A very special week (March 27th – April 2nd, 2017) is upon us and the majority of people will plow through it unaware. It’s the first “lucky” week of 2017. Don’t treat it like just another 1 of 52. Put this week to work for you and make it – along with the 3 others in 2017 that follow it – one of your best weeks of the year. I’m referring to the 13th week of the year.
The number 13 conjures up a lot of unnecessary paranoia and superstition. Many buildings – especially casino hotels – go straight from floor 12 to 14. Friday the 13th can’t go by without commentary from both news anchors and office busy-bodies. The number 13 is so rare on a sports uniform that when someone does wear it, they stand out. What’s the big deal with the number 13 anyway and why is it considered to be so unlucky?
The negative connotation associated with the number 13 is a relatively recent occurrence. Recent from a “history on mankind perspective.” The bad vibes started to stick around the middle ages and while there are a number of theories as to the cause, none of them are considered definitive. The two most popular theories feature Judas as Jesus’s 13th disciple, and 13 full moons in a year being considered a real pain in the tukhus by ancient monks as it threw a wrench in their calendars.
Here are some other theories on the origin of the number 13’s dishonor, courtesy of Mental Floss:
- Traditionally, there were 13 steps leading to the gallows.
- The mass arrest and execution of the Knights Templar began on the 13th.
- A witches’ coven has 13 members.
- Twelve is consider to be a perfect number in numerology. Thereby rendering thirteen unlucky.
- Zoroastrian tradition predicts chaos in the 13th millennium.
With all of that anecdotal evidence, why am I so insistent that the 13th week can be one of the best weeks of the year?
12 months x 4 weeks a month = 52 weeks?
It doesn’t take an MIT-schooled mathematician to realize that the above equation is wrong. However, 52 does divide by 4 quite nicely. The result is 13. Meaning that each quarter is exactly 13 weeks long. I like to tie my long term goals to annual ones, and my annual goals to quarterly milestones. I plan my work and targets for the quarter based on 12 weeks. Leaving the 13th week free for me. And I tend to be a little greedy with it.
The 13th week is something I always look forward to. It’s like hitting a reset button and it sits outside of the flow of a normal week. I use it for three specific purposes:
- Review and reflect on the just completed quarter. Analyze what went well and what went poorly.
- Preview and plan for the next quarter.
- Special projects that have nothing to do with the rest of my work. Stuff I want to do just because I want to.
I also daydream and think on a whiteboard more during Week 13 than normal. Speaking of normal…
Most people don’t look at weeks, quarters, and years like this. To be honest, I never did either until I started working at hastings Entertainment back in the 90s. It was there that I learned about tracking the week of the year. Hastings referred to it as a Julian Date Code and it was a way to quickly look at the tag on a product and see when it was received by the store while it just looked like a random three-digit number to a customer. Ever since then it’s always been second-nature for me to know what week of the year it is; the same way a sailor, after only a few years at sea, always knows the direction he’s travelling.
Lately I’ve been fortunate to stumble on to a few great resources that do take the same approach and viewpoint of quarters and weeks. One is specifically all about it – The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. Another is the Best Self Journal which is designed completely around the concept of breaking your goals and plans into a 13-week period.
Whether or not you use those specific tools I encourage you to consider the viewpoint and strategy. Create 12-week work cycles and join me in making Week 13 (and 26, 39, and 52) into your luckiest weeks of the year. Zoroastrian traditionalists be damned!