONE and SETTLED in this particular realm. Trying to be patient and grateful that at least it is somewhat time limited. Certainly by August, this will no longer be up in the air!

Have you done an ideal week lately?

It is NOT a quick exercise! Mine took over an hour to draw out. I feel like it was totally worth it though (and fine, at least a little bit fun). If you are digital person I could see doing this with an Apple Pencil or something directly onto the pdf.


  • Reply Sophie March 7, 2024 at 4:12 pm

    Ooh I love this exercise. What great insights you’ve gathered from yours. I have done this in the past, and particularly for work. I’m an academic researcher and one big improvement I’ve done this year is to schedule recurring meeting s with myself every weekday morning for 2-3 hours for deep work (writing papers, grants, conference prep etc), which reduces the likelihood someone else (or me) will schedule busy work/meetings in those prime slots. Inevitably there will be one to two days a week when a meeting or other urgent task ends up in those slots, but even then it means I get 2-4 chunks of deep work done per week, which is a decent amount. So thats been successful! it also helps me see when im at capacity with other types of work so I can say no! ill have to try with a whole week using your template now 🙂

    • Reply Coree March 8, 2024 at 2:37 am

      Sophie, that’s such a good idea. I am not teaching (for the whole year due to a curriculum shift!) so I don’t have a ton of fixed things on my calendar but I think I need to shift what meetings I have to just after lunch? I thought 3-4pm was best, but sometimes I get stuck into writing and get annoyed I have to stop.

      • Reply Sophie March 9, 2024 at 1:48 pm

        I’ve definitely found that morning writing and after lunch meetings (and/or emails/admin) work best for me. Seeing the time blocked out on the calendar helps a lot. Good luck with your writing, great you’ve got a break from teaching.

  • Reply Elisabeth March 7, 2024 at 5:34 pm

    I have the template downloaded and plan to print it off and fill it out soon – maybe not so much with an “ideal” week because our schedule is just…too flexible for that?… but using it to regularly time block my weeks out in advance

  • Reply Grateful Kae March 7, 2024 at 7:42 pm

    I LOVE this template but feel like this is sooo hard for me to actually do, even just seasonally. Our schedule just seems to change a lot. Like currently, the boys have these random indoor pre-season soccer practices. One week it might be Tuesday. One week its Wednesday and Friday. Different times. Different places. Same with swim- there are often more practices offered than he actually attends, and he might pick and choose and do early morning vs evening practice depending on what else is going on. Some days E has a ride home from school, on others needs my husband to get him. Even my typical work hours can vary depending on early or late meetings… Weekends definitely have no rhyme or reason either- could be empty, could be an all day swim meet or something in between. Makes it feel impossible to ever have anything very routinely planned on weekends! It is pretty haphazard feeling many weeks. Throw in that we often seem to have family here on random times and that doesn’t help either. AND, we are just not generally super structured people either; we tend to be pretty go with the flow (esp my husband) and any time I try to plan everything out, it always seems to get derailed, anyway. 😅 I just feel like even some of our scheduling “big rocks” aren’t even always consistent.

    I realize this is just supposed to be an “ideal week”, not an actual schedule to necessarily follow per se, and I do love the concept! I do think it’s a super useful exercise too and the template is AMAZING. I just think it’s tricky for me in this particular season, though some of our seasons can be a little more routine than others.

  • Reply Evi March 8, 2024 at 8:20 am

    I am loving your ideal week. I am doing my one today on google calendar (including different colours). What do the dotted lines mean on yours? I also noticed that some boxes have lines and others don’t. Why is that? Thank you!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 8, 2024 at 12:44 pm

      I just did that when I wanted a different color I think – or just for aesthetics! I was not super consistent in my color coding beyond a few things that I kept the same 🙂

  • Reply Daria March 11, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    I tried it and it was …. depressing how far my ideal week is from reality. LOL I blame my children LOL

  • Reply Anne March 19, 2024 at 11:01 am

    This might be a dupe, sorry. I don’t get your newsletter, but if you’re willing to share your template, I’d love to see it! I would use it similarly to Elisabeth, in planning out my weeks. Thanks for considering!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 20, 2024 at 3:41 pm


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