“Sometimes it feels like I go to sleep on Sunday evening and wake up three months later.” These words were said by my colleague, but they reflected the feelings that I had about my life. I have lost track of time many times. The longest outage was when I forgot everything besides the work. It lasted for 1.5 years. There were crisis projects, tough deadlines, million responsibilities at the same time, difficulties in life – whatever triggered the moment, when only one thing in life seemed to matter and all the other aspects fell behind.
What I learned in those moments – is the calendar, email and task lists are bad things to keep a good balance in your life. Firstly, they are filled with things that other people want from you. People who do not care or know what is important to you. Secondly, the things that truly matter to you, are usually not added to these lists at all. They are full of work and daily tasks, but no human relationships, reminders of saying good things to others, or caring. Thirdly, these time management tools put the biggest attention on the biggest time consumers. Is an 8-hour work meeting more important than the 5 minutes that it took to wish your friend a happy birthday? In most cases probably not, but these 8 hours look like the most important thing in your calendar due to the sheer size of the block.
This is where the need for an app like Life became clear. An utterly imbalanced life leads to mental health problems. To break the cycle, three clear areas need to be tackled. First, a person needs honest feedback about the reality of how they live their lives. Up to the cold truth that they have not spent any minute on the hobby that they considered important, or that they have not gone out with friends for months. A person needs to understand where time goes.
Secondly, without having a clear understanding of what matters in your life, every action might mean that you are running in the wrong direction. Giving a hard look into the priorities and values is necessary to put all your actions into context.
Do you really like those activities you do and do they match what you value in life? It took me a year’s worth of hard data to understand what matters to me and to adjust my perspective towards things that mattered to me. Thirdly – the direction towards the right path is never straight. You need feedback and insights on a regular basis. Life does not change in one dramatic turnaround, it changes in small increments, 15 minutes at a time. Checking in regularly and seeing what made your day and how you spent your 168 hours this week is the way how your life starts going in the desired direction.
Some years of development later the app is almost ready. It will start simple – focused on journaling and showing the reports of how you use your time. The other sections will get developed as we go. After 3 years of recording my own activity data and how I feel about the things I do – having good data is the key to everything else, so it is a good place to start also your journey.