I think most of us have heard the expression: How you spend your time is how you spend your life.

Harsh already – but can we take this a step further today? It’s a little bit challenging and scary, but this idea has been pushing me forward lately and I want to share it with you:

If you don’t know where your time is going, you don’t know where your life is going.

Guys, we have GOT to know where our time is going! It’s all we have!

Hear me on this: I am NOT saying there’s no room for flexibility or spontaneity or rest. These things are vital, and we need to embrace them. We are not machines. Relationships and circumstances sometimes often interrupt our ideal. This is what makes life real. Interesting. Joyful. Even… live-able.

What’s a Dream Week and Why Do I Need One?

A Dream Week is exactly what it sounds like. Your perfect week.

The Dream Week is a mark, or a goal. It is a place to set your eyes and remind yourself of how much (or little!) time you actually and how you can put that time to its best use throughout the week.

It can also serve as a checkpoint to come back to when things aren’t lining up right. Personally speaking, if I’m feeling frazzled or out of control, I can almost always look back to my Dream Week Sheet and see that I haven’t been using my time optimally.

We just have SO LITTLE TIME, guys! Think back to the last time you were really stressed out. Was it a normal week? I don’t know about you, but for me, one of these four things is bound to be involved when I’m stressed:

  • I haven’t stayed disciplined about a certain aspect of my life (like skipping the gym or neglecting my evening routine)
  • I’m trying to do too many things at once (for more on this, check out this post on peaceful productivity)
  • There has been a change in my “normal” (new job, new baby…)
  • There is an outside stressor involved (like family, relationship, or financial stress)

The Dream Week can’t eliminate outside factors (now THAT would be dreamy…), but it is a phenomenal tool to help ensure that you’re making the most of the time you have so that you can ENJOY your life with less stress.

How to create your Dream Week

Oh, this is so easy. With your CURRENT circumstances in mind, outline the most optimal use of your time throughout the week, hour-by-hour. Your goal is to design a week in which you would strike the right balance of

  • family time
  • work
  • productivity
  • down time/”you” time
  • sleep
  • anything else that you want to prioritize

A Sample Dream Week

You can see here that I filled my grid in TWICE. It was helpful for me to fill in my current week first so I could see where my time was actually going. This was a really eye-opening exercise and I invite you to do the same. I color-coded my week according to sections (like work, kids, productivity, relaxation).

When I looked at my current typical week, my biggest takeaways were that there was not enough relaxation time – and also not enough productivity time. Pretty hard to fix, yes? But, with a little tweaking, I was actually able to add three hours of productivity AND one hour of down-time to my dream week. Win.

Plan on!