Seven Days

What did you do in the past seven days?

What things did you learn? What life lessons did you draw from them? How has your life improved from their passing? Where did you succeed? Where did you have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes? What challenges did you face?

One of the most effective techniques I can offer for putting your life on track is the weekly review. I usually take an hour or two on Sunday to carefully examine the preceding week and ask myself the above questions. Everything I did wrong in the past week I take steps to learn from so I won’t repeat those mistakes. I will also examine my successes looking to see what strengths I possess allowed me to make those small accomplishments.

This postmortem of a week will allow you to have some clear insight into your progress or lack thereof. If you can’t find anything you’ve learned from the past week then it was wasted. When you take a look at your past week, looking at what you have learned and how you have improved yourself, you can really see how appropriately you are using your time.

Just remember that this week has past. Don’t beat yourself up about wasted time or your failures, focus instead on how you can use that knowledge to avoid succumbing to the same faults in the week ahead.

Use this process to motivate you in your week ahead. Looking back at your past week can be a very motivating exercise because it gives you the tools to put into focus what is important to you. Now that you know what you did wrong, and more importantly, why it went wrong, you can take steps to change so that the week ahead will be better.

The next step is to decide what you want to accomplish in the week ahead. Decide what you want to pay attention to and focus on. Using the problems you encountered last week, come up with solutions to possible problems that might come up in the week ahead. So if you had a dietary goal and blew it on a bag of Oreo’s, then come up with some steps to preventing that from happening in the next week.

Using these week blocks for reflection and planning can be ideal. Often times people only use the calender year blocks (which explains all those New Years Resolutions!) to reflect and plan. While I think that yearly reviews are an excellent practice, I believe that doing a similar form of reflection every week can allow you to make improvements far more readily.

While I also advocate short daily review times, I don’t find them as significant as the weekly review. It is unpractical for most people to spend a few hours reviewing their day. More importantly, a day is often too short to see the larger accomplishments or behavioral trends that we can see in a week. Occasionally we can have a big interruption which can throw much of our day. However over the course of seven days, if each day gets off-course from an interruption we can see a larger trend which needs attention.

Use this week to really reconnect with your long-term and mid-range goals. This is the time to review and make adjustments or add new ones. Taking your long-term goals into account can allow you to effectively plan out your week to move you closer to achieving them.

For example, if you have a goal to own your own business by a certain date, then what steps can you take in the next week to move you closer to that goal? At the very least you could try to read a book on operating your own business.

So allot yourself a period of time each week, completely undisturbed when you can spend some time reflecting on your past week and planning for the week ahead. Don’t tell me you’re too busy. You are too busy not to spend some time reflecting about your past week. Doing this review might be the most important thing you do all week, so I’m sure in the 168 hours per week you can find one or two to do this.

How was your last seven days?