December 26, 2020 Rosemary

What’s the best gift New Year’s gift you can give yourself for 2021?

In a time when everything feels so unpredictable, there’s a little trick I recommend that might be useful for 2021. It’s simple, it’s free, and it only takes 30 minutes a week. It’s called a Management Meeting with Self. Do it weekly, and you’ll become your own best manager.

I committed to this ritual a long time ago and have recommended it to every person I’ve coached or mentored since. I’ve seen it turn people’s lives around.

Just like that.

When I first wrote about becoming your own best manager my understanding of this simple ritual was that it could help you to stay on track of your goals. But since then I’ve realised it’s more powerful than that. There is something in the intent, something in the gift to yourself, that is (in itself) powerful. It hardly matters what you do in the time you set aside, it is the very act of prioritising yourself for that time and being intentional that seems to hold the magic.

As my knowledge of the world of Agile grows, I realise how well this one act fits with the practices of Agile, and with the mindest of thinking back, learning, and planning forward in short iterations. While the vision is long term, the weekly practice makes it possible for flexibility and to iterate quickly in your own life.

So what is this Management Meeting with Self?

Simply this: a time for you to be with you to consider what you are doing well and what needs to shift to create the kind of world you want to live in and be part of. It’s a delightful time, so make sure you do it somewhere gorgeous – perhaps alone on a beach, on a rock or on a park bench.

Before you start, decide whether the regular time is 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour and stick to it.

Your Management Meeting with Self are likely to be successful if you do these ten things. 

1. Diarise

Block out the same time each week in your diary. Where you choose to do it might change. But make it somewhere you’d like to be.  

2. No excuses

Don’t let anything get in the way of this time with you. Nothing.

3. Agenda

Take the time to set an agenda and stick to it.

4. Look back and look forward

Do a retrospective, then do a plan. But don’t do the tasks in that time. Just diarise them.

5. Start with pen and paper

Don’t be distracted by devices. Switch them off for at least the first half. Allow yourself to write and to think and to doodle. 

6. Be kind but firm – no judgement, just noticing.

Imagine you are your own best manager, and that you are expecting your highest game, but with understanding. 

7. Create continuity

Look back on what you thought and what you wrote from the previous week. Work from there.

8. Be agile

The best agile practices help you to be flexible and make real time decisions, shifting direction if needed. The Management Meeting with Self is similar to a Sprint team meeting in Agile methodology. 

9. Back yourself with an accountability buddy

Get someone to hold you to account that you’ve had the meeting. Steer clear of details – just a quick check in after your Management Meeting with Self to check if you’ve had your meeting and if you’re doing ok.

There’s something reassuring about these weekly meetings. A recent client told me they are the highlight of her week (yes, I know!). Perhaps the real win, though, is the element of self-care. No Management Meeting with Self is complete unless it has taken into account all your life goals – for health, wealth, connection, collaboration, education, service and whatever else you prioritise.

By the end of each meeting, you should leave feeling that the time was well spent and that you’ve put yourself back together through the most important ritual of the week – your time with yourself. 

[First published on Smallville.com.au. Updated and adapted for the crazy world we are living in now.]