I know, I know. In the last post, more readers voted for the Zeus and Amadioha piece. But as I started writing it, I realized that the pictures I wanted to use were in my camera and it’s hundreds of kilometers away. I’ll have it by next week, though. So I promise that piece then. Forgiven? Thanks! 🙂
I stumbled across the idea of a Life Audit on FastCompany. The concept is simple enough. You lock yourself in a room with a pen and a stack of blank Post-it notes and a bottle of water (because the process makes you thirsty, apparently). If you need to, you put a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside.
Then you start to write your goals. Every single one of them, no matter how outlandish or silly. No matter how big. One goal per Post-It. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. I actually did this over a 3-day period; I couldn’t find the time to do it at once. When you’re spent (or you run out of Post-Its), you sort out the goals into the common themes that surface. Family, work, personal development, finances, spirituality. You sort them into time-based categories: Do everyday, do this year, do in five years, longer term. Then the harder work starts. You draw up plans to accomplish them.
Messy Desk. And look, I almost finished my bottle of water.
I love plans. I am a planner. I am obsessed with plans. I really, really, really like plans. This is probably why the Life Audit appealed to me. Like almost everyone I know, I’m cynical about new year resolutions (awon cool kids. Lol.). But a plan? I can work a plan.
There were things I wanted to learn, places I wanted to visit, skills I wanted to learn, attitudes I wanted to have. The person I wanted to be. There were short-term goals like “draft my tasks and targets at work for 2015”. And there were long-term goals like “give a TedTalk someday” (suggestions on possible topics welcome :)). There were everyday goals like “Call one friend and one relative everyday.” (And considering how much I prefer texting, this is a big deal for me.)
Steve Jobs talked about being able to connect the dots when looking back. For me, this audit was an attempt to connect them forward. It forced me to think about how I use my time and resources. And it put me on a path towards continuous improvement. Realizing that I couldn’t find the time to sit in front of a PC and write, I’m now learning to write with my tablet. I’m learning that the days of my youth, when I could lie on a bed somewhere and read novels for hours at a stretch, are over. I can only hope to snatch a chapter here and there, in traffic, on a plane, while waiting on a queue etc. I bought Emily Post’s Book on Etiquette because one of my goals was to be more considerate, and learning good manners seemed like a good place to start (“When someone says, “Thank you,” the best response is, “You’re welcome.” Don’t be bashful— accept the credit for your kindness. It’s subtle, but an “It was nothing” is actually saying that you place no value on what you did.”).
And here’s the thing. In December, I won’t beat myself up too much if I don’t meet them all. These are not my 2015 resolutions. It’s a Life Audit; a lot of it is made up of lifelong goals that I’ve decided will make me happy. What matters is that I keep working the plan(s) and making progress. The journey is part of the satisfaction.
I’d like to urge you to do a Life Audit. You don’t have to wait till January. You can find more information here. Do it, and share the outcomes with your friends or family for accountability purposes. If you feel brave enough, you can come discuss it in the comments’ section. 🙂