We all want to be in a state of peak performance and give our best at every point. However, with the hundreds of tweets, Facebook updates and the growing to-do list we constantly have to contend with everyday, we find ourselves not being able to fully engage and get things done.(I wrote about this in The Power of Focus).
A simple technique used by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, called “examen” which is still taught to Jesuits today including Pope Francis might be helpful in dealing with this situation.The term, meaning ‘examination’ takes it’s origin from the Latin word exigere: to weigh accurately, to treat. Could be useful in how you examine your day and take stock.
Chris Lowney, formerly a Jesuit seminarian and later a Managing Director of JP Morgan proposes the following 3 ways to ‘examen’ in his article for HBR:
First, remind yourself why you are grateful as a human being. Second, lift your horizon for a moment. Call to mind some crucial personal objective, or your deepest sense of purpose, or the values you stand for. Third, mentally review the last few hours and extract some insight that might help in the next few hours. If you were agitated, what was going on inside you? If you were distracted and unproductive, why?
I like the simplicity of this practice and how it has helped increase my productivity that I now do mine 3 times a day. First in the morning before starting work, in the middle of the day and at the end of the day.Perhaps you might find it helpful as well.