What a difference a week makes.  Last week at this time I was looking through my system” and thinking that I was making good progress on some ongoing life improvements.  On Monday, it was like a switch flipped, and I fell back into a several bad habits through the rest of the week:  trying to control the uncontrollable; blaming others; fighting the wrong fights.

So in the end I spent way too much time at the office doing low/no value stuff, thinking that I was being productive.  On top of that, by picking the wrong battles I managed to damage several important relationships that I need to ultimately be successful. I would end each day mentally beating myself up for the days transgressions, spend the evening tuning out in front of the TV and skipping workouts.  That pattern continued until Thursday night where I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, feverish and unable to sleep.  Friday I tried to rest up, but could not seem to pull myself out of the fires that I had caused.  I was running a low-grade fever, had the runs and was as down on myself as I had been in a long, long time, but I could pull myself out of the hole until my body just shut down and I fell asleep, laptop on my knees from about 3:00pm until 5:30pm. 

Talk about “cause and effect”

So instead of diving into my weekly review as I normally do on Saturday AM, I picked up all the personal productivity reading I’d been putting off and plowed through them all in a couple of hours.  And I was able to gain some perspective.  One of the best bits of wisdom I gleaned was in a new on-line magazine:  Productive!

Magazine. The questions are from the article, the answers are mine and in the spirit of GTD, I’m also going to add some “next actions” for each

Seven Questions that will Change Your Life – Alex Shalman
(original online version here)

Q1:  What will I try to improve on next week?
A1:  I will focus more on the important, and less on the urgent.  It’s probably a trite statement, but if there is one area of my life in which I need to improve the most, it is this. 
Next Action:  Turn off Outlook until after lunch at least twice next week.

Q2:  What was I most proud of this week?
A2:  The shared service application that I’ve been pushing into other company groups is starting to gain traction.  Two other groups began to use it in production this week, and I’ve got some exposure into a big corporate initiative that should allow it to grow further.  I think it’s a big win for the company, reducing complexity, reducing regulatory risk, and avoiding duplicate services and avoiding duplicate costs.
Next Action:  Begin outline of presentation scheduled in March.

Q3:  What was my biggest accomplishment this week?
A3:  Clearing my head this morning.  It’s setting me up for an awesome week
Next Action:  Schedule life-hack reading session as part of my weekly review.
Q4:  What have I done to get closer to my life goals this week?
A4:   The two workouts that I did accomplish were great!
Next Action:  E-mail my coach about the workout problems this week.

Q5:  What was hard for me this week, and why?
A5:  As usual, focus was hard for me.  I could NOT stay out of my e-mail inbox
Next Action:  See answer #1 above

Q6:  What was my biggest waste of time this week?
A6:  Making mountains out of molehills.  Pushing way to hard on an issue with zero payback for me, or for the people directly involved.
Next Action:  When the next “dumb/silly/incoherent” issue that appears, STOP, BREATHE, THINK, RESPOND
Q7:  What did I do this week that made me ashamed?

A7:  Snapping off a snotty response to a meeting request.  Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.  
Next Action:  See answer #6

As to my VERY NEXT action?  I’m unplugging, getting on my bike and going out for a short, easy ride.

Here’s to a better week.