BeforeYourNext Birthday-DeniseFisher’s Blog

Get fit, get organized, & get your financial affairs in order

What’s Your Policy?

Posted by denisefisher on January 23, 2009

 I don’t mean your business guidelines or your customer service policy. What’s your personal policy?

What’s your policy on returning phone calls? Do you

            A) call back at your first opportunity?

            B) make your routine calls twice a day – once around 10 am and then around 3 pm?

            C) return business calls right away during the day and return personal calls when you get a break (and vice versa for evenings and weekends)?

            D) have a policy of not returning calls, assuming that if it’s that important they’ll call you back?

            E) find out who is calling, see if you can figure out what they’re calling about, and then call them back (or not) when you feel like it (if you feel like it), except for the callers you’re avoiding because they’re following up on something you were supposed to do but haven’t taken care of yet?


(Hint, option E isn’t really a “policy”. That’s more like winging it or acting on whim.)


What about your policy on

            Responding to e-mail?

            Sending out thank-yous?

            Paying your bills?

            Returning things you’ve borrowed?

            Lending money?

            Making charitable contributions?

            Gift giving for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions?

            Between-meal snacking?

            Credit card purchases?

            Making the bed and other household chores?

            Arrival time for appointments or social engagements?

            Spending limits for entertainment and vacations?

            Drinking at social events?

            Exercising or working out?


Why do you need policies?


Because it establishes credibility. It determines your reputation. And it helps you act pragmatically, rather than succumbing to pressures and emotions of the moment that can obscure your better judgment. It keeps you from defaulting to taking the easy way out and regretting it later.


You build credibility by keeping your word. You establish your reputation for being dependable by being consistent. Your friends and associates will recommend you to others because you are reliable. You have standards and you adhere to them unfailingly. You have a policy.


The same thing goes for keeping your word to yourself. You strengthen your self-discipline by sticking to your policy. You gain self-confidence from knowing what you can do and trusting yourself to do it. You don’t waiver from your standards when you don’t feel like it or make every decision dependent on your mood or the current circumstances. When you tell yourself you’re going to go walking for twenty minutes after dinner, you do it. You don’t have to use your energy to convince yourself that you have a valid excuse for an exemption from your good intentions. And you don’t let others convince you that it’s ok to let it slide “this once”. You just do it. It’s your policy.


Pick one. Try it yourself. If you really want to add muscle to it, put it in writing. Establish a policy that you’re going to faithfully pack your lunch every Tuesday and Thursday and that you’ll spend 10 minutes doing yoga stretches before going back to work. Then do it. And when your co-workers try to persuade you to just put your lunch in the refrigerator and join them for lunch at their favorite buffet restaurant – “C’mon, it’s not going to kill you to skip it this one time.” – tell them you can’t. It’s against your policy.


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