In recent years there have been significant improvements in the sensitivity and the angular resolution of the instruments dedicated to the observation of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). ACTPol is the first polarization receiver for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and is observing the CMB sky with arcmin resolution over ∼2000 sq. deg. Its upgrade, Advanced ACTPol (AdvACT), will observe the CMB in five frequency bands and over a larger area of the sky. We describe the optimization and implementation of the ACTPol and AdvACT surveys. The selection of the observed fields is driven mainly by the science goals, that is, small angular scale CMB measurements, B-mode measurements and cross-correlation studies. For the ACTPol survey we have observed patches of the southern galactic sky with low galactic foreground emissions which were also chosen to maximize the overlap with several galaxy surveys to allow unique cross-correlation studies. A wider field in the northern galactic cap ensured significant additional overlap with the BOSS spectroscopic survey. The exact shapes and footprints of the fields were optimized to achieve uniform coverage and to obtain cross-linked maps by observing the fields with different scan directions. We have maximized the efficiency of the survey by implementing a close to 24 hour observing strategy, switching between daytime and nighttime observing plans and minimizing the telescope idle time. We describe the challenges represented by the survey optimization for the significantly wider area observed by AdvACT, which will observe roughly half of the low-foreground sky. The survey strategies described here may prove useful for planning future ground-based CMB surveys, such as the Simons Observatory and CMB Stage IV surveys.