December 31st, 2018
A while ago I came across [this post](https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/life-weeks.html) by Tim Urban on [waitbutwhy.com](waitbutwhy.com). I encourage you to go and read it. Actually... Go make yourself a cup of coffee (or tea) and give it a read. I’ll wait... ... Tim is one of my all time favourite writers. I have a lot of respect for his work and draw a lot of inspiration from him. This idea of thinking about your life in blocks of time intrigued me a lot. Naturally, I thought it would be interesting to keep my own ‘Life in Weeks’ calendar so I saved the template on my desktop. I used [www.timeanddate.com](https://www.timeanddate.com/) to calculate [how many weeks have passed since I was born](https://www.timeanddate.com/date/durationresult.html?d1=30&m1=09&y1=1988&d2=&m2=&y2=). The next step was to fill in the weeks. This process was quite daunting and sparked a bit of an existential crisis. So be warned; this is not for the faint of heart! Several mild panic attacks later I was left with this:
### Reflecting on mortality The latin phrase [memento mori](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori) immediately came to mind when I was filling out the blocks one by one. We're not confronted with the reality of our mortality often in our day to day lives. This intentional process of facing my own mortality turned out to be a pretty surreal experience for me and immediately put me in a state of self reflection. It also turns out that having a 'trigger' to get you into a state of reflection is a very useful tool. I decided that I would colour a block every week as part of my weekly reflection. I added a “Tick off week on life calendar” task to my weekly reflection checklist. I kept this up for a few weeks and it worked really well in the sense that it would scare the bejeebies out of me every time and force me to honestly reflect on the week. It prompted me to ask myself the following questions each week as part of my weekly review: * Did I make progress towards my goals? * Did I spend my time effectively? * What didn’t go so well this week and how can I improve next week? * What went well this week and can I do more of the same next week? The next step was to integrate this into my goal planning which I break up into 13 week cycles (more on this in a future post). So I colour coded each quarter so I can easily see how many weeks I have left in each quarter goal cycle.
It is probably worth mentioning at this point that I don’t stick to the conventional calendar year for goal setting. Each year resets for me in September on my birthday. There is a lot to be gained from having a different year cycle from everyone else. For me personally it helps to not get caught in all of the “new year’s resolution” hype and it feels like I’m getting a head start on the new year, which is very motivating for me. Using your birthday as the starting point is also not the only option, you could also align it with the seasons or with the tax season if you’re self-employed; this was the other option I strongly considered. I'll write about this in more detail in a future post. Of course this is where most people would stop. It’s a nice system. It works. ### "There's an app for that" Apparently I like simplifying my life by complicating it some more. The little ‘Systems Thinking Voice™’ in my head was saying: > “You know... You can write a little tool to automatically track this. Then you can remove one item from your checklist.” — *Systems Thinking Voice™* Wow thanks! Let’s spend hours on building something to save me 30 seconds every week! That’s a whopping 26min I’ll save every year! Or 13h over the next 30 years... Woah! Turns out the ROI actually looks pretty good over the long run, as long as I don’t spend more than 13h on it... Here is the 'Existential Crisis Simulator' I built in 4 hours, saving me 9 hours over the next 30 years:
*This little tool is a small piece of the puzzle for both Project Genesis and Project Munin.* > “Well done, you managed to automate something that most people don’t care about. Brilliant...” — *Most People* However, if you’ve read this far chances are you’re not “most people”. Most people don’t care about saving 30 seconds a week. Most people don’t value time like you and I. Most people don’t stop to think what difference 9 hours can make in a family member’s life. Your children’s lives. A friend’s life. Your own life... In 9 hours I can: * Watch 6.75 sportsball games with my dad * Attend 4.5 school plays * Have 6 drinks with a friend * Read 1.5 books How are you spending your weeks? What are the things that you repeat on a daily/weekly basis that could be automated? ### Thank you for your time Thank you for your time, I truly appreciate it. I hope that I managed to add some value to your life.