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Overwhelm. There, I said it. Very few of my financial advisor clients are less overwhelmed than pre-COVID. Life has changed so much over the past year and even though some things are a memory (commute with ridiculous traffic, choosing clothes to wear to the office, etc.), clutter of all kinds has invaded our lives and destroyed our productivity: mental, time, physical, emotional and brain clutter.

With so much change comes turmoil.

You may not even realize the impact this change has had on your life. If you are running through your days, feeling unhappy with how life is passing you by, invest a few minutes to reflect on what it is that you are missing. Discover what you need and value in your life.

What are needs and values and what do they have to do with productivity? Needs and values are the foundation of not only productivity, but of living the life that you want. Most people think of productivity as planning and time management. It is, but the first step to being productive goes much deeper. If you don’t know what makes your life work and what you stand for, you will get a lot done but feel empty inside. Or you may veer off course regularly and feel cluttered, unfocused and unaccomplished.

Uncover your needs and values

Let's do a little exercise. Yep, I call it the “needs and values” exercise that I work through with my financial advisor clients to help them build and create the life that works for them.

Let's start with the needs part. Needs are personal priorities and principles, and until your needs are met, life doesn’t “work.” From the list below, select your top three needs.

Don’t overthink this. Respond with your heart and soul, not with your head. This is not about what you think someone else wants to hear. And feel free to add words not shown here.

Achievement

Adventure

Aesthetic

Community

Equality

Fame

Family

Freedom

Fellowship

Happiness

Health

Love

Nature

Peace

Pleasure

Power

Self-Worth

Service

Spirituality

Wealth

Wisdom