Our journey starts with Seth Godin, an amazing writer. He wrote over 20 bestselling books which is quite impressive. However at the same time he also managed to write a daily blog for over 18 years which is mind-blowing. And virtually all of his blogs are interesting. One blog in particular inspired me towards a new journey. It was a blog on self-management which of course is not a unique topic. However, he gave his own spin to this topic, starting with a wonderful title; ‘The World’s Worst Boss’. Already in the first sentence he made it clear who this boss is: “that would be you”.

Ultimately you are your own boss, and therefore your prime responsibility is to be a good boss to yourself. However, as Godin stated, you probably aren’t. One reason is because its’ hard and another reason is the lack of good books / theories.

For me this was a trigger to give it a try. I asked Seth Godin whether I could use the title of his blog, which he kindly approved. It is written in Dutch [De Slechtste Baas]. The first part explains why in the 21st century is it increasingly important to be a good boss for yourself. The reason is that in the so called knowledge era workers for the first time owned the main mean of production (knowledge). The logical consequence is that the knowledge worker also knew best how to apply this. So as a knowledge worker you had to manage yourself, but how ?

It was a new phenomenon, so there were no clear examples how to do this. Some book were published on time-management, however this did not give the right framework. Often it was limited to useful tips and tricks. Writers like Stephen Covey took a broader perspective, which led to a set of general guidelines, which according to Seth Godin, did not make us better bosses. The conclusion of my book was that a more advanced method, and the 4F model was introduced.

My second book [Professionaliseren als Professionals] took this model further. The central theme of the book is that even highly skilled professionals do not manage themselves professionally. As knowledge worker you should think of yourself as a small (micro) business. Therefore, you should manage yourself as a business, so you should use some form of accounting to see what goes well and what can be improved. In commercial businesses the main control measures are based on cash and equity. In your personal business this is different. The real assets are time (do you use it effectively and efficient) and energy (do you have fun).

Writing books is a good start, however not sufficient. What is needed is a toolset that you can use on a daily basis. This is exactly what we did at ForeF. We developed a set of tools called ‘mate’. The name that reflects the core objective: to be your partner to maximise your time and energy.