Why I Really Need to do a Life Audit

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.

Why I need to do a Life Audit.  Image from Pixabay of a marker ticking a checklist

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.

Apparently not.

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.

Sore Subjects

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.

Business

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. 😦

Writing

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 has 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
  • Writing
  • Business
  • Projects
  • Health

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.

Tracking Time

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?

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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 work load as I as 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?

Share your Thoughts image.

Happy writing

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23 comments

  1. Wishing you speedy ‘get back on track’ vibes.
    But don’t beat yourself up too much, sometimes other shit just gets in the way, and don’t forget about all the massive changes that have happened; of course it’s going to throw things off track for a while.
    I’m with you on the yoga, I’ve struggled to commit to 1 hour a week. Yikes, I’m going to change that. 💕😊

    1. Thanks, Lorraine. I think I need to schedule in my yoga to make me actually do it again. Anything to actually get me moving! 🙂

  2. I gave 2018 a title: The Year of the Pain. In a nutshell I was experiencing a lot of ankle and knee pain that didn’t stop until the end of the year.

    Looking back I asked myself if I was being tested. Probably not but I made one up. Some bad guy straight out of the Marvel Universe (humor me) was trying to end me. Key action music.

    Cut to 2019: I still have limitations but I’m still here. I reorganized, talked it out, I figured it out and in the end I returned to things that mattered the most.

    Ari, you and I are survivors. In fact everyone who follows you are survivors. That’s all we know. It’s what we’re made of. As a survivor you will bounce back and do your thing. You will not accept anything second rate. That’s not who you are. By talking about it and with the support of friends and family you’ll get there.

    You know you will.

    1. I actually like the idea of naming the years. And yes, we are all survivors **breaks into rendition of I Will Survive**

      I think sometimes society drives us with this never-ending need to keep working. All our devices are about us staying connected, staying accessible, never taking a break. It can be so wearing. But you know what? I really TRULY believe the latter half of 2019 will be better, for both of us! 😀

  3. Relocating paperwork, but not going through it and organizing it. That’s exactly where I am, too. I keep saying I’ll do it when I move again soon, but I very well know that I will be overwhelmed then and so I will just grab everything, shove it in a truck and then unpack it all in the new place only to be at ground zero.

    1. I swear, paperwork will drown us all! I am sick of seeing the same pile of paperwork that I just move around my room. I have a plan on how I’m going to tackle my mountain of paperwork. When I’m back from my hiatus, I may even write a blog post about it… if I manage to sort it that is 😀

      1. I look forward to it. I think I just need time. But not any time. I need time to relax. To do nothing. To procrastinate. THEN I can tackle those papers. Unfortunately, most of the time I cannot complete phase 1 before the weekend ends and I go back to work.

  4. Recognizing you need to take stock is a good first step and your determination to do something about it is very positive, so well done! I think tracking time is a good way to go and I was rubbish at keeping a handwritten record. Now I use Toggl, it’s a great app and for different projects, though you still have to remember to start recording the time. 🙂 What I do like about is you can set a timer (pomodoro style) to remind you to have a break every 25 minutes or so…

    1. Thanks Jo, I admit I do need to try more with tracking my time. I will have to have a look at that app, Toggl. Anything to make things easier 😀

    1. Thanks Simon. I run a small online shop where I sell handmade jewellery and pottery (well, when I used to make pottery pieces) 🙂

      1. That sounds pretty good to me. I’ll have to have a look at some of your pottery pieces? You gave up the pottery?

  5. Spring is supposed to rejuvenate you … that is what they say, so maybe make Spring and its rejuvenation a time to get out and enjoy yourself a little too Ari … put that at the top of the list. I know that I place a lot of emphasis on my walk to just get away and have my mind be a blank canvas when I leave the house and see what happens along the way. All the rainy or ugly days which continue to thwart my walking have left me unsettled and sadly, instead of putting those morning that I remain inside to good use, I sit and stew or complaint about it. I need to hit the reset button as well and quit flying by the seat of my pants. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Linda. Yes! I definitely will be using the warmer Spring weather to get out more. I need to blow away some cobwebs and give myself a nice fresh start 🙂

      1. This month away will do wonders for you Ari – I know that cluttered feeling in the mind – I have it too sometimes, and the walks in the park help immensely, especially when it is just me and no one stopping to talk.

  6. Good Luck with the life reset, Ari 🤗❤️🤗
    I’d recommend:
    Health & recreation first (to get, and keep, yourself mentally and physically toned) to boost your positivity.
    Business second (to pay the bills, including food, and occasional reward treats, etc)
    Writing and projects third (to keep your talents oiled)
    I’m afraid the dreaded word – Routine – is must.

    1. Thanks Chris. I definitely will be making a nice working routine to help my wellbeing. I do feel I’ve let my health get neglected so will use May to focus on it 🙂

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