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Mindful : August 2016
TIP PHOTOGRAPHBYISTOCK.COM/EHSTOCK A Monday-morning quarterback is someone whose critique depends on hindsight. How often, after a string of meeting-filled days, do we Mon- day-morning-quarterback ourselves, wondering how time slipped away while we attended to the loudest screamers and never managed to get around to what’s really important? In each play, a good quarterback needs to see the big picture and know the best way to allocate resources, using foresight more than hindsight. For us to be good quarterbacks in our lives, we need to become “every-morning quarterbacks”—we have to take a closer look at what’s happening day by day, and keep the big picture in mind. An every-morning quarterback makes conscious choices about the way each day is met. WHAT TO DO 1 Begin with a Purposeful Pause before you head off to that first appointment or meeting. Take a few moments to look—really look—at your calendar for the day. Is there room in your day to attend to what is important? Have you allotted time for taking care of yourself physically and emotionally? Are you attending some meetings simply out of habit? Are there other meetings that serve no real purpose? 2 When we spend most of our time putting out fires, we can’t attend to what is impor tant—strategically or personally. It’s depleting and ultimately not sustainable. Besides, many fires burn themselves out harmlessly without any intervention at all. So, if you haven’t been making time in your schedule for what’s important to you and to your work, or if you have been mindlessly attending meetings with little or no purpose, experiment with making one small change to your calendar each day. This may take some courageous leadership because in the short term, it is easiest to just go along with the craziness. But if there is no catalyst, nothing trans- forms. And remember, it need not be a big change, just a small step. 3 Be disciplined about this practice until it becomes a habit. And never underestimate the ripple effect of those small changes. Don’t just slavishly follow what your calen- dar tells you to do. Care- fully look at the whole week or month. Does the shape of it make sense? Adjust accordingly. 3 resist becoming a monday-morning quarterback work–life