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Can You Run Your Life Like A Business?

Introduction
I have organized and executed the details of my daily life for some time now much like you would run a business. This didn't occur suddenly but has slowly evolved over time mostly by the necessity of maintaining my responsibilities and a desire to accomplish my life goals in a timely manner.

I've often debated the pros and cons of this system but I've concluded that it is better than having no system at all.

Pros:

  • Maintains excellent standards by ensuring no balls are dropped
  • Helps budget my income and savings
  • Helps me accomplish my life goals and dreams
  • Helps support a high quality of life by constantly improving my condition
  • Makes me reflect on and explicitly state my purpose in life

Cons:

  • The routine can get old and tiring, once in a while you have to throw it all out
  • Less room for spontaneity
  • Working on large goals can feel overwhelming and exhausting, especially when you aren't making much progress

From The Top
I keep, update and maintain a list of life goals and responsibilities. This is far ranging and as thorough as possible and includes anything from my interest in starting a family, a list of subjects every person should know, a lot of philosophy, life skills and my own life goals and purpose in life. This is not a document I refer to often. But it is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

5 Year Plan
Once a year (around Christmas) I review this document and update it. After that I make a list of items which I feel I've developed and a list of those that are under developed or not developed at all. Those items get turned into a sort of 5 year business plan. I admit it's more of a giant TODO list. I map out what I will accomplish each year for the next 5 years and then the rest of the items are deferred for >5 years.

Yearly Budget
Next I take the upcoming year of the 5 year plan and perform a detailed budget. I break down each goal into steps, nothing too detailed although if it's a project then I'll estimate time, materials and cost. I estimate my disposable income for the year and match that against expected cost for the year's goals. This often involves some horse trading of what I'd like to get done vs what I can afford and what I'll have time for.

Tools Of The Trade
Next step is to take this year's goal list and also referring back to the life goals list of things I have already accomplished and I build a list of tools and resources I will need to maintain my current standard of living. This can be anything from assessing whether it's time to replace an old TV or finding a smartphone app to help keep track of things. If anything is missing I look for a solution and pick it up (often times there is no app or tool for what I'd like to do and have to settle).

Execution
R eflection is over and it's time for execution. The yearly budget/goal list is the reference document for the year. I review it constantly to ensure I am on track and on plan. To ensure that this happens I use two more documents. One is a daily to do list which tracks the benign (and for me easy to forget about) things as well as tasks I'm currently tackling in the plan. I also have a monthly tracker for reviewing longer lead items or things that don't need to be checked on a daily basis. These tend to be almost exclusively maintenance tasks.

Conclusion
I have noticed that the daily and monthly todo list have been monumentally important in helping me accomplish what I want to do with my life. While my speed of execution is about an order of magnitude slower than I had expected I think it's probably better than what it would have been without some organization.

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