November 2nd, 2009 Jamie
Do you ever feel like just when you’ve finally got your act together, life throws you a curve ball? Whether it’s a hostile roommate, a sick parent, or just the demands of maintaining a healthy job/academic schedule/relationship, the shifts and changes of life can really throw a wrench in carefully laid plans.
Last week I shared some of my simple life-balancing secrets to success, and this week I want to share another one. Bear with me, because it sounds totally cheesy, but now that I’ve done it, I love it.
Man (or Woman) on a Mission
Let’s say you’re the CEO of Nabisco. You know you’d like to make some money, but you haven’t really planned out how you want to get that done–you just know there might be Oreos involved. You figure, you’ll just wing it. How’s that going to go for you?
Probably not so well.
One of the ways big companies stay big (and successful) companies is by defining what they want–exactly what they want–and then breaking it down into small pieces so they can get there.
(And I don’t actually know anything about Nabisco, so sorry, econ majors, if that was a poor example.)
You: a Definition
So now that I’ve hopefully talked you into doing this thing, it’s time to sit down and figure out what your mission statement is - in words. Start by visualizing where you want to be–in one year, five years, ten years. What do you want people to think about you? What do you want them to feel when they’re with you? How do you want to affect your family, your friends, your community, the world?
Basically, what do you want to DO with your life–NOT necessarily your CAREER–but your life.
Write it Down
Go ahead and roll your eyes (I probably would, too, if I hadn’t already done this) but when you’re done, write down your mission statement. It might take some finessing to get it right, but write down your mission statement. Google “mission statement” plus the names of some companies (or even your school) to get an idea of what yours might look like.
So, once you’ve got your ultimate lifetime mission statement, what are you supposed to do with it?
Simply put, you apply it. Start looking at your day-to-day activities and tasks from the perspective of how it helps you reach your life mission–and think about that when you are tempted to waste time messing around on the internet or even staring at the ceiling (it has been known to happen!).
So if you felt your life mission was to effect political change, you might spend time researching, networking, volunteering with a political party, etc. If you want to make people happier, you might focus on smaller things like making a phone call to your lonely grandparent or holding open the door for someone at the caf. If you want to write a book, you might shift your classes to focus more on writing techniques, or spend time you used to spend blogging working on a manuscript.
Keep it in Check
That said, now that you’re looking at life with your mission statement in mind, remember that the mission isn’t everything. Your mission statement is not a ruling force of life, but instead a reminder of where your free time could be spent. Don’t give up your job, relationships, or, uh, stop washing your laundry… Just think about your mission statement when you’re building your week schedule, or find yourself with a few extra minutes.
Entry Filed under: productivity