By Harold Taylor -
Corporate policies such as “the customer is always right” or “we will not be undersold” help employees make tough decisions, provide consistency and express the organization’s philosophy. They also save time.
It is similarly effective for individuals to develop a set of personal policies or value statements to help guide them through life. Policies help people make quick decisions regarding their personal use of time and prevent them from getting involved in activities inconsistent with their beliefs. These policies will be different for different individuals and may include statements such as:
• I will not compromise my beliefs, values or personal mission.
• I will not attempt to do two things in the same time frame or be all things to all people.
• I will not become an activity packrat; for every new activity I take on, one of equal time value must be subtracted.
• I will have as much respect for my own time as I have for other peoples’ time.
• Decisions or choices affecting my family will be discussed in advance with my family.
To establish personal policies you must first determine the values you want to protect and the image you want to project. Once you are clear on your priorities and how you want to use your time, put your statements in writing and post them where they’ll be a constant reminder. This might be at the front of your planner or in your PDA. Be sure to discuss your policies with family members or others who will be affected by them.
With your personal policies in place, you will be able to say no at the appropriate times, and use your discretionary time wisely. For example, if someone asks you to serve on a volunteer committee, your policy prompts you to say no unless you can free up time for it by releasing a current activity. Or if you were asked to do something that might conflict with your ethics, you would quickly refuse. Policies speed up the decision-making process and prevent you from straying from your life mission.
Policies are guidelines, not rules. They are flexible depending on the situation. For instance, you may not refuse to work overtime if your job actually depended on it. However if you were consistently confronted with overtime at the threat of losing your job, you would either start looking for another job or change your policy. You cannot continue to live in opposition to your personal values. To do so would increase stress, diminish your self-esteem and take much of the fun out of life.
Harold Taylor is a bestselling author and time management expert (www.taylorintime.com).
(Article photo by: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)