“Without values, there is confusion and chaos.” Deepak Chopra
Time management tips create meaning out of chaos, but only if you possess sturdy values. How well do you know yourself? How does your daily life and the way you use your time reflect your values?
Think of your personal value system as your core. Its “DNA” is your internal and your external values. They shape how you see the world. They determine how you use your time and energy. So it’s vitally important to take the time to line up your time choices to promote your values!
What Are External Values, and How Do They Shape Your Life?
Your external values direct how you spend time in the areas of your life that are of utmost importance to you, such as your work, your family and/or your health. When you were younger, you absorbed the values of your parents. However, as you develop your own vantage point, you tend to redefine these values and their importance to you. For example, as you age, the significance you place upon your health and spirituality might increase, while the emphasis you place on your work might diminish.
What Distinguishes External Values from Internal Values?
Just as external values provide a frame for what you do, your internal values provide a context for how you do it. These values are process-oriented. They embody a way of being. You might value, for example, integrity, responsibility and/or authenticity as a context or frame for how you live. Again, the direct and indirect teaching of your parents helps shape your internal values, as well.
How to Create an External Values Baseline
Now, let’s focus on your external values for a moment. The following exercise will help you explore what these may be for you.
Values Baseline Exercise:
- First, write down 3-5 of your most important external values.
- Next, prioritize them with #1 being most important.
- Then, list 5 of the most significant activities for each value. You are now creating your cluster.
- What have you learned by concretizing a values baseline for yourself? How do you actively manifest these values in your life?
You can put these insights to work for you immediately. Select one boundary that you have difficulty enforcing, and see which values it can help you promote.
Relax, breathe deep, and brainstorm ways you can incorporate this boundary into your life to make it work better for you. Refer back to your values whenever you need encouragement. You can share these values with those close to you, and let them know how they can support you in making powerful time choices.
Now, to build on this progress, ask yourself: How can you start clarifying your external values today to start finding more time?© Copyright 2009 Paula Eder, Ph.D.