The Seven Minute Life

Like many of you, I have learned that a few well-invested minutes at the beginning of a day or meeting or project in setting priorities and establishing a pathway toward whatever is defined as “success” can go a long way toward both being and feeling productive.

Allyson Lewis had a personal revolution when she began applying some basic strategic planning and other “business” principles to the way she lives and works. Over time those took shape in a book she wrote titled The Seven Minute Difference. Published in 2006, I was very recently introduced to it when I received a free copy of the book along with a daily planner tool (which will be available to the public on October 21) to explore and, if I wanted to, share on my blog. I decided to share, as you are experiencing now.

My early opinion of this system which prescribes investing short bursts of time (7 minutes) in doing focused activity which will ultimately make a person more efficient, more productive, more focused is a good thing. Had I found this book much earlier in my adulthood, I might have found it more revolutionary. Most of us — maybe all of us — need help in establishing patterns in our own living that help us to prioritize all the things we need to do, organize those priorities and then simply our lives by removing the clutter, the redundancy and the unhelpful. That’s what this system (which includes online video and blog updates and other resources — we are in the 21st Century, after all) provides.

I remember a mentor of mine sitting me down when I was obviously overwhelmed by having more obligations on less of a predictable schedule than I knew how to manage and teaching me how to use a Day Timer — including sitting down with it before bed and reviewing the next day. It took minutes and made a huge difference in my sense of being more in control than out of control.

The Seven Minute Difference and subsequent Seven Minute Life daily planner include those kinds of very helpful ideas. The planner gives a format for planning and implementing some of the different seven minute strategies that are introduced in the book.

If you lack any kind of system, this appears to be reasonable, sound and helpful in its presentation and design as well as its thoughtful content. It can serve as a framework for things you’re already doing or can provide instruction for things you could do to increase your own productivity.

If your tolerance for American-flavored “you can do it” success talk is low, you’ll hate this book. If you don’t like being told what to do and you’re feeling pretty good about what you’re accomplishing with the limited time you have, you’ll find this system to be redundant. If, however, you are feeling discombobulated — like you are accomplishing far too little for all the effort you’re investing, this might be a very helpful framework for changing the way you think about what you do.

Even if you’re pretty sure this system isn’t for you, I’ll recommend you check out the free resources to see if you might be able to find something to benefit you there.

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