Written by Mrs. Sarah Adnan, Content Writer at WOWPK
These are some unprecedented times we are living in right now. On the one hand, the advancements in technology have made our lives easier, it has also generated a lot of noise in our personal universe. Social media, digital networks, information overload, all this has led to an unlimited burden on our minds. And people, friends, relatives, even total strangers do not shy away from giving advice and a direction to our lives. All this has resulted in us losing track of our ultimate goals, our dreams and desires.
Remember how, when we were young, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with our lives, what we aimed to be? As we grew older, life happened, and as we entered the real world, the practical world, all our hopes and our dreams got lost in the sea of responsibilities, professional – financial – personal.
Well, I am now going to discuss a method I use time and again, to realign my focus and my energies to what I call my center. Every few years I take a couple of days off from work, and from life in general to do my ‘Life Audit’. It doesn’t mean I completely lock myself up from the world but I try and keep my work to a minimum so all my mental energies are focused on deep thinking about where I stand today and what my final destination is.
A life audit is like ‘spring-cleaning for the soul’. It reaches into every corner of your mind to pull out every dream, goal, or desire you’ve ever had. Then you spend some time putting those ideas into categories in order to better understand what’s up and what you need to be spending your time on.
There are a lot of ways to do a Life Audit and when you search on the internet, you will find countless methods to do it. There are even trainers who conduct workshops for the same. However, my personal method is pretty simple, just a day or two of deep reflection and you will know exactly where you stand.
Here’s what I do.
I first write down the main heads, and then I list down the sub categories of all the goals I have.
These, of course are not my own goals. They are just random things I put here to give you a better understanding of what I am talking about.
Then I calculate how much I have achieved in terms of percentage. These are vague calculations as most things here cannot be calculated in numerical form. However, just approximately, what you feel you have achieved. And I make a graph to represent my achievements.
I make sort of the same chart for family and professional goals.
Then I sit down and write the details about what I have achieved and what I have yet to achieve. So for example, for my goal to write a book, I have written the central idea, have formed the characters but I am yet to start writing.
Realizing my strengths and weaknesses
After that, I think about what is stopping me to reach my goals. What are my weaknesses and how I can transform them into strengths. Who can help me? What I need, in terms of finance / training etc. to make sure I achieve my life goals. What exactly is my plan henceforth.
Finally, to give it all perspective I give myself deadlines. Realistic deadlines but I bind myself nonetheless, as I find that the pressure of deadlines makes us active and helps decrease procrastination.
In the end, I make sure to write my 12 month / 3 year and 5 year plan to measure if I am making realistic and rational time bound goals.
Time Spent Daily
I also like to calculate how much time I spend each day or each week for the major categories. For example:
And how I would ideally like it to be:
Personal development / doing something for yourself is equally important as only a happy you can work better and be better for your family. As for shorter work hours, all I can say is, work smarter, not harder.
Of course, most of the time, I sort of sometimes stray away from my goals. Life gets in the way. People, work, circumstance pulling me from all directions but then once every few years, I feel the need to re-align myself. To connect once again with my center so I know what’s important and where in my life I need to make changes.
We, as women, are always managing multiple roles – at home, at work, with family and our own dreams fade away in the background. Do not let that happen. Yes, I know it is easier said than done, but no great feat is achieved through ease and comfort.
I urge you all, today to sit down, take a couple of days, even a few hours off from life as you know it and just do a deep soul search. Think about your perfect life and how you can achieve it. Do a Life Audit. If you do not like my method, go online and search for other methods. Use the one that connects with you best but do this exercise. It will be the best thing you will do for yourself, I promise.