My Most Important Meeting of the Day
Why My Daily Meeting with Me Matters.
“Show me your schedule and I’ll show you what your priorities are.”
Robin Sharma – the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – makes it pretty clear. When we use calendars to actively schedule our work, family and self care activities we are making a statement: how we allocate our energy reflects our priorities and values.
Take a look at your calendar. What’s the first thing you see? For many of us it is commitments we have made to others- business meetings, client follow up, places we need to be with our kids and aging parents. Often the only personal commitments reflected on our calendars are for health and medical issues and taking care of the mundane- car, house and finance.
What does it mean when we don’t see ourselves reflected in our calendars? While it may mean that we don’t value self care, for many of us it simply means that we did not learn the value of taking time to plan for ALL of our needs . Giving ourselves permission to spend time scheduling our self care needs as well as the needs of others is a learned skill.
Getting Clear- What Do I Want to Create?
Scheduling time for ourselves into our calendars means we have to be clear on what matters and what we want to create. In the absence of this big picture design, we are not able to make a map of the small daily actions that will get us there.
When I coach my body habits course “Thriving As You” we spend time painting a picture of the future version of ourselves that we desire. Planning and goal setting approaches like the 12 Week Year and The Desire Map Planner give us a “big picture” sense of what we desire both in the immediate and the near future. Taking time to imagine your future self can unlock your next actions as you begin to map out the daily habits that are needed to create the new version of yourself.
Me? I spend time visioning with each season change. I use imagination to create a full and vibrant picture of my next version of myself. I get excited about what I am going to do and what I am about to create. I map put my goals more specifically in a 12 week cycle. But I have learned one thing: in the absence of a morning check-in with myself I call My Meeting with Me the bigger picture gets lost and so do the daily habits that will get me there.
Meeting with Me- My Morning Planning Practice
Step One: Meeting Preparation
Each morning I meditate, practice yoga, drink warm water and use sesame oil to give myself a massage before I shower. These are the self care habits I teach in my “Thriving as You” program and which form the base of the 10 week “Body Thrive” course offered at Yogahealer. Practicing them each day creates a space of clarity that I can trust and a sense of self-worth that is a growing edge for me. From this space I am ready to plan my day.
Step Two: Commit Time to Meeting with Me
Through trial and error, I have crafted my best approach to my morning journaling and planning practice. Here is what I have learned.
- I work best with a combination of tools.
- My favorite essentials oils help set the tone for focus, reflection or inspiration depending on what I am needing that day.
- My online calendar gives me a sense of time- I can sketch out my plan for the day or take a broader view for the week, month or quarter. Color coded time blocks for personal time, teaching, meetings and critical work give me a sense of the rhythm of the day. This calendar initially holds date- and time-specific events and time blocks for critical projects, and then in my weekly and daily planning sessions I fill with greater detail.
- My Best Self Journal gives me a connection to what really matters to me. The morning gratitude practice, a review of the previous day’s wins and lessons learned, and my clearly stated goal and daily targets- these ground me into the heart of the matter. Sitting with the journal each morning, pen in hand, satisfies that part of me that is human and learning.
- My white board summarizes it all and puts my plan for the day in view as I work.
- When I treat my journaling and planning sessions like meetings I amplify the benefit.
- By sitting at my desk I take my needs more seriously. I am able to use my work-like approach to schedule in the essentials like time to eat, commuting time, and time for errands. I become a “business” that is worth managing rather than an afterthought.
- I do it daily.
- Plans change. Appointments get cancelled. Clients catch a cold. A snowstorm affects travel plans. By sitting down daily at my desk, opening my electronic calendar, and reconciling changes in plans, I am able to book in real time the self care activities (eating, exercise and errands) that I need to do. They do not get lost in the reality of my life.
Step Three: Reap the Benefits
There are three clear benefits to my morning meeting which are reflected in the quality of my day and in my ability to show up for others:
- I Eat Better
One of my growing edges right now is my relationship with food. Sitting down each day to schedule in food shopping, meal preparation and time to eat means I eat at consistent times, consume less sugar, and I sit down to eat and am more present during meal time.
- I Stay Focused
Social media is my primary way of communicating with clients, yoga + health coaching colleagues and people who inspire me. But the perils of social media are well documented, and when I am tired or unfocused my tendency to drift to my facebook feed eats away precious time. Taking time to plan each morning means I stay off social media- except for essential visits to groups and sites that enhance my life and help me get my work done.
- I Actively Create My Life
When I actively plan and reflect on each and every day I am able to become more of the person I want to be- someone who writes, moves with freedom, leads with a loving heart, connects deeply in relationship, and supports others in their growth through heartfelt and life changing programs. I continue to learn and grown. I get things done. I feel deeply satisfied. And I stay in a space of grounding and clarity.
Practice Comes in Many Forms
I recently did an experiment- what happens when I drop my morning planning sessions? How does my ability to execute my self care and my sense of focus and clarity change when I do not use my planning journal consistently each morning at my desk?
My two week experiment was an interesting backslide into past habits. A sense of overwhelm resurfaced. I was unfocused and my evolving self care habits began to slide. The benefits of my morning meeting slid away. The value of my newest self care practice was reinforced.
My best self journal. My google cal. My desk. My white board. My essential oils. These tools make up my newest essential self care practice- meeting daily with me. I know where I am, I know what I need to do. And I step fully into caring for me AND for the things I have commited to.
Are you game to give it a try?