Creating a Personal Dashboard

One of my themes for this year is new routines. This seemingly simple concept has made all the difference in helping me grow and change. It’s the clear path forward. In Switch, the Heath brothers describe this as one of the three fundamental elements necessary for change.

I have wanted to write about this topic for a while; however, I didn’t feel I was ready to talk about it until now.

A lot of my inspiration for the concept of new routines, and now the personal dashboard comes from 300 Words a Day, a blog post I follow, written by Jon Swanson. Recently he wrote about Monday routines.

I really like the idea of creating a Monday routine. Until now I haven’t been able to settle on a routine.

Monitoring is an important aspect of what I do as a marketer. Without goals and objectives, there is nothing to measure; and without measurement, there is no accountability. Accountability helps ensure we are headed for a destination of our choosing, it informs what we are doing and how we are doing it.

I don’t know about you, but I bristle a bit at the term “accountability”. I bristle because the term is often misused and abused. Used properly, accountability can be my friend; it helps by alerting me when I start to drift or see a shiny new object that is destined to lure me off course.

Cars have dashboards with gauges that monitor things like engine temperature, oil pressure, and these days, a host of other data. None of these elements are all that exciting; however, lose oil pressure or oil itself and everything can come to a dramatic halt.

There are different kinds of gauges, some provide current levels of performance – think engine temperature; others are monitored by lights (affectionately called “idiot lights”) that only work when something requires attention.

Engineers have decided what needs to be monitored and provided a mechanism to enable us to quickly scan the dashboard and know what, if any, action is required. The luxury of being a vehicle-owner is that these built-in monitors have already been designed and implemented by mechanical engineers; not true for most aspects of life, a quandary for those not intentional about self-monitoring.

There is at least one other challenge to monitoring. Often what we are measuring becomes the end not the means. In education, for example, getting the “A” is more important than actually learning the material. In business, hitting the target trumps all else. This tendency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t measure; we just need to keep a healthy perspective, understanding the “Why?” so we can monitor and make the necessary adjustments.

So the question is, what does all this have to do with a personal dashboard? I am going to start my new Monday routine, with the intention of self-examination. Each Monday I am going to ask myself a series of questions designed to monitor the state of my soul. I am guessing these questions may evolve over time. Some weeks I may not have answers for all the questions; the purpose isn’t to have a specific answer. It’s to monitor, to review and reflect.

Here is my personal dashboard:

How am I doing? Really?

Am I growing? If so, what are the indicators? If not, why not?

What is God saying to me?

Am I trusting God more? Am I more connected and engaged?

What Am I avoiding?

Where am I grumbling? Judging? Lacking in compassion?

I am going to try this and see what happens.


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