Abraham Lincoln said “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” For too many of us in the business community, life takes a back seat to work. There is a struggle we all must work through regarding life/work balance. Without a plan and a focused effort to address this battle, we will default to the world’s answer of work. So it is critical that we all develop a plan that can help keep us accountable and focused on what we say is important so our time is spent appropriately and wisely. Without a plan, we will wake up one day and wonder where life has gone.
For many, a Life Plan is a very new concept. A life plan needs to answer the question of “why did I get up this morning?” or “what is my purpose in life?” Far too often people get to the end of life and become aware that they have spent their entire working time focused on things that really were not the most important to them. But the cruel reality of time is that once it is spent, it can never be used again.
Each of us is granted 168 hours each week. A life plan should dictate how those hours are used. Every activity or interaction a person makes should go through the funnel of a life plan to assure each minute is spent on things that align with the real priorities and objectives a person has for their life. Without a plan, each of us will wake up someday and wonder where all our time has gone and how we missed the chance to live focused on the things that really matter. For many, this may be the first time they have addressed these deep philosophical questions personally, and even more often, the first time they have discussed them with their spouse, business partners, or other important people in their lives. But what could be more important than identifying how I want my life to count and what I should spend my time on?
In many ways, a life plan is very similar to a leadership plan. However, the focus is not related to business, but to our own personal goals and objectives. There are three key areas that need to be addressed:
- 1. Commitments – specific areas that align with life goals and stated objectives you wish to achieve through your life
- 2. Execution plan – how you will achieve the commitments you have with specific steps, milestones, and dependencies
- 3. Accountabilities – how you will measure success and to whom you will be accountable
There are a number of areas in which you may wish to set life goals, but here are a few to consider in order to get things started:
You can add or delete areas you wish to define as life commitments, but the key is to make a list and become accountable. This is best done by sharing them with your spouse and family so they can be part of the discussion, decisions, and accountability loop. I also recommend you include a “Bucket List” of activities you wish to achieve before your time on earth ends. This should be shared, updated, and kept top of mind so you can work toward reaching those goals and keep focused on spending your time where it matters most.