“How Many People on Their Deathbed Wish They’d Spent More Time at the Office?” ~ Stephen R. Covey, First Things First
On September 3rd, we introduced Pillar #9 of “The Year of the Best You” – Manage Your Time. Today, we will recap how the month went in terms of managing our time. Our September worksheet allowed us to first evaluate our ‘rocks’ or what matters most in life, in order to set goals that best utilize our time.
I actually love this exercise and have always found the process of naming my rocks to be very instructive and inspiring. This process serves not only as a scheduling goal-setting exercise, but also as a ‘vision board’ or ‘mission statement’ exercise. For the most part, my rocks are pretty clear to me, but some of the goals around them became clearer, which also allowed me to get rid of some of the guilt around things that are no longer ‘big rocks’.
We often hear that our most precious resource is time, and when you truly reflect on that, it is impossible to deny. We don’t know how long we will live, or how long we will be able to do the things we enjoy and are fulfilling to us. So, how we choose to spend our time is really how we chose to live our one and only life.
Your personal mission statement
In Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he brings together his Habit 2, “Begin with the end in mind”, by inviting us to write and use a personal mission statement. He says, “A mission statement is not something you write overnight. It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression, and often many rewrites to produce it in final form.” He goes on to say, “But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life”. Many organizations and businesses have a mission statement that really serves as an anchor to their goals. A personal mission statement offers the same guidance and can be rewritten as our goals and priorities/‘big rocks’ change over time.
In an article by Chew, Lee and Ismail, “Personal Mission Statement”: An Analysis of Medical Students’ and General Practitioners’ Reflections on Personal Beliefs, Values and Goals in Life, they implemented the process of writing a personal mission statement for the purpose of reflection with 4th year medical students and general practitioners. The resulting mission statements were very interesting and varied, such as, “Learn as much as I can and to use this knowledge to serve the people who need my service and at the same time earning a living.” and “Want to be a happy person, caring to the surrounding people and family. With some financial freedom. And preparation also for after-life.” This is an excellent process for any phase of life but you can really see the value during life transitions.
Colin and I recently rehashed out our mission statement for our Physicians for Physicians platform as we are finally at a point where we can give it the attention it needs. Given it is for a business, we wanted to keep it very succinct compared to what we would construct for a personal statement. Having our guiding principles in front of us is useful, where “At Physicians for Physicians, we understand the complex nature of physician well-being, so it is our mission to provide guidance and support to our colleagues through personalized courses, programs and retreats.” Given how important this statement is to us, it is very motivating to see it through.
I hope you found some of the discussion around managing our time based on our Quadrant II values and what is most important to us to be inspiring. Looking at our daily, weekly, and yearly schedule becomes more manageable when it is guided by our rocks and personal mission statement.
Stay tuned next Sunday as we introduce Pillar #10 of the “Year of the Best You” – Financial Wellness.