Note: This “review” is not intended to replace the book. All quotes and concepts are credited to the authors and publisher.
As the opposite of constant drifting in life, it’s time that you take responsibility and Living Forward is all about that. This book is for you if you really seek a deeper meaning in your life. It goes far beyond simple goal setting; it encourages you to create a plan for all aspects of life.
The authors provide compelling evidence that having a plan, what day call a Life Plan, is the perfect way to fight drifting.
I liked the opening of the book that provides a very nice narrative of how the authors recognized the importance of having a plan. The authors define the Life Plan as
A living document that you will tweak and adjust as necessary for the rest of your life.
At the heart of your Life Plan, there’re your Life Accounts…
Your Life Accounts
The authors introduce the term Life Account: you have multiple Life Accounts and they represent the “overall status in your life.” The point is that you should have a positive balance on your accounts.
People have a positive account balance when they experience both passion and progress.
Your Life Accounts change over time and are unique to you. The authors propose that you identify your Life Accounts, prioritize them, and then assemble your Life Plan accordingly. They suggest that you create seven to twelve accounts representing the different areas of your life.
As a good starting point, the authors propose the following nine Life Accounts:
- Avocational (hobbies)
- Vocational (job)
The Life Assessment Profile is an online tool that helps you get a picture of your current balances. You just answer a few questions and then get a nice graphic about your Life Accounts.
Anatomy of Life Accounts
Each Life Account comes with the proposed structure of:
- Purpose Statement
- Envisioned Future
- Inspiring quote (optional)
- Current Reality
- Specific Commitments
Begin with defining your Purpose Statement that aligns with your ultimate values in the given Life Account. You then envisage your future as if it were in the present. Your Current Reality pictures your present conditions. Finally, under the Specific Commitments, you list the specific goals that bring you closer to your Envisioned Future.
Now that you understand the concept, it’s time to build your very own Life Plan…
Hyatt & Harkavy seriously recommend that you
Schedule a day within the next two weeks to create your Life Plan.
Why? The tighter the schedule, the more likely is that you assemble your Life Plan. They propose that you carefully prepare for your special day: schedule your time-off, go away from your family and office surroundings, and be offline to ensure that you set yourself up for successful planning.
The authors argue that dedicating a full day to your life is well worth the price. After all, you’re creating your Life Plan!
It’s one thing that you have a written plan; another thing is living your Life Plan. But, luckily, the authors don’t let us alone with our journey…
They provide three techniques to keep us on track:
- Triaging our calendar
- Scheduling our priorities
- Saying no to more requests
Triaging means that you consider either deleting or rescheduling your calendar items and do the tasks only that need to be done. The triaging technique helps you to pause and reflect: if a task doesn’t resonate with your Life Plan, you may delete or reschedule it.
The authors propose that you schedule your priorities both on an annual (“Annual Time Block”) and a weekly (“Ideal Week”) level. You can get your free templates as Excel spreadsheets by visiting livingforwardbook.com.
Finally, learning to say no serves as the backbone of productivity, and the Life Plan is no exception.
To ensure that you stay on track, Hyatt & Harkavy suggest that you conduct a review of your Life Plan on a weekly, quarterly, and annual basis. The weekly review is a short reflection on your plan when you ask what went wrong, what the wins are, and what can be changed. The quarterly and yearly reviews are more in-depth approaches when you really must dive deep into your plan and fine-tune your system.
This book promises that it will literally change your life. I seriously think that the authors did a great job and they’re on a mission to make the world a better place.
If you want to create your Life Plan or increase your motivation, you might find these resources helpful:
- Here’s an amazing interview with Daniel Harkavy, co-author of the book. It’s so motivating that I listened to it at least two times.
- You’ll find bonus materials complementing the book at livingforwardbook.com:
- Life Plan examples
- Action Plan Guide
- Life Plan Templates
- And more
I’ve done my homework and assembled my Life Plan. Now, it’s your turn!
References: Hyatt, Michael, and Daniel Harkavy. Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. Baker Books, 2016.