I’ve tried a number of time management tools and tricks over the years. What was your favorite? For me, I loved my Franklin Planner in the 90s. I was sad the day electronic tools made it mostly obsolete.
Pursuing our best self is a considerable investment of time and energy. On top of all the commitments we have each day to our jobs, families, communities and so on, it’s hard to get significant blocks of time to do the hard, internal work.
Principle 8 suggests that to sustain best self, we should prioritize ‘being more’ over ‘doing more’. So, how do we do that? It is a lot harder than simply making that choice and sticking to it. To find the answer, we need to go a little deeper. We need to find where our true motivation lives within each of us. Simon Sinek, in one of TED’s most prolific presentations, reveals the power of finding your own why and how it can inspire you so that you can inspire others. Sound familiar?
Finding your why can have a profound impact from a time management perspective also. Dr. Michael Gervais calls the “why” your personal philosophy. It’s the statement that guides you through your day. Dr. Gervais says that a personal philosophy has three characteristics for it to be effective.
- First, it must be short: 25 words or less. How many times have you written a personal mission statement, only to forget it because it just had too many words?
- Second, a good personal philosophy must be able to be spoken under duress. This implies it is something that has been internalized, memorized and is absolutely authentic.
- Finally, when you speak about your personal philosophy with other people, something noticeable happens in your body. Michaele and I like to use the term activation to describe the phenomenon. For me, I will often feel it (as I am right now, honestly) across my shoulder blades or sometimes my eyes start to tear up.
So, how does this relate to time management? My experience is that when I established the personal philosophy in the way described above, making decisions about how I choose to spend my time got a lot simpler. I went through my days asking which things helped me “be a light” and which did not. It was remarkable how much power I had over my schedule. It increased the frequency I could say no to things that did not matter. This intentional step made room for more capacity to engage into things that matter — things that contribute to the development of my best self. I can be my best self when I schedule my priorities rather than prioritize my schedule. I’m not perfect, but I am getting a little better each day, week and month. That is the essence of Agile Best Self.
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