Let’s do a quick review of how we defined self-regulation in our last post before we jump into the next phase of the process. Self-regulation is the process of planning, monitoring, and evaluating your behaviors in order to learn from and optimize end results over time. We discussed planning previously, so you should have a general understanding of the planning phase of self-regulation.
The next phase of the process is the monitoring phase. This phase occurs after the planning phase and involves checking both your progress on the task and the quality of your output as your plans are being implemented. Monitoring can be difficult to master and is often overlooked, because you have to remember to do it.
How does the PaceMyDay app encourage monitoring? First of all, the main thing you’re monitoring with this app is your fatigue level, with the goal of making the best use of the energy you have without exhausting yourself. So, as you begin and end each task, you’ll be prompted to identify your current energy level. This encourages you to think about how you feel before you start a task and then again after the optimal task duration has elapsed. In this way, you become aware of how doing that task for that length of time impacts your energy. In other words, you are monitoring yourself and developing the tools to fine-tune your energy management.
Now let’s look at two more ways the PaceMyDay app integrates monitoring throughout its various steps.
- Onboarding — Does the wake time I set give me enough time to complete my morning routine before I need to leave the house? Do I need more time for my evening routine? Am I turning off the lights when the lights-out alarm sounds? These are all questions you can ask to help yourself monitor as you are performing the tasks. Note that monitoring happens during the task, not after (that’s the evaluation phase—more on that later). Monitoring encourages you to try to be aware of your routines and how successful you are as you are performing the routines. You may realize in the middle of your morning routine that you haven’t given yourself enough time to complete all the things you need to do. This may prompt you to eliminate certain tasks in order to get out the door and stay on time. In other words, you may decide to change your plan while monitoring rather than waiting until you do a more formal evaluation of the task.
- Optimal Task Duration — You create each task with an initial optimal duration–the amount of time you believe you can do a specific task and still have energy left over to do something else. It is important for you to monitor while you are doing a task to help yourself become aware of how realistic the optimal duration you set for the task is. You may realize while you are monitoring that you need to modify the optimal duration.
- Planning Your Day — Monitoring your energy throughout the day may help you to modify the number of tasks and/or the duration of tasks you attempt.
The above examples illustrate just a few ways in which the PaceMyDay app integrates the self-regulation concept of monitoring. Stay tuned—we’ll explore evaluating next.