The Ideal Week

The Ideal Week

Martin Kettelhut, PhD

Dr. Kettelhut has coached groups and corporate teams, as well as individual entrepreneurs and executives, since 1997. Before then “Doc” received a PhD from Temple University and taught ethics, logic and aesthetics at Villanova and Drexel Universities in the Philadelphia area. To connect with Martin, sign up for free / log in on


Create & Implement Effective Systems by Martin Kettelhut

The Ideal Week

The ideal week’s calendar looks like a normal week’s calendar (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… across the top; and 8a, 9a, 10a … down the left-hand column), except that instead of your current week’s activities, the ideal calendar shows what it would look like to live your day completely in alignment with your consciously chosen, best intentions. You can use Excel, or a piece of paper and pen, to draft your ideal week.

Tip:  For the sake of efficacy with this exercise, I encourage you to detach from your current week’s calendar, and also from your thoughts and feelings (as the person living your schedule), do this exercise as if you were doing it for someone else, someone you love profoundly. You can make notes as you work through the exercise as to things you notice you want to detach from, put closure on, or otherwise rethink your relationship to.

If you’re committed to it, there has to be a place for it in real time, i.e. in your calendar.

            Why isn’t the ideal week not just one spent on the beach?

            If ideal, then it’s workable & sustainable…maybe even inspiring. 

Put meeting times in the ideal week at those times when you’re in the best state to interact, administrative tasks where you are focused and productive, visioning and planning when you feel free and creative, and manual labor where the body wants to move.

Put what’s important (versus urgent) in your ideal week first, i.e. prioritize activities expressive of your life purpose, including rest/time to synthesize between activities, fun/integrative activities (like playing music or sports), and personal development.

If something doesn’t fit, then one of two things is true; either it’s still got to get done, but you’re not the one to do it (See pp 46-7 of LISTEN…Till You Disappear re: how to delegate well.), or it’s meant to be dropped altogether (obligations, bad habits, distractions).

We probably won’t be able to implement the whole ideal week immediately. However, every time you are asked to make a certain meeting, and you act as if you were living the ideal week, you move one step closer to actually living your ideal week.

Backing out of commitments can be tricky. Make sure you clarify that the change is not about them. Let them in on your motivation, for example, “I’ve enjoyed being with you, and I need to make a change to narrow my focus on money-making efforts / family / restoring health.”

Some things, like special projects, travel, or celebrations don’t live in an average week anyway; so keep your thoughts, research, and planning toward such things in a separate tickler file.

Things you might learn through this exercise:

  • That you’re spending lots of time helping people but not getting paid for it
  • That you’re spending lots of time doing things others need to learn to do
  • That the people who report to you can meet without you (most times)
  • That you’d prefer to spend time with loved ones doing something more meaningful than being glued to (a) screen(s)
  • That your attachments are the very things in the way of fulfilling on your highest aspirations
  • That you need to reframe your commitments with certain people

Let your ideal calendar integrate all your values (like work and play) into the whole, rich life you aspire to. “By stepping back and looking at how you will actually spend the time of your life, instead of just living out of reaction to protect your ego’s attachments, you are on your way to living from unconditional love…of what you do, of life, and of yourself.” (p 120, LISTEN…Till You Disappear)


Martin Kettelhut, PhD


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