One of the most important discoveries Peter Drucker wrote about in his book, The Effective Executive,* is:

Without an action plan, the executive becomes a prisoner of events. And without check-ins to reexamine the plan as events unfold, the executive has no way of knowing which events really matter and which are only noise.

Whether you are an executive or a stay-at-home mom this book helps you to develop the discipline of focusing on the right things to become more efficient and more effective in your life.

Haven’t you felt, at times, like you were a “prisoner of events?”

Taking stock and setting intentions is the action plan that weaponizes clarity. When you get a realistic assessment of your current activities, and what brought you to those activities, you can start to rexamine what matters most and then schedule how to make them a reality.


Cassie moved back home to help take care of her sick mother. There were good days and bad days, but mostly, there was a consistent pattern of doctor’s visits and other appointments. As time passed, “MamaMia’s” health started to deteriorate. It was subtle, at first, you know. Do you know what I mean by subtle? A backache here, a swollen foot there and some pain elsewhere; nothing that would raise an alarm.

Each day, though, there seemed to be more of a slide, and so, more doctor’s appointments were made. From those visits, a decision was made to have a certain procedure that would help alleviate some of the symptoms MamaMia was experiencing. The intention of the doctors was to solve the most pressing need. The intention of Cassie and her MamaMia was to get back to a consistent baseline where Mamamia was independent and back to a routine that caused minimal pain.

After the procedure, Cassie had high hopes. She wanted the pain to be reduced and her mom to get back to the ways things were. But that wasn’t to be, for two weeks, MamaMia was in tremendous pain, most of the day, and with no relief in sight. MamaMia went from completely independent to unable to dress, bathe or get in and out of bed without assistance. No one seemed to have an answer.

Cassie felt like she was playing catch up. There were so many variables happening at once that she couldn’t establish a cause and effect – other than the procedure – that would explain the pain. After two ER visits, MamaMia was sent to a rehab facility.

After two weeks of therapy, of proper pain management, and a routine that allowed Mamamia to truly rest, progress was made.

In taking stock of all that had transpired in the past 6 months since she moved back home, Cassie recognized that if she were ahead of the events, she would have had a better time managing the variables and she would have known what to look for and how to make things easier for MamaMia after that fateful procedure.

Cassie learned that being the point person for all communications and consistently following up with the professionals made it so she could make better decisions “on the ground” when things were changing so quickly. Cassie’s intention next time is to 1) Be the point person for all information 2) Communicate daily with all the professionals 3) Communicate results of interventions quickly to all concerned. Moving forward, Cassie has decided that instead of waiting to be told what was next, she would ask ahead of time what the choices are to better handle the care of MamaMia.

In that story, you’ll notice that this method of taking stock and setting intentions really is as simple as applying what you’ve learned, so you can get the right things done in the right way. But if you don’t take time to think about it, reflect on it, identify what is working and what isn’t, you are destined to make the same mistakes again.

This approach isn’t just for a current problem or situation. This approach can be used as an operating procedure for the life you want to live on a daily basis.

Taking stock and then setting intentions of what to do and who to be, in your calendar, makes it so you take back control of your day and your life – Christine Jeffrey

When you win your days, you win your weeks, and when you win your weeks, you win your year….What could be possible for you if you started to “steamroll” your life with all of the experiences, the accomplishments – the success – you want to have by just keeping up the practice of taking stock and setting intentions that you then put in your calendar?

In order to accurately assess where you are at in your life, right now, you need to be honest about where you’ve been and where you are going. The steps below will help you do just that.

GET TO THE TRUTH – The 5-3-1-3 Method

  1. TOP 5 TIMELINE – Draw a line. Record your top 5 experiences or accomplishments in chronological order above the line. Then record your top 5 disappointments in chronological order below the line. Now connect the dots in chronological order and notice what your pattern is. This exercise has helped many of my clients to see important relationships  among three variables: how they are being, when and what their disappointments are, and the when and the what of their accomplishments.
  2. TOP 3 HABITS THAT SUPPORT YOU – Take inventory of your habits and identify the ones that have helped you to succeed. How can you use those habits to help you attain your next level of success? The success I am talking about doesn’t just reside in personal accomplishments. The success I am taking about is holistic – in encompasses all areas of your life: health, self efficacy, self esteem, relationships, vocations, avocations et al.
  3. TOP 1 HABIT THAT GOT IN YOUR WAY – As you look at your habits, identify which one caused you the most trouble. Ask yourself, what would you have to change to make that habit an ally? What is that one habit costing you in terms of self efficacy, self esteem, and self trust? If that habit was no longer a deterrant, what could be possible for you? Decide what you want to do about it.
  4. TOP 3 GOALS TO COMPLETE BY THE END OF THE YEAR – (This is the intention as a result of all of that reflection) Now that you have some clarity around your strengths, weaknesses and resources, what do you intend for the rest of the year so that you can finish strong. How are you going to finish this year, so that, you can look in the mirror with excitement and pride about who you are and what you are doing with your valuable time and resources?

Getting to the truth is the quickest way to move forward in your life, because you solve the right problems and take the right steps to finish this year strong.

If you don’t shine a light on it, ask questions about it, reflect on your learning and apply what you learn, how will you be successful?

I started this article discussing a tactic to solve a particular problem, but then built on that premise to a strategy you can apply to your life. If you work this method, consistently, you will get results.

Imagine how much fun you would have if you knew, exactly, when to focus and when to celebrate? How much more meaningful your relationships would be, because you chose who and how you want to be and you thought in advance about the feelings you wanted to generate?  How good would you feel if you started to see all of your hard work pay off by consistently working on what you have learned matters most?!


So get clear and get moving! You got this!

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You got this. Leave a comment, ask a question, I’m here to help.

Thank you so much for reading and until next time,

Make the most of the time you have!

With love,

Coach “Taking stock makes a difference”

(*You can click on the title to learn more about The Effective Executive)