Have A Great Week - In 30 Minutes

Here’s some tips I use to have a great week. They can be done in 30 minutes before the next week begins and require almost no preparation. You just do them and presto! - you’ll have a great week. They almost always work, but I’d love to hear from others if they have ideas that can be added to this. It probably isn’t possible to do this every week, but when you need to have a good week, try these tips.


The best defense is a good offense. Well, that’s a great sports line, but as a bona fide NFL afficianado, I’d have to also say a good defense can also be a great defense, regardless of what the offense is doing (or not doing). So, let’s start with our defensive strategy. We have to remove things that will likely cause you to stumble and undo any positive gains your offense might be able to make this week.

1. Remove at least 3 negative people from your influence. Some people constantly cause you to waste time responding to inane emails, or they call you with phone calls that keep you from being productive, happy, or positive. Remove them. I call this “ex-looping”. They are out of the loop. Gone. Banished.

Set up a filter (or “rule” as Outlook calls it) in your email box that sends their emails to a folder with their name on it and marks their emails as “read”. You don’t want to see a folder with unread emails in it, or that will cause you to want to read them (and possibly reply). If you think you’ll be tempted to check those folders anyway (as I often am), do what I do and add them to your “blocked senders” list. They won’t know. Your email provider will just delete the emails and you’ll never get them. You can unblock them next week.

Same goes for your cell phone. Put them on the “straight to voicemail” list. If you have to check your voicemail, promise yourself that at the first word where you recognize their voice, you’ll hit delete (or if you absolutely must, save for next week).

You might think about doing this every week, but if these are your friends (or family), then you will probably have to “re-loop” them again. But what they don’t know won’t hurt them. If they are the kind of person I’m thinking of here, the odds are great that you won’t miss a thing.

2. Limit email influence. First, turn off your email notifier. Outlook and others have little splash screens that pop up and tell you that new mail is arriving (here’s how you can turn off Outlook’s). Turn them off. Then, go into your Account settings and make sure email checking is sent to no more than twice a day, the first time being in the afternoon (not the morning). There is usually no setting for this. Just turn off auto-checking and just check it manually by clicking “send/receive”. You own the mornings this week - not the people who email you. The second check can be in the late afternoon or evening depending on your job. Some people (like Tim Ferris of the Four-Hour Work Week) promote a twice-a-day email check all the time (actually far less in his case), so you may want to keep it this way if you can. Personally, I’m too much of an email junkie, so I find it more rewarding to do this in short bursts like a week, then go back to normal for a while.

3. Postpone everything you dread, fear, or dislike. This is the opposite of what some self-help book might tell you. Those books always promote tackling this stuff head on to overcome those FUD issues (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). Forget that. You can do that later. For now, look at your schedule for the week. Then, shoot out emails or make quick calls to anyone and everyone that expects you to do something or be something that you’d rather not do. That Thursday night PTA meeting? Tell teacher she’ll have to meet with you and your child next week instead because something came up. The Monday morning weekly meeting at work? Email Sunday and say you’ll be late due to some family issues at home. Your brother’s birthday party in which he expects you to be the funny guy and help him look good in front of his new girlfriend? Well, you get the picture. It’s all canceled. The only thing left on your calendar is stuff you are looking forward to.

4. Take no risks. Sometimes, when we are feeling positive, we jump on a project that we had previously abandoned. Or we email that old friend to see how they are doing. Or we decide to take the family on an outing somewhere we don’t normally go. The danger is, of course, that the project will consume you and remind you of all the reasons you had left it dormant, that your old email buddy will write back something like “Who is this?”, or maybe worse, not write back at all, and the family trip will get ruined by rain. I’m certainly not advocating avoiding these things permanently (or else life would be a drag), but this week, you are going to be the epitome of the “clock-in, clock-out” guy. Remember the cartoon about the wolf and the sheepdog that clock-in, then chase each other around all day, then clock-out and just go home? That’s you this week. No risks, just the basics. Focus on being stable and consistent, not energetic and tackling the world. You might be surprised at how well your week goes when you are just being a run-of-the-mill guy. Put a plain sheet of paper inside your top drawer (or on your car dash) that says “Take no risks”. You’ll know what it means and it will help your great week from being derailed by the person most capable of derailing it: you.

5. Lastly, get rid of one bad habit that you did last week. It doesn’t have to be the worst one, but it has to be one that you regret at least a little bit. Maybe it was eating ice cream three nights last week. Or maybe it was not shaving a few days in a row (guy or girl). Or maybe it was something far worse. Regardless, write it down. For this week, you are going to skip it. Develop new bad habits if you must, but you won’t do last week’s bad habit. Put it in your wallet or purse. “No second glass of red wine after dinner this week”. Or “no flirting with copy boy this week”. This isn’t a lifestyle change, it’s an elevation. You are going to the next floor above your present life. You are visiting for just a week. Don’t read anything more into it than that.


Now that you’re defenses are setup, it’s time to create a small artillery unit to command your offense. Here’s a few things that work for me.

1. Buy a new music album that you’ve been wanting for a while. Don’t be safe. Buy something kind of different. Maybe it will be something you wouldn’t let your children listen to or maybe it will be an album you used to listen to a lot in high school. This is your theme music for the week. It is all you will listen to in your free time. Try to get it right away (no mail order) so buy it as a download through iTunes, or stop by the mall and pick it up over the weekend before your “Great Week” ahead. Enjoy the album. Maybe even blog about it. Or write an email to a friend and tell them how much you are enjoying it - even if it is something kind of corny. Like a Winger album. Ooops! Did I say that outloud?

2. Make your work area, in some small way, one step closer to your dream work area. Look at your desk or work area and find the one thing that annoys you. Throw it in the trash. Then order a new one online. If that stapler never seems to work right, get rid of it and spend some bucks ordering a high quality stapler. If your phone is lacking quality features that you need, pitch it and order a new one. Get a high-quality pen to replace that cheap Bic you’re coasting by with. While you are waiting for the one to arrive, you just won’t have the old one. One less annoyance in your life. Better to have no stapler than a bad stapler.

3. While you’re at it, completely clean off your desk. I’m not talking about a huge organizational challenge. Just throw it all into a drawer if you have to. This week, you’ll work from a completely clean desk. No papers, no memos, no sticky notes, no business cards, nothing. Normally people do a huge desk cleaning project in order to get ready to tackle some bigger challenges ahead. Not this week. You’ll get to enjoy a flat surface for the sake of doing less. You can keep your computer on your desk (especially if you work for someone else that might get a bit miffed to see their CAD workstation on the floor). You can also keep a paper football on your desk for playing with friends that stop by. Don’t take more than 10 minutes doing this.

4. Pick five restaurants you’ve never been to and plan to eat lunch (or dinner) there this week. Just jot them down on an index card (which you should always have a steady supply of nearby) and stick it in your wallet or purse. Don’t tell anyone. Eat at them alone. The restaurants should be close by to your workplace. This might cost you $100 this week, but it’s only money. At the end of the week, you will have had some time away from coworkers, friends, or family. You’ll have tried some new things. You’ll be more plugged into the community and have a wealth of knowledge for future meetings with clients or coworkers or dates. Make sure you allow at least 2 hours for each lunch. If you don’t get 2 hours for lunch at your workplace, just tell your employer that you’ll be needing it this week. Too bad for them if they fuss. Don’t ask, just tell. Don’t bring work to any of the lunches. You can only bring books that you are reading that you enjoy. No trade journals. No project specs. These are times for you to absorb, to people watch, to meet new folks, to plug-in while you are tuning-out, and to do it all while you are enjoying something everyone likes: eating.

5. Lastly, agree with everyone this week. That’s right. No matter how wrong they are this week, unless you are going to jeapordize the health and safety of others, just agree with everyone. When your boss says he feels you aren’t taking your job seriously enough, just agree with him. When your spouse says you should be more attentive to her needs, just agree with her. When your coworker tells you that you are probably the last person they’d ever want to work with on the new account, say, “I agree with you completely. I wouldn’t want to work with me either”. Don’t get cute about it. Just be sincere and agree. You’re only doing it for a week, so no major harm can come of it - and maybe some good will come of it. Be agreeable. It isn’t a sign of weakness and you are just doing it temporarily anyway. It can almost be kind of fun to watch the reactions of people who are otherwise accustomed to you being not so agreeable to things. They don’t know what you are up to. If they ask you why you are being so accommodating, just say, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess I’m just having a great week”. And you will.

Popularity: 1% [?]

Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader. If you don't have a feed reader, I recommend using Google Reader to start. It's free and easy. Otherwise, you can always have these articles delivered to your email inbox every day. Click here to sign up.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>