Check the Owner’s Manual

close-up of books

Wouldn’t it be great, if we each were born with an Owner’s Manual? Not only would parents be relieved of the burden of trying to figure out the mysterious being they’ve made a commitment to love, care for and nurture in perpetuity, but each of us would already have the answers for how to love, care for and nurture ourselves. Our Owner’s Manuals could include instructions for our care and feeding, specifications for our energy sources and a host of tips and tricks for enhancing performance.

Last week, was pretty busy for me. Every day was filled with networking meetings, lunches, client appointments, phone calls, prospective client follow-ups, writing, laundry, parenting, meal preparation, tax preparation, commuting, emails, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I don’t think I captured even half of it. Every day was long, busy and filled to the brim. And guess what? I’d been planning to continue attacking the To Do list as soon as my daughter and I returned home from an appointment on Saturday morning. What happened instead? I decided I needed a power nap and ended up napping for 2½ hours!

There was a time I would have felt ashamed that I’d “wasted” so much time. But I have come to realize that if I do not make time for restoring my batteries, I will end up feeling depleted and low even when I am enjoying everything that I am doing. If we know what we need and make an effort to provide ourselves with the care and feeding required, we will flourish. Each of us is unique with our own idiosyncrasies and quirks. Taking the time to acknowledge and honor the ones that help us perform at our best is of utmost importance.

I have helped several clients create systems for organizing themselves in their homes and offices. Over and over again, I have been continually amazed how often these wonderfully smart and accomplished people downplay their own needs and wants in order to try and use systems that did not play to their strengths or acknowledge their uniqueness. One client had a filing system in a drawer that had been created for him by a former assistant. The only person that used the filing system was the assistant. By the time we began our work together, he had a huge backlog of papers that he said, “needs filing.” We discussed what worked about the filing system created by the former assistant and what didn’t. I realized that we needed to create was a filing system he could maintain himself, but that his Manual discourages using a traditional filing cabinet. The solution? Magazine boxes on a set of shelves that made it possible for my client to “see” his categories and files, retrieve specific items and file stuff himself.

I have been working on my Owner’s Manual for a quite some time and it certainly isn’t done yet. I expect it will grow and change over time, but for now, one part is clear: Occasionally needs long naps!

Please share some entries from your Owner’s Manual. Do you have any specific care and feeding requirements? What are your tips and tricks for enhancing your performance? If you need help developing your own Owner’s Manual, let’s set time for a phone call. I’d love to help you enhance your performance this year.

6 thoughts on “Check the Owner’s Manual

  1. Janice M. Simon Reply

    Oh, yes, I am working on my Owner’s Manual too! When I exercise, I sleep better, and when I sleep better, I have a better morning. When I have a better morning, I’m sure the people in the office have a better morning. Ha!

  2. Susan Lasky Reply

    The best filing system is one you will use, so it must work with the way you think!

    For so many people, out of sight IS out of mind. The only items that can live successfully in file drawers are the types of reference items that you access only when needed (reference or archival), and you know they are there (AND you have a searchable index or directory of what is in your files and what the file is called – after all, filing systems are actually retrieval systems!).

    For just about everyone with whom I’ve worked, anything that relates to a work in progress (action file) needs to be in a desktop or near-by, easily accessible and labeled folder or holder. Even that may not help if there aren’t reminders on your calendar to work on an action project.

    BTW, I am a major believer in the power of the nap 🙂

  3. Linda Samuels Reply

    What a great post, Janine! I’m a huge proponent of recharging those batteries, which is part of MY Owner’s Manual. I can go, go, go, but if I don’t stop to appreciate the process, slow down long enough to chew my food, or just sit and NOT do, I become less productive, focused, and aware. Also in my Manual is appreciating the moments. If we rush too much, we miss enjoying the new greens popping through the earth, the warmth of the sun, or the hugs from our loved ones.

    As for naps, I rarely take them, but when I do, they are wonderful…especially when wrapped in a cozy blanket.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      I completely agree with you about needing to stop and appreciate the process! Thanks for sharing some of your Owner’s Manual with us, Linda.

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