I was overwhelmed with things to do. I was constantly busy. When friends asked to do something together I was even ashamed to say I couldn’t, I was busy.
I found this business absurd. It felt out of my control. It was as if I was not doing things but you know, the other way around. The things had the power over me.
I thought “Okay, time to take a step back. I am going to reevaluate where I am spending my time and where I want to”
And I decided to turn to one of the cult books of self mastery “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey one more time.
It has been quite some time since I read it and this time I read it with a new understanding.
I was struck by the term “Constant student syndrome”: how some people just want to learn and develop themselves and never produce results: products or services. I thought I have that sometimes.
Covey wrote about Product verses Production Capability ratio. How important it was to focus on effectiveness but not only. It was as important to invest in the capability to produce.
If we reflect it to ourselves, it is not only about how many clients we have, how much money we make, how great our relationship is. It is as important to invest in ourselves to be healthy, loving, aware, polite, knowledgeable… and whatever character trait or adjective you need to function in the world in your best capacity.
Coming back to my problem of business and not feeling in control of the things I do..
I followed the steps in the book.
First, I imagined my funeral, how I would like a family member, a colleague and a friend would speak about me. This drove me to my personal mission statement. What I really cared about, what I wanted to leave behind when I left this world.
After writing my personal statement, I listed my roles. All the roles I take in my private life, work life and social life. I wrote down my long term goals for all my roles.
Then it was time to plan my time! Covey suggests to plan the week ahead and he suggests to use an off – work day such as Sunday to do that. I was too eager so I had to start right away.
I first took a new notebook from the shelves. Wrote all the text I had prepared for the steps above. I left many pages free for each role as I believe I will add and change goals throughout the year(s). Then I prepared the calendar of the current week (Thursday to Friday) on my notebook. The calendar has the following items:
- On the left it has Roles and Goals: You write 2 end results you want to have this week for each role.
- On the right you have Days of the week which have the following subcategories: 1. Priorities 2. Appointments/ Commitments
- You also find a place for a box called “Sharpen The Saw” on this page. Under Sharpen the Saw you have the following lines: Physical, mental, spiritual, Social/ Emotional. In Covey’s template it is on the left under Roles and Goals. He did not write much about it but I believe this is the place where you reflect how to invest in your production capability in these areas.
Then I went ahead and wrote down my roles and goals for those roles for the week.
I then recorded my already promised commitments on the calendar.
I then scheduled every goal in the calendar (in my paper notebook under Appointments / Commitments category and also in my Google Calendar).
Next, I wrote all the priorities of the week. These were additional items than the goals of roles. I also scheduled them in the calendars.
And voila! I had my calendar and time controlled by me.
The planning took me I think around 2 hours. That delayed my first commitment coming from the weekly priorities for the day. And that priority took longer than expected too, which pushed two other priorities to other days.
But that was okay because I had decided that learning this system was more important for me.
Already today I felt the difference.
I felt more motivated and energized. And I am looking forward to tomorrow and to Sunday where I will plan my upcoming week.
It was a good day today!
End the day ends with a priority iten: Writing, which was one of the goals coming from roles. I blocked my calendar for writing 1 hour everyday. !
I will share the updates here.
But you will also see it yourself from the frequency of articles how it is going.