One of the most difficult tasks we have is to see ourselves objectively. Our tendencies, preferences, and habits all seem to be second nature to us. Never visible to us, as we always operate them mindlessly.
While not being as self-aware is not an impediment to life, asking more often the question “why did I do this” coupled with “how did I do this” together with “did it go well” can uncover lots of areas in our life where we can make improvements.
Recently, during a short vacation, I realized that I am receiving a lot of email that is essentially junk. Email that clutters my inbox. Emails making me think they are important when in truth they are not. Everyday I would open and delete them. Mindlessly. What a waste of time!
This awareness never occurred to me when I was busy. My habit of opening/deleting these emails was just that – a mindless habit that occurred many times during the day. Giving me now an opportunity to look for a solution to clear this clutter on a more permanent basis.
Thinking how many times I could not find a tool I needed at home (for lack of organization) or papers that I felt were important but mindlessly filed them somewhere in my office without giving thought to how I would find them when needed later. Coming home from shopping with more than I set out to buy.
Hundreds of things we do daily, never paying attention to their lack of value. Or to the degree of difficulty, my actions will create, some day in the future. Stealing time from being more engaged to create, commit, and deliver things that are important in my life.
Where asking the three questions of why, how, and did something go well can begin to help us develop more self awareness. A skill we can leverage to create more time in our lives for things that matter. Then one by one, with time, working through the clutter to minimize it, giving us more time back in our day.