Do you want to grow well? Life management is something you should not miss then. Good life management ensures that every aspect of your life grows as it should. Without good life management, it’s easy to leave out some aspects of your personal growth while overemphasizing the others.
Take physical exercise for example. Once you stop exercising, you might be surprised to see, six months later, how much time have passed since your last exercise. Or take reading book. It’s easy to let months pass by without finishing a single book.
How can we overcome this problem? How can we better manage our life? Peter Drucker gave us a great answer:
What gets measured gets managed.
While the statement is originally intended for companies, I believe it’s equally true for individuals. If you want to get something managed in your life, you should measure it.
Why Measuring Works
There are several reasons why what gets measured gets managed:
1. When you measure something, you bring your attention to it
This is the first benefit you get by measuring something. How can you manage something if you don’t even pay attention to it? By measuring something you direct your attention there.
2. When you measure something, you know where you are
Sometimes we don’t realize the severity of a problem we have until we see the facts. That’s why measuring something is important. It helps you see the truth of where you actually are. In personal finance, for instance, it’s easy to think that you already live wisely. Only after you see your income and expenses by numbers might you realize that you have problem. This realization in turn gives you the motivation to do something about it.
3. When you measure something, you see your progress
Not only can measuring help you know where you are, it also helps you see your progress. You will see whether or not you have done the right thing and – if you do – whether or not you have done enough. Seeing how far you’ve gone also motivates you to keep moving forward.
How to Measure Your Life
We have seen the reasons why measuring something gets it managed. Now how should we measure our life? Here are some guidelines that I use:
1. Make it balanced
If you want to have a balanced life, you should balance the aspects of life you manage. My favorite way of doing this is through the four facets of prosperity: physical, spiritual, social, and financial. Measuring each of them ensures that your life gets managed in all four areas.
Of course, it may be too difficult to start on all four facets at once. In that case, you can start with just one facet and then add the others one by one as you become more comfortable with measuring your life.
2. Keep it simple
Unlike companies who can afford to do complicated measurement, individuals are unlikely to stick with measurement if it’s complicated. That’s why you need to keep it as simple as possible. The simpler it is, the more likely you will stick with it in the long term.
3. Carefully choose what to measure
You need to choose the right things to measure or you risk managing the wrong things. The four facets of prosperity gives you the areas of life to measure but you need to be more specific within each. For example, what kind of metrics do you think best represent your physical prosperity? Finding the right metrics is not easy and it requires experiments. Just start with something and keep refining it along the way.
4. Carefully decide how to measure
If you have chosen what to measure, you should then carefully decide how to measure it. As I wrote above, the simpler it is, the more likely you will stick with it. Here are three ways to measure something in your life:
a. Habit checklist
Make a list of things you want to do regularly – either daily, weekly, or other intervals – and put a check when you’ve done it. Of course, you need to be specific with the kind of activity you want to do. For example, you can make a habit checklist for rising at 6 am. Whenever you achieve it, you can put a tick on your checklist.
b. Time-constrained goals
Make a list of goals you want to achieve in certain period of time and write whether or not you achieve it. Also write down how much you actually achieve so you can compare your progress with your goal. For example, if your goal is reading four books in a month, you can write down how many books you have actually read and compare it with your goal.
c. Activity record
Record your activities in certain period of time to see where you are. For example, you may record all your income and expenses so that you can see your current financial position. You can then move further by creating a budget and thereby creating time-constrained goals.
5. Keep experimenting
Measuring your life is a process that needs to be refined over time. So keep experimenting. Assess the effectiveness of your measurement and improve those that can be improved. Keep finding the right things to measure and the right way to measure them. The important thing is to start measuring aspects of your life. That’s how you have good life management.
What do you think? Do you have thoughts or ideas about managing life?
Photo by aussiegall
Keep a log of all things that you do and categorize them into buckets. Next step would be to prioritize these activities according to your needs. Do weekly and monthly reviews of your actions and devise improvement plans as necessary.
I wish you a successful and happy life!
I find your article great – it only reminds me on the “Mismatch Problem”.
(Malcolm Gladwell about the mismatch problem: http://www.newyorker.com/online/video/conference/2008/gladwell)
Nice tip 🙂 It reminds me of a related tip: batching. After you categorize the tasks into buckets, you can pick one bucket and finish as many tasks as possible in it. Since the tasks are similar, there is low switching costs between them.
I wish you a happy life too!
I’ve never heard about mismatch problem before. I haven’t watched the video you mentioned but I read a short article about it (http://kottke.org/08/05/gladwell-on-the-mismatch-problem).
Mismatch problem is definitely something to keep in mind when measuring life. Otherwise, we may measure the wrong things and manage life the wrong way. Thanks for letting me know about it!
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I think it all goes back to be aware of what we are doing and living life more consciously. Thanks for the reminder!
Life is too short. We want to accomplish and do a lot of things. Moreover, we want to be successful with the things we do. I totally agree with the first guideline on how to measure life: MAKE IT BALANCE. We often hear this advise but we tend to ignore it because frankly it is hard to do. Nevertheless, it is always worth to try.
This article helps us understand life better. Thank you for sharing it with us
Balance is something we should aim from the beginning. Otherwise, we may take our life to the wrong direction and waste a lot of time in the process.
Thanks Donald! I hope I could always follow the number 1 tip.
[…] if you have numbers that clearly show you how you were (after all, measuring your life is a good life management practice). For instance, what was your income, expenses, net worth, or […]
[…] Life Management Principles: What Gets Measured Gets Managed @ Life Optimizer […]
I discovered this site just recently and I find it so helpful. Since then, I assigned this site as my homepage.
I am a little bit worried about measuring things and confront the reality. But it’s not late. I hope I will be courageous enough to continue and be successful despite the not so good measures currently. Thank you very very much for this eye opener post.
Just discovered the site. Was setting up a revised structure to manage all aspects of my own life and looking for help in a matrix sense. Looks good .. I yet have to read the history. Just let me, as an oldie underline the importance of keeping it easy to do. Always keep to simple structures until good habits are well formed. A trick I’ve used for years may also help … I used to find myself falling off the plan and having to go back and review it. So I have an audio record of the key points and affirmations on my cellphone (used to be a tape recorder lol) and listen to them before getting out of bed each day. A second recording can be used for short term task or project reminders. This practice helps to solve the problem of balance too … all key foci are sparked each morning. Do it easy…and remember to involve your sub-conscious in your plans … it can get a bit stubborn if you don’t!
start to give imp to your self. becouse if u r here then the world and society is valid for u. and start loving your self then u can love any one else. the bigesst imp responsibilty god give u that is make your life happy becouse u get life only once. plz friend keep smile becouse all is well
guy like me i naver take my life serious,but gets measured gets managed.really impressed me.
thnx for helping people.mob.002309275210
I was recently thinking about life management. I wrote down life management system.
First thing was a budget, easy, how much you make/spend.
Then goals. Wrote a filibuster of all goals I desired to accomplish and by when in outline form. Then list all tasks required to accomplish goals. A time management system could be used to track and measure progress. the Franklin day planner has a good system for this where you set up a to do list and schedule tasks from the list. If a task isn’t completed that day it automaticaly goes to next day and is on your list until accomplished. Basically you spend 15 minutes at the start of the day deciding what tasks you want to complete.
Lastly I thought, some of the management can be tedious, especially if your easily distracted. I’m trying to act as though I am a manager, managing my life from a third party view. Like, ok, what would a manager do?
such TIPs are always helpful and i started the four facets and i hope i could implement all. i am thank full for such great WebSites.
Bless you, I’m so. Bless with your principles, I believe they given by God and may God greatly increase your knowledge. Please be free to send me information through my mail at any time.
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