To get the most of your life, it is important to see how your life is doing. While you can do it at the micro level by looking at your single day or week, it is even more important to see it at the macro level. As I’ve written in Vision – The First Step of Life Optimization, all of us should have a vision, a life purpose, that will guide our whole life and provide measurement of our productivity. The macro level view will allow us to see how our life is doing to meet that vision. Have we done good enough? Or years just pass by without anything significant?

To answer these questions myself, I create “life map” which shows how my life is doing at years level. I just make a simple one. Maybe next time I will think about creating a more complex one, but for now I’m just interested in making a simple one. Anyway, simpler is better, right?

So here’s what I do: I write down several recent years in my life and simply divide each year into two parts, semester 1 and 2 (you can use any other kind of division if you like). Then I write the important events in each semester regarding my life, which are my “life milestones”.

Here is an example:
2005
Semester 1
Passing Microsoft Certified Professional exam.
Semester 2
Starting blog in personal development.
2006
Semester 1
Starting writing book on personal development.
Semester 2
Publishing my first book on personal development.

That’s just an example, not my real life map (I’ll be glad if I already have a book to publish :)). But I think the idea is clear: simply write the important events in your life. Of course, the definition of “important” here can be different for each person. So simply write the events which are important for you.

This life map enables you to get a bird-eye view of your life and how your life is doing. With this bird-eye view, you can see:

  1. Whether or not you have wisely used your years
    I think this is probably the most useful thing I can get from the life map. Personally I can see that I have underutilized my recent years. People often talk about not wasting a day, but here we are talking about wasting years! How bad is that? Fortunately, this life map can give me clear warning so I can avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. The same thing applies to you. Using the life map you can clearly see whether you have wisely used your years or not.
  2. Where you should go next
    Since you now get the big picture, it is easier to see where you should go next. You are looking at the whole path you have passed, so it is easier to guess where the next step should be. It will help you plan your current and coming years better.

It’s simple, right? It won’t take you much time to create such kind of map. Yet this simple practice of making a life map can prevent you from wasting not just days and weeks, but years.

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Categories: Purpose, Time management

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