I’ve spent several years working on building my WordPress development business, which has taken up most of my working time after hours while at other jobs, and for the past two years as it’s been my full-time focus. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been moving non-stop, without pause to determine what I’m devoting my time to and if it’s what I want to be doing.
Making Time and Getting Started
I recently realized that I wasn’t making time for all of the plans that I continually make, with promises going unfulfilled to myself and others. After a few months of longer term projects, I was ready for a change. I came across this article about doing a Life Audit on Medium last week, and the idea intrigued me enough to undertake it myself.
Similar to the author, I spent my Saturday afternoon facing a blank wall (or set of retracting doors in my case), with a sharpie and stack of post-it notes in one hand, cup of coffee in the other. On a side note, I finally gave the Bulletproof Coffee concept a try, mixing coconut oil and butter into my hot coffee instead of milk or creamer. I can’t say it invigorated me as much as their sales hyperbole would claim, but it’s something that I’ll keep trying for a while.
My goal was to get to 100 cards, each with a different goal on it. About every twenty cards or so I paused to refocus and think of what else I wanted to accomplish. I ended up making it to 88 cards in just over an hour, calling it there to reflect on what I’d come up with and to organize.
I waited a few hours before organizing, glancing over the long list of my desires and wishes laid bare on my bedroom wall, put out of my mind and onto paper for the first time in my life. While the list is surely incomplete and a reflection only of current desires, it still looked imposing and monumental. At the same time, it brought a lightness to make them more manageable, short scribbles on small colored squares.
I finally settled on ten categories that almost all of the cards could easily fit into: Teach, Learn, Create, Develop, Experience, Manage, Business, Public Life, Finance and Health. Grouping in this way made it a bit easier to see which concerns felt most pressing, and to find a common chain between related goals, such as recommitting myself to jogging and preparing to do half-marathons again. A lot of the learning related to creation or development, so those cards could naturally overlap as well.
The final steps for me were to divide the cards even further into near-term goals (within the next six months), long-term goals, and ongoing goals. I then took the cards and uploaded them to a Trello board, ensuring that they wouldn’t get lost or lose their stick. Plus, I let my boyfriend read over them, but I’d probably be a bit overwhelmed if he and I saw them every day.
I’m attempting not to treat this activity as a once and over deal. I’m slowly moving through this list, making notes as to how I’d go about achieving these goals, and setting some plans into motion. Some of the areas that I identified as pressing was working on my delegation and streamlining of work, so I’ve put the call out for a managerial assistant, am searching for another virtual research assistant, and I’m setting up more general automation tasks.
The point of all of this for me (and writing about it to you), is that I’m trying to consciously change and improve upon some behavior. I’ve often felt I’m working to no end in sight, and I imagine you have as well. Conscious self-reflection is prized in business – take stock in where you’ve been and where you’re going to make better choices. The way that the “personal brand” has taken center stage, we’re all businesses now. Why not pause to reflect on how we can improve the business of us?
Do you take any time to self-reflect, or do you have plans to do so in the near future? Let me know below and maybe we can help one another!