Life handbook???

Over the holiday season, I was perusing some of my favorite blogs and came across an interesting post on divine caroline entitled “Thirty Ways to Live a Life of Excellence,” which was full of great ideas that were useful, and timely given the 2011 new year resolutions. One in particular stood out to me and has had me pondering and chewing on it for the last few days – a life handbook.

The idea is to create a handbook to store everything in one place – my life purpose, vision, long-term and short-term goals, and plans to achieve them, success, dreams, other plans, mottos, values, inspirational quotes, ideals, daily/weekly/monthly to do lists, annual budget – everything.

Fascinating idea! My interest was understandably peaked and in wanting to know more, I was lead to the Create Your Life Handbook post on the Personal Excellence Blog where I learned that a life handbook is your own personal manual – and that sounds like just what I need for 2011!

More often than not in my travels I come across quotes or blurbs that move me, touch me, inspire and motivate me and I wish I had one central spot to store them. More than once I wished I had a place where I could outline my long and short-term goals along with a strategy/plan on achieving them through “to do” lists. I am pragmatic and analytical and lists are my friends. And right now, I have them stored here and there electronically with a few dozen scratched out in pen on this piece of paper or in that notepad. To have one, central repository – why didn’t I think of that!!?!?!

I like the idea of having a digital version for the ease of organization and editing. I am BFF with Excel and Word so that doesn’t intimidate me but I also love the idea of going out, shopping for a gloriously gorgeous hard copy journal that speaks to me upon sight to create a beautiful rendition of Natalie’s Life Handbook. I can see myself filling it with pen scratches and iteration after iteration of ideals and goals. There’s something about seeing the growth of the journey scratched out in ink (although god help my hand writing). Eeeeekeeee….which to choose???

Some key sections/ideas:

  1. Life purpose/vision/mission
  2. Core values and beliefs
  3. Strengths and improvement areas
  4. Life adages and inspirations
  5. Dates of note (birthdays/adventures etc)
  6. Annual Budget
  7. Life goals: Long-term (5, 3, 1 year) and short-term (monthly/weekly) goals
  8. Plans/lists to achieve the goals
  9. Accomplishments – as acquired
  10. Bucket List

The only downside I foresee for this new project would be the time management issue. How would I fit in creating the handbook, updating and maintaining while achieving my other goals, and especially my writing goals? Is this just something else that would sit on a shelf once done only to collect dust (virtual or real)? Or would this be the foundation of finally staying on track; creating a consciously driven lifestyle and therefore, a worthwhile time investment? It’s hard to say. My instinct tells me this is a great idea and could become an invaluable tool, if I invest in it and then use it – that being key!

In my professional life, I use a book similar to this ideal. It’s a hard cover, ring notepad (8X10) and I put everything in it – tasks, long-term and short-term goals, meeting notes, ideas, brainstorming sessions etc. It’s not sorted by any theme or idea in particular, no sections, other than being in chronological order. I know many people do the same thing electronically through Outlook and tasks but there’s something about my hard copy book that I love and that works for me. It keeps me on track, helps me prioritize week to week, enables me to store everything pertinent in one spot, and allows me to plan efficiently. When I am work, I am rarely seen without it, and to be honest, I’d be lost without it. And since it’s hard copy, I never have to worry about it “crashing”!

Interesting…hmmmm…maybe I do have a track record of making good use of a something similar to the life handbook.

I feel like this year more than ever I have this craving, an unbelievable urge, to get ORGANIZED across all facets of my life. My writing life is haphazard; my healthy lifestyle is completely hit and miss; and some of my relationships (including the one with myself) are not quite where I’d like them to be. Maybe it’s exactly what I need to kick off my 2011 life plan!

What are your thoughts? Ever used a life handbook?



  1. Life handbook seems like a wonderful idea.

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