Relentlessly Audit Your Life
Your stop-doing list matters even more than your to-dos
How many times, when has someone asked, “How are you?” or, “What’s going on in your life?” have you answered, “I’m so busy”?
Then the logical next question they ask is, “What are you so busy with?” You pause and think for a minute and then respond with a laundry list of the tasks on any given day’s to-do list. Or maybe you offer up an exhausted, “Oh, you know, life.”
I’m not judging, truly. I’ve given those responses many, many times before and after I became a mom, a successful entrepreneur, and a bestselling author. And every time I did, I’d feel even more overwhelmed and exhausted and disappointed in myself. Because, deep down, I knew all the stuff that was eating up my time — that I was allowing to eat up my time — wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. And I longed to be able to answer with passion and purpose about things that were really filling my soul.
I’m going to take you through an exercise I do at least twice a year and have guided many teams through in my capacity as a life and business coach. This two-step exercise can show you exactly where all your time is going.
- I want you to write down everything you do over the course of a week, in all parts of your life, and how long you spend on each activity. And I mean everything. Grab a notebook and carry it with you everywhere so you can capture every single thing you do for seven days. It might seem extreme at first, but if you don’t write down everything you’re spending your time on, you won’t be able to identify what you need to change.
- Once you’ve spent a whole week recording your life, look at everything listed on every day and categorize each entry.
- Mark “P” for everything that serves one or more of your priorities.
- Mark “G” for everything that’s helping you get closer to achieving one or more of your goals.
- Mark “F” for everything that’s just plain fun.
- Mark “H” for everything you hate doing.
- Mark “S” for everything you think you should do.
- Mark “M” for everything you think you must do.