How to Live With Purpose w/ Brendan Gallagher
Make Life Easier
- Brendan serves as the Coordinator for Civic Engagement at the University of Michigan-Dearborn
- He studied elementary education / student affairs in college
- He’s got a master’s degree in student affairs / higher education
- He’s one of the most thoughtful, deliberate folks I know.
- Brendan uses the techniques we’ll cover in this episode to help students at UM-Dearborn to become more deliberate and purposeful
What does it mean to live with purpose?
- Living with purpose behaving in ways, and making decisions that are rooted in your values
- Always asking, What am I doing? and Why am I doing it?
- Have a plan for what that looks like each day
- Being deliberate about
Why is living with purpose important?
- It’s a roadmap for how to live your life. It helps you to stay connected to what’s important to you.
- We’re conditioned to move all the time, but often without any direction or purpose
- Define what’s important to you. Be as clear as possible. Live by those objectives.
How do you do it?
1. Define your values | An exercise
This exercise is a quick, simple way of helping you to define your core 5 values.
You’ll need about 20 uninterrupted minutes for the exercise.
- Grab the Big Values List from Management 3.0
- Set a timer for 5 minutes. Go through the list of values and eliminate half of them.
- Don’t linger on any one value. Try to stick to the time limit.
- If there’s a value that’s important to you but it’s not listed, add it
- If there’s a synonym you prefer, change it
- Set another 5 minute timer. Again, cut the list in half.
- 5 more minutes again. This time, narrow the list down to the top 10.
- Last 5 minutes. From what’s left, identify your core 5.
2. Regular reflection
- To reflect in a meaningful way, it needs to be connected to your values
- It’s a bridge between experience and values. It’s where you find your purpose.
- Build in moments throughout the day / week so you don’t have to rely on remembering to reflect.
- Your reflections could be journaling, recording, deliberate thought, etc.
- This isn’t like the contrived, 6th grade social studies reflection questions you had to answer. This is deliberate, purposeful connection with your values and goals.
- You can ask these reflection questions: What, so what, now what?
- What just happened?
- Why was it important?
- What’s the next step?
- Especially during positive / happy moments, deliberate reflection helps to build your mental resilience.
- Can change neruochemistry when you deliberately pay attention to positive things
- You chemically tag positive experiences in your brain
- Head back to episode 17 for more on this!
3. Take time to decompress
- Stems from effective reflection
- Helps with mindfulness: Being conscious of how you’re feeling
- Both Brendan and I spend 15-30 minutes reading a book that’s not work-related right before bed
- Some folks think that stopping work and taking time to decompress is unproductive or lazy. However, it’s the opposite.
- When your mind has space to wander, good ideas tend to crop up. Try to always have a place to capture those ideas (notebook, digital assistant, etc.).
- Back in episode 31, we talked about the idea that your brain is meant for creating ideas, not storing them
- Whenever possible, jot your ideas down somewhere
Organize Your Day, Work with Purpose
Make Work Easier
How to organize your day
- Time blocking your day is very helpful!
- We covered this technique in episode 32! Head back there for more.
- Also, consider establishing a morning routine. More on that way back in episode 6.
Brendan uses Google Calendar
- Design is important. Choose a colors which reflect your personality.
- Anything meetings scheduled have at least 30 minutes of buffer time afterward
- Prepare for the next day the night before. In episode 28, we talked about this from Dan Charnas’ book Work Clean.
I use Outlook as my tool of choice
- Expand the view of your calendar to 15 minutes to get more flexibility
- I do also use Google Calendar!
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