As stated in my previous journal entry, I’ve found Chris Kresser’s From Busy to Balanced Program to be one of the most useful aspects of the ADAPT pre-course. In today’s post I will share how I’ve been using it.
What it is
From Busy to Balanced was designed to address burnout among healthcare professionals and is offered through Kresser’s ADAPT Academy and as part of the ADAPT Practitioners Program. With the tag line, “work less and accomplish more,” it promises to free up two to three hours per week in the busiest of schedules
The course is delivered as an eight-part, weekly video series with worksheets to go with each installment. As part of the ADAPT pre-course, I had access to the entire series at once and went through it in short order.
I’m not a doctor, nor is my work schedule particularly busy, and so I found some of the material not personally relevant. But I’m nowhere near as productive as I would like to be. And to that end, I’ve gotten a lot of value from some of the worksheets. I’m in my fourth week of using them. Following are the ways in which they’ve helped me.
Clarifying My Purpose, Vision, and Goals
One of the first things the program asked of me was a clarification of my purpose, vision and goals. The logic being that being that if you lack a clear aim and plan, it’s all too easy to get bogged down by distractions.
Purpose here is defined as what one wants to accomplish in the world. This one was a little tricky for me. My purpose in life, what I define as my Aim, is mostly relevant to the spiritual domain, not necessarily any career path. So for this exercise I was careful to specify my purpose as specific to health coaching.
My purpose: To educate and help the confused and suffering recover their health through ancestral diet and lifestyle principles.
Vision is defined as the way in which one plans to fulfill one’s purpose.
My vision: To establish a thriving health coaching business and a prolific blog that both educates and attracts my ideal client.
Goals are the specific steps necessary to realize one’s vision.
My top three goals: 1. To create enough content to launch Way of Earth website and blog before the official start of the ADAPT course. 2. To maximize the educational opportunity that the ADAPT course presents. 3. To get my writing life on track.
Keep | Start | Stop
Keep-Start-Stop is a process of identifying what you’re doing that’s working well, things you aren’t currently doing but need to start, and things that you are doing that are not exactly serving you. I decided to approach it in terms of habit assessment. I’m not sure that’s how worksheet is intended to be used, but that’s what I did.
The encouraging news is that I have a good, solid foundation to work from. My diet is dialed in, I practice yoga and bodyweight calisthenics on a near daily basis, my meditation practice is strong, I’m taking good care of my body and mind.
What I want to start doing is bringing more focus, discipline, and consistency to my writing habits. As of now, meditation and black coffee are my two vital morning rituals. I want to add writing to that mix. Consistently. Before I go online.
Which brings up the final consideration: things that I need to stop. I want to stop compulsively scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook in (seemingly) every spare moment. That one is easier said than done.
NOTE: I completed this worksheet about four weeks ago and can report that It’s still a work in progress. I’m writing more consistently, but still struggling to keep the hounds of the internet at bay.
For the Define Success Worksheet, I picked the short-term goal of getting my writing life on track and this blog established.
The worksheet asked me to describe what success might look like. How will I know when I’ve arrived?
My answers: 1. When I’m engaging in productive writing time on a daily or near-daily basis. 2. When the words start flowing with more ease. 3. When I feel satisfied with the quality of what I’m producing.
The final question asks if there is a metric I can use to monitor my success. Success, I answered, can be measured by the number and quality of blog posts I produce.
A simple worksheet, but useful nonetheless.
Defining My Unique Ability
The Defining Your Unique Ability worksheet is a series of questions and exercises for determining what one’s unique ability is and formulating a plan to prioritize it. It asks the question, “What activities give you energy, purpose, and passion? Where do you truly excel?”
I had to do some serious introspection to come up with an answer to this question that checks off all four criteria.
The first thing that came to mind was teaching yoga. I was a full-time Bikram Yoga instructor for seven years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was good at it. I felt useful doing it. It was a fulfilling way to make a living, and for a while I thought I would do it for the rest of my life. But I was somehow never exactly passionate about it. Perhaps because I’ve never bought into the spiritual hype projected onto the practice of hatha yoga in the West? There was always a part of me that approached it as just a job.
What about sitting meditation? I’m passionate about it. It gives me energy and purpose. It’s the single most important thing that I do. But is it an ability? There is a certain degree of skill that one cultivates by doing it, sure, but it’s a practice one engages and wrestles with and is gradually transformed by. I don’t think it could qualify as a “unique ability.” And even if it was, I’m not sure I could say that I truly excel at it. I’m by no means a master meditator.
What I finally landed upon was my first love, which I’ve mostly neglected over the past seventeen years. And that is writing. I was once considered in some circles to be a damn good writer. A poet with numerous publication credits in American literary magazines and inches away from a first book deal. Through most of my 20s and 30s, I saw the practice of poetry as integral to my spiritual path and organized my life around it. When I completed a poem and held it in my hand, and knew without doubt that it was a good one, there was nothing as satisfying, electrifying, as that feeling.
The answer became obvious: I have a unique ability to describe what I see and experience with the written word, especially through free verse poetry, and also through confessional and reflective prose.
Years ago I put my writing life on the shelf as I went through a painful divorce, worked late nights dealing poker in a smoky casino, suffered the death of a daughter, and later transitioned to a career teaching yoga.
I have tremendous resistance to dusting it off. The words don’t come as easily as they once did. But I’m not as busy as I used to be. I can prioritize.
I’ve printed out several copies of the Weekly Planning Worksheet and am in my fourth week of using them. It basically asks me to list three to six things that I want to accomplish for the week. But before that, it asks me to list my “wins” for the week — my three top accomplishments.
I’ve been listing my goals in tiers. The first tier for three things that I’m intent on getting done. The second tier for three things that I can start on once I’ve checked off the first tier.
Because most of my weekly goals are writing goals, and because I’m not as prolific at this point as I want to be, I tend to feel as if I’m not getting anything done. I’ve therefore come to appreciate this process of recording my wins from the previous week. Through it I’ve realized that I’m actually being more productive than I think.
I don’t think I’ve used From Busy to Balanced in quite the way it’s intended to be used. By putting my own spin on it, though, it’s helped me to be more productive. I’ve used it to go from “un-busy and distracted” to“busier and more productive.”
I think the worksheets are great tools for self-assessment, for clarifying one’s visions and goals, for establishing intentional routines. I’ll continue using the Weekly Planning Worksheet and will re-visit some of the other worksheets as time goes on.
For the past several years I’ve been taking in a lot of information through books, podcasts, Youtube videos, and blog posts. With enrollment in the ADAPT program and the launching of Way of Earth, I’m feeling the push to make a shift from consuming content to producing content. From Busy to Balanced is helping with that.