Cathy Paper ’89:

When do you really stop and pause and take a look at what’s around you in your life and what’s important to you? Some people do it in church or temple, others do it when they transition jobs- by choice or by force, others reflect deeply when they have a child, and a few take inventory with great, discplined regularity in annual goals and weekly status touchbases.

I am not quite so organized and find that one of the best ways to help my clients grab hold of what’s going on in their life is to take a look at the monthly schedule. Where is your time going? What are your big goals? What do you want to accomplish? Who are you spending your time with? What needs to change and rearrange to get more impact or improvement from your effort?

These are just a few questions you can ask yourself to take stock of where you are spending your energy and the progress you are making towards your goals. While many people call this exercise the basics of time management, I think of it more like walking the perimeter of my garden. When I employ this gardening strategy, I often don’t start by walking around, I just dive in with a section that needs to be weeded or tended to, and then I move on to the next segment. Soon, I’ve done a zoom in on the back beds, the front beds and the alley flowers. Thus, I’ve walked the perimeter. I’ve made a list of what can be improved on. I’ve noticed what is working. I’ve seen what needs to change and I’ve gotten connected to what really matters: things are growing and changing and it’s beautiful just the way it is in that very moment. Go get dirty and take stock of what you want to create.

Sound advice. But when I first read the title of Cathy’s post, I thought of a Marine lieutenant walking the perimeter of his unit’s position. Is that a better or worse analogy?

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