What life do you want? In 5, 10, 40 years?
Can you honestly answer that?
This logic is undeniable: only change causes change.
Most people never give themselves the opportunity to step back and see where they are in life.
We get so busy, sometimes we forget to pause, and reflect on our week, month or year.
Clayton M. Christensen, writes in his book, How Will You Measure Your Life:
“In your life, there are going to be constant demands for your time and attention. How are you going to decide which of those demands gets resources? The trap many people fall into is to allocate their time to whoever screams loudest, and their talent to whatever offers them the fastest reward. That’s a dangerous way to build a strategy.”
Life audit is a fundamental part of assessing how far you’ve come, where you want to go, what you should stop doing, and everything you should keep doing to become a better version of yourself.
It’s a self-reflection exercise. An audit will leave you with the clarity and space you need to “do you” at the ultimate level.
Alicia at Lifehacker explains:
… a life audit is all about organizing your life and being honest with yourself:
First, write down every goal, great hope, and life necessity on a different post-it note (i.e., get a new job, win an award, live near the ocean).
Second, organize the post-its by category (i.e., health, family, career, etc.) as themes start to emerge.
Third, organize by time (i.e., how long it will take to accomplish/check-off each post-it).
When life is audited, performance improves
What’s most interesting /important to you right now and are you working towards that?
Set up a regular time to engage in a life audit.
Reexamine your goals in life as needed, and refocus where necessary.
Add a recurring weekly/monthly audit to your calendar, and start reflecting on your weekly actions.
Ask yourself these questions:
What went right? Wrong? What can I do better?
You don’t even have to spent an hour auditing yourself.
You can quickly assess how you performed each week or month, with questions like:
How is this helping me achieve my goals?
What am I gaining by having this on my to-do list? Could I achieve the same gains another way?
What would I lose by taking this off my list? Do those things play a large role in me achieving my long-term goal?
Did I consume more than I create?
How about my time management? How did my screetime affect my productivity?
If you are future-focused, this is a helpful reminder to look back, even for a few minutes, and think about how far you’ve come and what you need to do to be better, and smarter in the future.
Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
It’s a better approach to redefine personal progress.
Auditing yourself can help you sustain a ruthless level of prioritization and focus every week.
It’s a practical way to achieve meaningful progress.
Tracking improves everything.
Analysis of work and life brings ideas for progress.
Many people are held back because they simply don’t know how to improve.
They aren’t tracking their life enough!
The more you track, the more you know about your situation, your behavior, and your projected future.
You can even track bad behaviors, and habits.
An unhealthy behavior is something that, if unchecked, could possibly spiral out of control and negatively affect your life or derail your purpose and plans.
Your input predicts your output
Everything you allow into your life through all your senses — input — is processed as output that creates your results.
If you expect a different output, start analysing your inputs.
Measure your current inputs.
If you are not satisfied with your current output and your results, including your beliefs and your mindset, pay close attention to everything you spend time doing.
Most information is time-consuming, negative, and irrelevant to your goals and dreams.
Don’t do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results.
Deliberate lifestyle design is based on massive consistent action — output.
Increased output necessitates decreased worthless input.
In the current age of distraction, input sources make an even bigger difference (positive or negative) in your performance at work and your overall well-being.
Live the 80/20 lifestyle
Eighty percent of your outcomes in most things you do come from twenty percent of your inputs.
As Pareto demonstrated with his research, this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio.
At a micro level just by looking at your daily habits you can find plenty of examples where the 80/20 Rule applies.
20% of the people who are close to you influence 80% of your attitute and perception and either propel you forward or limit your abilty to deliver and make the progress you deserve.
In business, 80% of profits come from 20% of customers and 20% of products.
The important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.
Some of your time spent working inefficiently provide very little benefit.
When you start to analyse and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place.
The message is simple — focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you.
The key to making the 80/20 principle work for you is focus.
In every area of your life you can work out the few things that are really important to you and the few methods that give you what you want.
There are lots of simple, painless ways to start this “stripping back” process so that you can begin applying the 80/20 Principle and reaping the practical benefits in your everyday life.
Take a moment every month (if you can’t commit to weekly audits) to review all your input sources — including all types of media you consume.
Do your input choices really reflect your goals, dreams, desires, and values?
What input do you need to decrease or omit in your life right now?
What input do you need to increase or improve in your life?
What can you achieve in the next few months?
What is your long-term goal?
What can you do today — or every single day going forward to get you closer to your life purpose?
You are probably due for input adjustment.
If you keep doing what you’re doing now but want different results, you’re never going to have anything different than what you’ve already got.
If you’re dreaming big, it’s time to start auditing your actions, and how you live each day.
Ready to start a life-changing habit?
I’m creating a habits mastery course to help you master the kaizen principles for starting and maintaining healthy habits. Kaizen Habits will teach you how to make any change in life, one small habit at a time. Sign up to be notified when it launches.
You can also subscribe to Postanly Weekly (my free weekly digest of the best posts about behavior change that affect health, wealth, and productivity). Join over 47,000 people on a mission to build a better life.
This article first appeared on Medium.