I’ve heard it said that most people overestimate what they can do in a week and underestimate what they can do in a year. I couldn’t agree more.
I like a new week, that’s how I roll. I like Sunday night because I’ve clicked the odometer again. There’s a good mile behind and a good mile yet to come.
If you’re the kind who keeps a bucket list, do you ever marvel at how overwhelming it looks? Mine is still three pages long and in some places the handwriting is so tiny that only I could ever decipher it. There are arrows pointing to items that are related to each other, point-form lists in margins, you name it. It’s the same paper it was written on when I was in grade twelve, before they were even called “bucket lists”. Even when I cross things off, I still have yet to toss the paper out because there are things on every page I have yet to do.
One thing that has helped tremendously is to view a year as nothing more than a sequence of weeks. This sounds pretty obvious, but here’s the thing:
I tried breaking it down into smaller chunks, with a daily approach, but that didn’t fit the way I do things. Nor did it help to view goals on a monthly basis.
A week is a small enough period of time to manage in your head, and not so far away that it’ll never get here. If it’s Monday and you’re gearing up for something to happen on Thursday, it’s a lot easier to work it backwards and know what you have to do now in order to reach that stage. I’ve noticed, however, that by the time I start thinking in terms of the month ahead, I lose focus. And when it comes to a year, forget it. I do have things planned out on a dry-erase calendar eight months from now such as “…by now we should have contract firmed up with Carib island” and here’s why:
There’s a huge difference between focus and action in the sense that your focus lies down the road, in the future, but you can only take action in the present.
When a year has gone by and you’re thinking about all the things you wanted to do over the past year but didn’t, I’ll guarantee that although your long-term focus may need to be adjusted, it’s your short-term action strategy that’s the problem. If you’re overestimating what you can do in a week, you’re going to be that much more prone to give up when what you want doesn’t immediately appear. You’ll get frustrated and quit, or worse, if you can’t do it in a week you won’t even bother trying. You’ll still want what you wanted before, but your actions were miscalculated, and now it seems as though what you want is never going to come.
Don’t let this happen to you.
It’s great to plan your life out a year in advance. Hell, don’t stop there. Do you have a five-year plan? That seems to make people feel good, a five-year plan. Never mind that things have happened to you in the last five years that you never could have seen coming, and could have dealt with a lot better if you’d been thinking of your week instead of your year.
Here’s the thing: If you put a dollar in a jar every year, at the end of the year you’d have $365, obviously. Do it every day and it’s a habit, you don’t have to think about it. Coming up with seven dollars a week requires only a tiny bit more thought – the perfect amount, in my view, because the thought it requires makes you stop and assess where you are versus where you want to be. It takes a few minutes, then you continue on. But at the end of the year, if you’ve done nothing, now you’re scrambling to find $365 and thinking to hell with it. And another year down the tubes.
One year is going to come and go whether you like it or not. One year of surprise job offers, breakups, new dates, all kinds of things you had everything from a huge hand to no hand in planning. But one thing I can tell you is that it’s going to come at you one week at a time. Learn how to manage a week, and do that fifty-two times, and suddenly your year has made a lot more sense.
Download The Right Question and you’ll never have this problem again.