Just as important as setting New Year’s resolutions is figuring out how we reach them, and not getting so bogged down in work that we forget to take care of ourselves. On the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, hosted by the journalist Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, co-founder of Tech Lady Mafia, human rights technologist Sabrina Hersi Issa advises scheduling a Personal Inventory Day each month as a way to regularly take stock of where your time is going.
Hersi Issa is the CEO of digital agency Be Bold Media and Venture Partner at Jump Canon, a venture firm for “unconventional, underrepresented and spectacular founders” — so she knows a bit about getting things done (Sow calls her “the most competent human being the world has ever seen”). On the podcast, she emphasises the importance of setting aside time to take stock of where we’re at — not just at the beginning of the year or on our birthday, but each month.
Personal Inventory Days are all about consciously taking stock of how you want to run your life, what your priorities are, and how you get there.
“Whatever I feel like I need to do to keep my life operations tight, I execute on this day,” she says. “Take stock on what you want for yourself, get really honest with yourself, for yourself, and no one else. Be unapologetically focused on what your needs are and write it down. Write down your goals, make a plan, and then put it somewhere accessible you can easily pull up and reference in the future.”
Here’s what she recommends:
- Block off a day on your calendar each month (she picks her birthday day, the 16th) with a recurring event called a Personal Inventory Day.
- Use that day to accomplish the tasks you need done to succeed. That could mean checking your credit score, looking at your savings goals and budget, scheduling doctor’s appointments, or tracking your other resolutions.
- Ask yourself: What did I learn this month? What surprised me and why? What am I grateful for? Who am I grateful for? (Hersi Issa then sends short gratitude notes to the people she’s grateful for.)
- Add tasks you want to tackle on your PID to an Evernote or Google Doc (or old-fashioned pen and paper list) throughout each month so you don’t forget anything important.
- At the end of the year, or on your birthday, review the data you’ve collected from your PIDs. What have you worked on for yourself? What and who are you grateful for? What are you learning and what are you curious about? “Look at where the gaps are between where you are now and where you want to be, and use it as a gauge to what you need to work toward,” she says.
Ultimately a PID is about ensuring you’re on the path you want to be on, and being intentional with your time.
Hersi Issa says it’s a reminder that “I set my own priorities, I run my life. If your dreams are important to you, don’t disrespect them by cramming them into arbitrary new year’s resolutions or birthday deadlines.”
It’s also brought her stress level down and freed up brain space that used to be occupied by worry and doubt.
“You run your life, you set your priorities, and you get to thrive,” she says.