“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.” – Blaise Pascal
Getting clear is getting tougher each day. I love my electronic gadgets however they can create a time vortex that when I come out of it, I see that hours are taken from my days. So, as more and more of these devices and endless cool apps call out to me, I have to get serious about designing my days so I make progress on those things that I have determined are my priorities. Here is what I do that helps me with clarity.
Sit quietly – Yes I know if there are a house full of kids or only two as in mine (that includes the husband) it is difficult to carve out quiet time but it is necessary for you to hear what your body, mind and spirit are saying to you. For some people this is prayer, meditation or like me, with my iPad handy so I can jot down important insights that reveal themselves. This is not a goal to be reached, sitting quietly is an experience to savor, to listen and learn.
Identify – Everyone is unique and has talent and value to offer in this world. How we choose to express those gifts is highly individual however I have learned in my life that if I am not expressing “who” I am then I end up feeling out of sorts, disjointed and ineffective. An easy exercise is to write down those things that make you feel good, things that make you feel you are in the zone. For example, I love helping my daughter with her Halloween costumes. What gives me joy is thinking creatively to produce attractive costuming on a budget, the smile on her face as she says “trick or treat” and the connection I feel to my mom that sewed most of my clothes. This type of exercise helps you hone in on your identity. Any job I do is enhanced when I am expressing creativity, joy and connection.
Decide – No one can do all the things they may want. There is a limit to time and energy so we need to choose wisely and focus on those things that are most likely to give us happiness and success. This has been tough for me to stick to because I want to do so many things; however as I get older, I see how critical deciding is. Write down what you want.
Action – I love the quote by Abraham Lincoln “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Each day I try to make sure that my actions support the decisions I have made. I also try to eliminate activity that takes me away from achieving those decisions. This requires a good deal of self-discipline and can be tough. Wonderful things start to happen when you and those around you see that you are serious about achieving your intentions. Go back to school, write that book, join the gym, travel overseas or learn to paint, it is all ours when we act on it.
Evaluate – This is where I check how’s it going? Is it working? Does it have value? It’s important to have checks and balances and to take the time to question the destination and path you have chosen. The destination may be great, such as going back to school but the path may need tweaked. Perhaps you would do better with classroom structure rather than an on-line course. Review again those qualities you have identified that make you feel good and in the zone then you can make adjustments as necessary.
Reflect – This is different than when I am sitting quietly only because I have my decision as the focus of sitting quietly. I think about how everything is working in concert with the decision. Am I happy? Am I congruent with my actions and speech? Am I making progress? We have all heard it said that it is the journey not the destination that is worthwhile; I take time in reflection to celebrate the mile markers on my road.
The nursing process is a wonderful framework for decision making and critical thinking. The components I originally learned are: Assessment, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation and Revision. I have used the nursing process continually in my personal and business life. Today, the process includes Nursing Diagnosis and Revision would be included in the evaluation.