Monica Marie Jones
Design Your Days
At the beginning of the workshops I facilitate there are a few things I always do intentionally to set the tone. I have music playing as people enter the room based on the energy and atmosphere I want to create. If the group needs to be energized because they were mandated to attend, I play upbeat music like Motown hits. If the group needs to relax, I’ll play jazz or meditation music.
I love watching the shift in the energy and facial expressions of the people who thought they were coming to another boring training. Not only does it make the workshop more enjoyable for them, but it lightens my load as the leader of the experience.
This is just one of many approaches I use, but the same process can be applied to how you curate the way you navigate your days in your personal and professional life. Here are a few strategies to support you as you design your days.
Activate Your Agreements. During the welcome section in my trainings I invite the participants to collaboratively create their group agreements. This is a set of guidelines that ensures everyone has what they need to be fully engaged throughout the experience. I have three agreements that I propose and then I allow the group to come up with the rest.
My first standard agreement encourages participants to give “Space and Grace” to themselves and others because we are all humans first and you never know what someone is going through outside of our time together. My second agreement is “Trust the Process,” because sometimes we may not understand why we are doing a thing right away, but there is a very well-thought-out intention and objective behind everything that has been planned. My final agreement is, “Intent Does Not Equal Impact,” because even though we may have good intentions for the things we say or do, that doesn’t mean it impacts others in a positive way. Even if we didn't intend it to cause harm, harm may still have occurred.
While these make for great agreements for groups, they are also agreements that I apply to how I show up for myself and others daily.
What are your agreements for how you want your days to flow?
Curate Your Culture. A requirement of a human resources class that I attended was to bring an artifact that represents our company culture. I chose the lapis lazuli stone because its significance is rooted in having a meaningful connection to self. This is important for my team because our work is rooted in self-awareness and doing the intentional inner work that is necessary for ongoing growth, healing, and personal development. I wear these stones on necklaces when I speak for protection and clearing of energies and emotions that I may absorb from others in the audience that are not my own.
Similarly, you might identify symbols, stories, rituals, or other objects that represent your beliefs and the culture you want to create in your daily environment and interactions. What you choose will help to ground you in your days and give you comfort when feelings of fear, anxiety, grief, or anger rise to the surface.
What item will you use to curate your culture?
Plan Your Play. I have so many important deadlines to meet this week, so one might think that I’d be spending 15 hours of each of my days plugging away at work. This is not the case. I know that I am not my best when I am not moving or doing something that sparks joy, so infusing these opportunities into my daily schedule are just as important to the successful completion of my commitments.
If you were to take a peek into my planner or Google calendar you would see that I have times blocked off for work, and I have just as much time blocked off for activities that I enjoy such as walks, time outside, meditation, connection with friends and loved ones, and kickboxing. These are the things that replenish and refuel me to make it to the finish line for the important responsibilities and deliverables that must be completed.
How will you incorporate the energizing power of play as you design your days?
This week I challenge you to intentionally set the tone for the type of days and the type of week you want to have. Ditch the diatribes and discourses that say things should be done in a certain way and enhance your processes and outcomes by designing your days in a way that works best for you.
I am activating my agreements to hold myself and others accountable for the experiences I desire.
I am curating a culture in my environments and relationships that reflects my values.
I am planning time for play every day to replenish the energy I need to honor my commitments.