My 40th year – May (month #1)

A few weeks ago I wrote about the need to look after myself more, mentally and physically. Generally I don’t do too bad, but the last year has been a bit of a rough ride, and I feel like I need to give myself some attention and tlc. So, on my birthday I promised myself over the next year I’ll do one thing a month that will nurture and support me.

So for month 1 – May – I decided to do a life audit. I’ve not done one for a while, and it’s something I’ve done a few times but not necessarily on a regular basis. Put simply, it’s where I review different areas of my life and think about what’s going well and what’s not, and what I should do to either carry on going well or improve the things that aren’t. It’s basically a way for me to sift out in my brain what’s important right now so I don’t implode (I spend a lot of time with a million ideas and things I want to do and try floating round in my head, so it’s very easy for me to feel overwhelmed).

Disclaimer: I didn’t make this up myself, I learnt about some of this from an amazing IBM consultant called Jenna I worked with a few years ago, as well as some articles such as this one, although I don’t go into half as much detail as that.

Now if you think it sounds a bit wanky or serious or like your performance review at work, it’s really not. It’s whatever you want it to be. You can draw pictures, be as in depth as you like or do it while standing on your head if you want to put more fun into it. You’re in charge. The main thing is that it’s a tool to help you keep on top of life, connect with what you’re doing and get shit done.

For me, it helps organise life in my brain when I get busy and feel like I have a million things I need to do at the same time (often).

I write down the following headings – usually on paper, I’m old skool:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Finances
  • Work
  • Relationships – I break this down further into Family, Friends, Partner
  • Hobbies/fun

I think about each one and how it’s going. Things like, what feelings come to mind, whether I’m happy, what I’ve done over the last few months and what’s currently going on – are things helping or harming me?

I’ll then give it a rating out of 10. I’ll probably decide anything at an 8 or more doesn’t need any focus (usually if I’m already doing a lot) so I can quit thinking about whether I need to do anything more.

Anything less than an 8 probably warrants some action, and so I’ll think of things I can do to help up the score. It could be anything, but I’ll write down some specific actions I’ll commit to doing or boundaries that I can put in place. But not like extreme complicated stuff – literally one or two tiny changes that I know I can actually do rather than unrealistic stuff that I know I’ll never do.

Then I’ll make an effort to do that stuff. And that’s how I get shit done and keep on track with life for a bit.

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