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Time Management Tip: Protect the Asset

Protect the asset. This is one of my favorite concepts that is really at the core of what Origami Day does. It has come up a lot lately so it’s time to teach you one of the most valuable lessons in work-life balance.

I learned about this practice early in my journey for balance from my favorite book, Essentialism by Greg McKeown. When he described the concept, I felt the same instant, comprehensive understanding I experienced while watching the final scenes of Inside Man (a very good movie by the way). It all suddenly made complete sense.

Protecting the asset is a great way to describe the lifestyle I was shifting towards. I am an ambitious person with two speeds in life: intense or asleep. My over-achieving personality was one of the biggest contributing factors to my life as a workaholic. When I realized that working to a place of burnout hampered my ability to accomplish goals, I became more committed to making a change. So, if you are not someone who is ready to seek balance to LIVE more (this was also part of my journey), consider that balance will help you ACHIEVE more.

McKeown describes protecting the asset like this:

“The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution.”

This can be seen in your ability to be a good employee, parent, spouse, friend, or leader. If you are not taking the appropriate care of yourself, you will not be able to succeed in any role.

Consider your cell phone for a moment. You likely use it throughout the day and have found ways for it to add value to your life, personally and professionally. What if you did not charge it? What if you dropped it without a case? What if you never ran updates on it? It would no longer function at peak performance and eventually stop working altogether. This is what we are doing to ourselves when we don’t protect the asset.

Now consider what is necessary for you to keep functioning at your highest level of performance. Is it rest, direction, support, clarity, structure, or something else? Decide what is essential in order to perform well in your life and career, and be sure to include that in your plans each week. Remember, there is a reason we are told on a flight to put your own oxygen mask on first.


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