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8 Weeks work cycle life hacking: 7 weeks work + 1 week off

Back in 2007 I conducted an experiment in trying to optimise the length of sustained work over a limited period of time... I started by looking at the traditional quarterly work cycle.. 4 cycles per year with evaluation and planning at the end of each cycle.

But i found that cycle to be too long.... people lose focus and momentum when delivery dates are months away... but the other extreme doesn't work either... in my experimentation I found that less than a month doesn't give you enough room to get major projects achieved... so I settled on an 8 week cycle where the 7th week is used for relaxing and recalibrating and the eighth week is used for planning the next 8 week cycle.

Well Ill never forget the feeling of successfully completing my first 8 week cycle! 6 weeks of intense activity felt like a lifetime but was just short enough for me to push hard with the knowledge that if I achieved my goals i would have a reward week at the end... I went on a 10 day RV trip with my girls as a result and spend the most of week eight planning for the next 6 weeks...

Well life got in the way and I didn't get to consolidate the things learned but sitting here today I realise what a powerful thing it is to know you have a break coming up and the chance to relax and plan, but a real impetus to push through and make things happen within the first 6 weeks of the 8 week cycle.

Well its on again. I'm going to give the concept another try. The technique works like this:

  • Print up 10 pages with 7 days across and 8 weeks down the page.
  • Order the pages in themes: personal/ income/ project 1/ project 2 etc
  • Then devise specific milestones and goals for each theme or project with the intent of getting key target milestones complete as part of the basis for the reward of a week off in week 7.
My pages for the next 8 weeks will be: 1. Master; 2. Theo, 3. Income, 4: Haven, 5: Motion Log on, 6: Quickpay,  7: IdeaMachine,... and two or three others.

Why am I doing this?
Because Inventing is so proactive and draining that its easy to feel overwhelmed and put things off until tomorrow.. but when there is a reasonable deadline and a reward to look forward to (ie the week off at the end of the initial 6 weeks) you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and can push on even if its painful to do so... the joy of doing something constructive on your break and being reinvigorated for the next cycle could be a powerful routine if it can be achieved.

It will be interesting to revisit this post in 8 weeks and report how successful the project was.


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