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#955: Regular Check-Ins

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, January 01, 2009
I have recently discovered the idea of taking time outs at various stages of my day, week and month to do a "process check" and reconnoiter. The nature of each check is a function of its timing, with daily checks being relatively short and monthly checks lasting an hour or two. I highly recommend it.

What is old is new again. The origin of the concept of taking a time out during cycles to stop, reflect and prepare for the next cycle is lost to history. Many of these reflections were born of spirituality, then formalized in various religions. The annual observance of annual agriculture cycles are meant to close out one season and prepare for the next. Daily rituals on a personal basis and weekly rituals on a community basis are part of many people's lives. These serve to regulate and remind us of the balance that comes with observance of repetitive observations and activities.

So what does this have to do with consulting? More than many, consultants can be busy marketing, selling, delivering services, conducting your research, professional development, spending time in professional and community activities, family time, and sleep. It is very easy to come to a logical daily, weekly, monthly or yearly demarcation and to just "let it slide," thinking we will catch up later. Only we never seem to do it. More than most, we probably need to pause once daily to take stock of where we are and where we need to go in the next day. Every week, we could do a"weekly level" check in - different than the daily or monthly check in. Annually, same idea. Find a way to stop for a few minutes and make sure you are doing the right things, for the right reasons, with the right goals in mind.

Tip: For an interesting perspective on how we came to even create annual holidays and how even our most formalized religious observances are just replacements for pagan or prior religious observances (conquerors always get to coopt the religions of the conquered), see The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

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