If you’re like me, there are times when your plate feels a bit too full. I’m over-scheduled and overwrought, but at the same time I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much of anything. It’s in those moments when I know that I need a Life Audit.
We all have those days when we work too hard on the wrong things, but we have to make sure that those days don’t turn into weeks or months and certainly not years. An audit will leave you with the clarity and space you need to “do you” at the ultimate level.
Here are the three steps to conducting a Life Audit:
Quality life advice will not be helpful to you if you don’t know your personal mission. What’s your ‘why’? What is the vision for your life? If you’re not clear on the answers to these questions then it will be hard for you to set the direction of your audit. It’s up to you to carve your life’s direction and it’s a power move to dig deep and put your goals on paper.
A personal mission statement will help you articulate your values, beliefs, determine your personal definition of success, how you contribute value to the world, and help you show others the current purpose of your life. As you craft this guide look up the personal mission statements of other professionals for a template or consult your favorite companies for strong examples.
What’s currently on your plate? Make a master list of everything in your life that’s taking up time. Full-time jobs, side hustles, relationships, community involvements, social media accounts, and whatever else that might be taking up space in your life.
After you’ve completed this task you will take this list along with your mission statement and seek points of congruence between the two. Where there’s incongruence, there exists an opportunity to clean up some space on your plate of life. Questions to consider:
- How is this helping me achieve my mission?
- Do I enjoy it? Some things you might just want to keep around because it’s fun. Fun is allowed!
- What am I gaining by having this on my plate? Could you achieve the same gains another way?
- What would I lose by taking this off my plate? Do those things play a large role in me achieving my mission?
- Is this taking other resources from me that could be useful in helping me live out my mission? For instance, do you need extra money to fund the beginning stages of a side hustle that is connected to your mission? Are you finding it hard to find time to sit down and write your book but you’re giving 3 hours of your week to something you feel “meh” about? It could be good to push this stuff off your plate now in order to fulfill the larger mission.
- If I wasn’t already involved with this, would I sign up for it now? If the answer is ‘no’ then that’s an easy thing to cross off your list.
- Is this helping me to fulfill the basic needs of life? For instance, my workout costs are pretty expensive but my health is critically important. I can always research cheaper options but I shouldn’t give up fitness altogether.
Go through your list and be strong. Always think back to your mission. If you need a little guidance, try the stoplight method:
RED: STOP! These are things that you must say no to at this time.
YELLOW: Slow Down! You can still be involved but maybe at a different level. This is a commitment that you need to redesign.
GREEN: GO! Mission congruent and a life must-have.
Collect what you have left on your list. If your new plate seems more manageable and will help you lead to your personal definition of success then you’ve had a successful audit. If not, then rinse and repeat. You might find some gaps during your audit and this could lead to adding new opportunities to your plate but be sure that you have the capacity to handle adding things to your plate. Exchanges will likely have to happen between a new and existing opportunity.
Having a personal mission statement allows you to flare and focus with purpose. As new opportunities come your way you can run them through your mission filter. Set up a regular time to engage in a Life Audit. Reexamine and rework your mission as needed, flare and put everything in front of you and then focus to commit to those things that will help you achieve success.