Treating Yourself To A Weekly Life Cleanse

2010 stood out as the best year of my life up until I experienced 2011. In those two years, I checked off more than half of the items on my bucket list and had some of the coolest adventures of my life (2010, 2011). I attribute most of this radical change to the introduction of a single process, my weekly life cleanse.

Every Sunday I block out 20 minutes and do the following for myself:

  1. Write a Letter to Myself
  2. Record My Happiness Measurements
  3. Review All of My Ongoing Projects
  4. Preview My Week Ahead

Write a Letter To Myself

This is my own version of a journal. Instead of reflecting on how I am feeling by writing a stream of consciousness, I find it easier to simply finish the end of the following self revealing sentences.

Dear me,

This week am I am feeling all of the following:

I am Happy about

I am Sad about

I am Thankful for

I am Resentful of

I am Optimistic for

I am Pessimistic for

I am Looking forward to

I am Not looking forward to

I am Jealous of

I am Anxious for

I am Laughing about

I am Eager for

I am Annoyed about

I am Afraid of

I am Embarrassed of

I am Ashamed of

I Understand

Record My Happiness Measurements:

After I have had a chance to reflect on how I am feeling, I take this insight and quantify it. From there I make it actionable. If for example, I am unhappy physically, I schedule time at the gym. I wrote about this for the first time several weeks ago. I am still in the process of converting this into a spreadsheet to share. Stay tuned! You can now download the spreadsheet here.

Overall Happiness

Review All of My Ongoing Projects:

I have found that the key to accomplishing a lot is not to implement more efficient systems but rather to improve my prioritization of work. I use OmniFocus to organize all of my projects. Every Sunday I take five minutes to audit each project in my system. I then prioritize which ones are most important by assigning due dates to the tasks that make up my projects. In this way, I force myself to get the most important tasks done first and thus move the most important projects along in a prioritized order.

Preview My Week Ahead:

As the final step of my weekly cleanse, I open my calendar and view what I have planned for the week ahead. I take this opportunity to apply what I realized in the previous steps and use it to dictate how I spend my time in the upcoming week. In this way, I am able to optimize my time for happiness.

Weekly Review

While this has made a fantastic impact on my life, I don’t think it is perfect. Like everything, it is still evolving. For this reason, I would love to hear from all of you.

What processes do you use to review and preview your life?

Photo – That is my friend Jordan during a sudden storm we experienced while golfing in Mexico.

27 comments… add one

  • Todd Hamilton Feb 24, 2012

    you put your life into these neat little packages, then talk about “freedom”, etc…
    I find your writing to be boring and uninspirational. You once talked about wining a fist fight, it was more of two high school D&D re-enactors playing tag. You cant measure happiness , or its progression via bar charts and graphs. Happiness is a state of perspective. If today you percieve happiness than so be it. It shouldnt be pigeon holed into some sort of contrived emotion that can be empiricarlly measured. You missed the point, and have been for quite some time. Your rigid calculations and constant creation of bigger better forms of controlling yourself cannot be outdone by checking off life lists, which is in fact another obsession. Argue if you want, hate me if you want, this is not trolling or flaming its pure observation. So be objective and maybe write up some list that will assist you in applying introspection into your posts.

    • Matt Wigren Feb 24, 2012

      Clearly this guy doesn’t know Danny. Also you’re missing the whole point. Danny has created a lifestyle that he finds enjoyable. Making lists and tracking progress is something that he enjoys and brings him happiness. If you weren’t hating you wouldn’t have used the d&d line that’s bush league, amateur hour b.s.

    • Danny Dover Feb 24, 2012

      Hey Todd,

      Good to hear from you again. I agree with your point that happiness is dependent on perspective. I think the only place we differ is on our perspectives. I’d imagine we are both trying for the same goal, sustained happiness.

      Cheers bud!

      • Todd Feb 27, 2012

        Danny and I have spoken, @Matt and Matt i am not interested in a flame war with you, but if at the end of the day someone disagrees with someones philosophy its absolutely their right to express it, particularly in a forum that encourages a different vantage point. To call my thoughts bush league is a little bit much, but kudos to you for sounding off. I have a lot of respect for Danny, he and I have hand many conversations, and while we differ on happiness (or at least the pursuit of it). I have been at the life list thing now since the 90’s. Theres a lot of merit in what Danny does and he has obviously changed a lot of peoples lives. My observation was simply that life is not an equation, or formulaic, its dynamic and as such is best experiences “off the cuff” so to speak. Ive fought in wars, jumped out of airplanes, flown helicopters, on and on and on. The D&D line comes from a place of love, I used to play myself (and rifts and DC, role playing nerd… for sure I was, But I also played hockey, football, baseball, perspective right?). Again perspective, @matt. Here is some of my early “happiness” work. http://apeman2020.posterous.com/archive/2/2008
        it might lighten your mood and give some more perspective.
        @Emma, arrogance as opinion, an apparent class war that will never be won. Without criticism there is no change, without change we stagnate. With stagnation comes rot, and with rot comes demise. You are right to feel the way you do, just like I told Matt, perspective. AND as I stated Danny has done some interesting things and I am glad he has the sack to share them. But when you share philosophy you open yourself up to opinion, and you cant hate on someone simply for giving theirs, regardless of context. Most people sit around on their thumbs and let it all pass them by, not Danny or me. Dont mistake my intentions for ill will towards Danny, its my nature to be forthcoming with my thoughts and opinions, along the same vein as you, Emma. In my mind there is no greater gift that honesty, even if it comes with a little tinge of perceived negativity.

    • Emma's Bucket List Feb 25, 2012

      @ Todd Hamilton – OMW word that is so arrogant! I think this is an awesome idea! And at least Danny has made steps in his life to be positive and proactive about inspiring himself, staying inspired and BEING HAPPY!!! I for one enjoy Danny’s writing style and think it’s pretty toxic to come on here and criticise someone for finding a way that works for them to stay motivated!

      @Danny – I personally think these ideas are GREAT, and I think we could all learn something from the way you have chosen to be so proactive! I for one hope to build some of this enthusiasm and dedication into my life to keep me on track to achieve my goals like you have. Well done you, and I’m sure you don’t need to be told, but I’d just ignore people who criticise or judge when they don’t have anything nice to say.

  • Kim Cambron Feb 24, 2012

    WOW! Thanks for the photo. It is freakin insane. Reminds me of a time I was wade fishing with a group of people and had caught nothing, when a GIANT DARK SCARY storm rolled in right on top of us….lightning and everything. Everyone else was scrambling into the boat to get the hell out of there, but I was so close to catching something…I just knew it. They had to pull me into the boat. Not my brightest moment. Probably shouldn’t have shared it.

    I am mulling over your life listing concept now. I have taken to writing up “Impossible Dreams” lists every year and sealing them up to open in a year. Then I look back to see what I wanted to do and if I did any of it. Funny thing is…I actually am. Its as if writing them down makes them happen in some magical way. Elves? Fairy Godmother?

    K

    • Danny Dover Feb 24, 2012

      Any pictures from the boat trip of doom? It sounded fun :-)

      I have actually had similar experiences with the writing something down making a difference with reality. I can’t explain it but I do think it makes at least a minimum impact. Either way, it is a step forward. Cheers!

      • Kim Cambron Feb 25, 2012

        Not of that moment…unfortunately. Would LOVE to have those now. I was with a bunch of chickens freaking out. :-)

  • John Cole Feb 24, 2012

    I love the idea of writing a letter to myself each week using pre-assigned prompts. Thanks for sharing!

  • Franco Feb 27, 2012

    Very good post Danny, I take suggestions from your list above about writing a letter..nice!it makes feel us more connected with our inner self..our visions, purpose, values, dreams, our identity..and change the way how we see ourself in the daily routine..self awareness (perception of things)
    Stay great ;)

  • Steve Fry Mar 8, 2012

    Thanks Danny, I just downloaded this and am looking forward to using it. Cheers!

  • online jobs Oct 26, 2013

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure
    of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve
    got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot
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    • Danny Dover Oct 28, 2013

      Good point :-) Check out the newer blog posts. The text to media ratio is better.

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