Okay, so last Friday I talked about doing a reset. That’s where you clear your metaphorical chessboard and start again.
I’ve heard from several writer friends both in the comments and in emails, how they are starting to feel overwhelmed, bogged down and generally not in a great place. So, it definitely seems like I’m not the only one feeling it.
If the reset is where you have a toddler-sized temper tantrum and fling all the chess pieces off the board, then the Life Audit is where you put them all back on again. Neatly. Organised. So you have control again.
Yes, I appreciate that’s not how you play chess, but I do like my analogy so just go with it, people!
How it started
Okay, so 2019 started bad and has continued to pretty much suck. No matter what I’ve done well, there’s been a lot of crap just slowly bogging me down. I feel like I’m swimming in quicksand.
Now I don’t just want to blame 2019. Things have been growing steadily worse for a while, but a brand-spanking New Year always fills you with hope for a nice clean, fresh start.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the really important stuff in my life got shunted down to the bottom of the pile.
Exercise & Health
*laughs* what exercise? I have been struggling to keep even the most basic routine going. Even 5mins of yoga has been a struggle. Now that’s pathetic. I can’t manage 5 mins?
I’ve also been eating irregularly and not often. When I get low moods, my appetite is the first to go and I can just… not eat. As a(n obvious) result, I’ve lost weight and feel tired and crabby all the time.
I work from home so I have all the time in the world to run my business, but I’ve been sinking into a bad place and the first thing to suffer is my business.
It runs well without me doing much (until I get an order or a query) but I don’t want it to just “chug along”. I want it to grow. Last financial year (2018-19) was my worst in 2 years. Yes, that even includes the year I moved and shut my shop for months.
Why? Because I’ve not done enough to build my new product lines and I am non-existent on social media for my business.
Leisure time & social life
So, let’s not lie – I’m not exactly the most social person. I’m as anti-social and introverted as you can get. If I didn’t have to do errands, I’d practically be a hermit.
Now that’s unhealthy so I had been trying to visit family more. And when I visited England recently, I made sure to see as many of my friends as I could. I do miss them and it can be quite lonely living away from them. Even for a hermit like me.
The one person I can and love to spend all my time with is my awesome partner. Though we’ve barely done that. We aren’t going out, we aren’t even on the same sleep schedule at the moment. Another drop down into the sucking quicksand. 😦
Let’s leave the worst til last. I’ve barely written anything this year. If you saw my last monthly goals articles, I had to set the bare minimum of just write “something”. That’s bad.
It’s left me feeling depressed and shitty about pretty much everything. My moods really are tied to my writing and now it’s been so long, I’m finding myself procrastinating even when I HAVE time rather than writing. *facepalm*
So why is this happening?
Why? Because me and my crazy brain have been freaking out about all the “other important stuff” that needs to be done. (eg my brain has looped itself in procrastination).
What important stuff you ask? Well, that can be:
- spending time on social media
- updating old blog posts
- obsessing over the look of this blog
- relocating paperwork around the house rather than ACTUALLY dealing with it
- making lists about things I WANT to do…then not doing them
- making lists about projects I want to do… then shuffling those papers around
In truth, list of random, time-wasting, stress-inducing things I’ve been doing is pretty large but even just writing these few have made me feel angry and frustrated with myself.
I have lost sight of what’s important.
I have lost my balance in life.
I feel unmoored and overwhelmed.
However, I crave the need to feel busy, so my addled brain has run me ragged with unimportant and unnecessary tasks for the last 3 months. Which, when looking back has wasted my time, sapped my energy and left me feeling pretty rubbish.
Taking an Audit
So, I’m doing a Life Audit. The board is empty and now I need to refill it.
First I decide on what is truly important
- Leisure time
These five things are the most important things on my list, so I really have to stop treating them like crap.
That means, they get priority. If I’m not working on THESE things every week, then I’m doing something wrong.
Everything else can wait, everything else doesn’t need my attention.
I used to be good at tracking my time. Logging what I did and when, but like so many things it went by the wayside.
A time tracker allows you to really see where your time is going. Maybe you think you’ve been on social media 30mins when actually it’s been an hour. Maybe you think it only takes you 2 hours to write a blog post when actually it takes you 3.
If we don’t know where our time is being used up, how can we properly manage it?
It’s a pain doing a Time Tracker, as there are times you forget to complete it. Times you make note of when you started then fail to mark when the task ended. Times when you just can’t be bothered.
But it is worth it. So I need to re-establish the time tracker in my life, just for a little bit to see where some of my time is going.
Audit the systems
A life audit is also a good time to check the current systems. I change systems if they stop working well, or if I come up with something a little better. Recently, I feel like I’m going through the motions whether they work or not.
I had started a new organisation system for my To-Do lists, that had started to work great but then I fell back into old patterns and all my hard work had been in vain. As this just increased my workload as I was using both an old and a new system.
Where to from here?
I don’t want to get to the end of the year, look back and think, I’ve done loads of things, but none of them useful, important, helpful or even enjoyable. Which is where I feel like I’m headed.
So hopefully this audit will help me find my way back onto the path. Wish me luck!
Do you need to do a Life Audit?