How I beat Lockdown with a 12 Week Year and 15 Minute City

So I was looking at my 90 Day Challenge workbook and getting all excited about the BiG FIVE.

When I started this round last Challenge of 2021, it was to generate attraction for my workshops. 

I’ve already sold one, so now I can rest up for a week. 

The last ’12 Week Year’ of 2021

On Monday 4th, the last ’12 Week Year’ of 2021 kicks in. 

Those who read here often know that I’ve lived my life based on the book the 12 Week Year over the previous five years.

More on that in this post here. 

Having tracking and accountability is essential to my mental health and personal development. 

As a freelancer, following a self-imposed structure kept me sane. 

At 09:30 am every Monday for five years, my friend Karen and I have had an accountability call. 

We both were super grateful we had this in place as the lockdown of 2020 took a grip. 

Everything changed for me in the last eighteen months. 

My main goal for the remaining few months of 2021 is to redefine myself and clarify my website. 

Finding ways to review and reflect

As I wound up ‘Q3’ as we grown-up business people call it (yawn), I got with reflection overwhelm! 

Part of this is seeing people in person for the first time in eighteen months, and we all ask the same questions. 

“How was lockdown?”

“Have you travelled yet?”

And I found myself saying, “this time last year, I was about to blow my brains out, and now I’m firing all cylinders!” 

I use an app called Sunsama that combines your calendars, project tools, email. 

The initial attraction was how Sunsama pulls information into one place. 

Then I got into the daily and weekly review section, plus you can tag how you spend your time. 

I was tracking this but in a half-arsed way. 

Sunsama got me to review this every day and see where I was haemorrhaging my time. 

I auto-post my daily plan and wrap up from Sunsama to our team slack to add more fun. 

Now everyone could see how shit or amazing my day goes; this act alone got me to sharpen up. 

Looking back to move forward

Everything changed for me in the last eighteen months. 

And while it felt like hell on the way through, it is working out better every day. 

It all started as I got back from Nashville and the StoryBrand Guide training. 

I was so fucking pumped and ready to go. I imagine this is how James Bond feels when he gets a new Aston Martin DB5. 

Then COVID and lockdown hit. 

My wife works for the NHS and is a secure ward for young people with severe mental health issues. 

So immediately, all the childcare became my responsibility; we were already even. 

As she is an NHS keyworker, our son still got to go to school; this worked amazing in a few ways. 

  1. I am so crap at homework; homeschooling would have been a shit storm for us all. 
  2. We have one child; being locked in a home with me all day would have been crap for him. 
  3. I had to leave the house with him every day, so we had to get out of bed. 
  4. We got our bikes fixed and rode like thunder. 

So compared to this time last year, life can only be better. 

The big COVID win

Also, about this time last year, suddenly, from within our coworking community, a fintech company emerged, and a group of us started working in that. 

It quickly gained traction, and I was getting used to it and the regular paycheck and then boom – we have a venture fund for tech in the coworking, co-living and fintech industries, and we’re writing mortgages for that sector too. 

I know that sounds like THE win, but this is the REAL win. 

The big COVID win for me was time. 

I had more of it and knew how to use it. 

The time is now.

So because school and breakfast club shut, I did all the childcare, which I LOVE. 

We stopped running to get our son to breakfast club and jumping on the tube. 

Instead, my son and I walked or biked to school every day. 

We left home later, went slower and talked shit all the way there and back; we still do. 

There were hardly any cars on the road, so learning to cycle on the road was easy.

My 15-minute city

I have been a fan of Carlos Moreno’s 15 Minute City for a while, and the basic idea is that everything you need is a 15-minute walk or bike ride. 

Going into town was no longer an option for me; while I was sure I was healthy enough not to get infected with COVID, I was anxious and uncertain about everything. 

The contract was up for my room in the coworking space I was a member of, so I looked locally. 

It was hard to find somewhere decent it’s hidden in plain sight in the end. I found Workhive and moved in with another mate who lives locally. 

With this move my routine became 

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