Building your personal toolkit

Future of Being

As someone who has a portfolio career, it can become easy to get overwhelmed by competing demands and priorities. I was recently flabbergasted by my friend telling me that she doesn’t use a calendar to keep her life on track. Instead, she’s developed a mental toolkit that means she can always fit in what matters most to her, regardless of what’s happening externally.

Her personal toolkit has four quadrants that reflect her priorities and what she deeply cares about. In her case they are: relationships, daily movement, food and observation/reflection. In each quadrant, she has collected a series of “tools” that she can use on any given today to fulfil her base needs. For example, in the daily movement quadrant, her tools were:

This means that on a day where she’s got an early meeting and can’t get to the gym first thing in the morning, she can walk home from work to get in her daily movement. The flexibility of the tools inside the quadrant means that she rarely loses motivation by setting daily expectations that are too high to consistently meet. Instead, she recognises the complexity of life and has created a system that is as flexible as her changing priorities and the external demands placed on her.

In a grind-fuelled hustle culture, many of us are people are deeply attracted to the idea of having a meticulous routine. If you’re anything like me, you pour your heart and soul into designing the perfect routine but never manage to fully stick to it. I’d like to take a moment and reassure you that if you resonate with this, it means you are a human being. Congratulations!

Life is unpredictable. Especially if you have a portfolio career, every week will look slightly different. The flexible routine that the personal toolkit enables means that you can hit the buckets the are most important to you each day without feeling shamed into calling it quits.

Over the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on what my quadrants are. Currently, they are: daily movement, creation, reflection and relationships. This is a reflection of my current priorities and I fully expect them to shape-shift over the coming months and years. What would yours be?

March 7, 2024