One aspect Mr. Pink identifies is the seemingly gradual shift from the focus on and emphasis of material things towards the importance of finding meaning in one’s life. He offers a simple exercise that I want to share.
Called “Check Your Time,” this task is meant to examine whether or not our daily routines reflect our genuine hopes and dreams. To begin, make a short list of the people, activities and values that are most important to you. Try to keep it brief, noting no more than 10 items. Then, think back through the past month and approximate how many hours over the past four weeks you spent doing something linked to one of the priorities you listed.
When I did this activity over a month ago, it was hard not to notice that many of my daily goings-on did not reflect what I truly value. As a result, I decided to change some of my behaviors and made a conscious effort to incorporate activities into my life that better matched the items on my “important list.” The shift has not been that difficult, as I’m actually living more in line with what I most value and have been feeling more fulfilled in both my personal and professional life.
I encourage you to give this exercise a try. In addition to identifying areas where your values don’t match your time, it will also serve to highlight when your values are in harmony with the way you choose to spend your days. Ideally, checking your time will provide you with an honest assessment and lead to a more meaningful existence.