At the beginning of the year it is time to make an 'attack plan' for the rest of the year. Of course, the plans for Tribes had been ready for a long time, but on a personal level I always think ahead. In order to know whether you need to follow a different strategy, you need insight into the past year, to make an 'analysis'. I used Life Cycle for this in 2017, and every 365 days I noted how I spent my day: travelling, networking, sports, shopping, going out with the children, to the hairdresser, etc. Not only is it an eye opener to see how much time you spend answering e-mails, making phone calls and attending meetings, but it is also extremely valuable to become aware of what you are really doing in a year. And because Easter is all about a new beginning, I thought this was a great time to share my insights with you!
We usually measure our health by four blocks: nutrition, sleep, activity and nowadays also mindfulness. I call it your 'everyday balance', and with this application I have gained insight into my activities on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. I asked myself three questions and answered them with the help of the results. I hereby present you my conclusions!
Is my everyday balance in balance?
As I expected, I have a nice everyday balance. Every morning I meditate for about 20 minutes, after which I can start the day with a rested mind. I take enough steps one day, and train four times a week (2x muscle power, 2x endurance power). I have a standard breakfast with quark and fruit, but I have learned to take into account the activities of the day. I notice that with muscle strength training I need extra energy, and a brown sandwich is the solution.
It is also good in terms of sleep: for a while I have a fairly fixed rhythm. Every day around 11 o'clock the lights go out, and I fall asleep before 12 o'clock. With about 6 to 7 hours a night I have had enough sleep, and I am ready for a new day. There are 8,865 hours in a year, and last year I slept for more than 2,500 hours, so I am very satisfied. Sleep is important, and in order not to disturb it, you will not see me drinking on a weekday, not even at a network event (except on Fridays, and then usually a beer to prevent the headache of a bad wine). Only on Saturdays I open a good wine with Veronique and enjoy our fixed 'date-night'.
Did I organize my working hours efficiently?
I spent about 6200 hours awake, of which I 'worked' more than 3,000 hours. I spent the necessary hours in the office, but I also networked, travelled and made phone calls. What I found out early in 2017 was that I spent too much time emailing. It swallowed up a few hours a day, because I actually read the mail on my phone directly. That's why you're constantly working on messages that aren't really urgent, and I didn't think that was efficient. So halfway through the year I deleted my mail from my phone. I think many CEOs around the world would find it pretty terrifying, but I can tell you it's great. At fixed times I now reply to my mail, attentively and smoothly from the computer. I focus on one thing, instead of quickly reading and answering an email between the meetings. In my analysis, I could see after a week that I had saved time already, which I could spend on things that I find important.
What can I change to make this year more efficient?
All in all, I am quite satisfied with last year. Especially if you look at the results: a network of 23 Tribes branches in three countries, and there are many beautiful locations in the offing. But this year I really want to spend more time with my family, and I'm going to do that by planning more structural hours. Where will I get those hours from? I've spent at least 600 hours in the car, that's about 12 hours a week... I think there's still something changing about that... Because there's plenty of time, but you have to set your priorities!