Lifestyle self-audit part 1

slide2This is the part where you review aspects of your lifestyle to become aware of what you’re doing, or not doing, that may be causing you stress and reducing your effectiveness in the workplace.

By the way, there are no right or wrong answers. What we’re doing is looking at information so that you can make informed choices. Nobody is perfect at any of this stuff but the more aware you are of what you’re doing, the better placed you’ll be to make those informed choices that may not only improve your productivity but your lifestyle outcomes as well.

Health and fitness


Write down your vital statistics: age; height; weight; waist measurement. Enter ‘body weight’ into your search engine of choice and use one of the online calculators to determine your ideal weight, and then do some research to see what that means for you.

Record the results of your research. Remember, this document is classified: For Your Eyes Only.


Take a look at your profile in the mirror the next time you’re naked. What’s your honest assessment:

  • Trim, Taut and Terrific,
  • Fat, Flabby and Floppy, or
  • Somewhere in between?

Need some help deciding? Would you post that image on Facebook?

So, what’s the verdict on your body weight:

  • Underweight
  • Within acceptable range, or
  • Overweight?

And, what’s the verdict on your body image:

  • Terrific,
  • Could use some work, or
  • Could use a lot of work?

Analysing your data

Do you need to lose some weight? Do you need to get fit?

There are only two real options for addressing weight issues: changing your diet and exercise.

If you’re within the acceptable range for your age, keep doing what you’re doing. But, if you’re in one of the other categories, consider making some changes to your diet and exercise regime. You might want to consult with a physician before embarking on any exercise if you’ve been a couch potato for a while, but most of us can start simply by increasing the amount of walking we do every day.

1 (7)Food and other things you swallow 

Keep a log of what you put into your mouth for a week. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? But be warned, you’ll probably find this more of a challenge than keeping a time log, because of the greater temptation to cheat. You need to resist that and record everything you eat, drink or put into your mouth, including all those things that you know aren’t good for you.

Get yourself a small note book and carry it with you for the week. Write down everything you put into your mouth.

Analysing your data


  • How much of what you eat is fresh food? By fresh food, let’s agree we mean stuff that doesn’t come in a packet, bottle, tin or plastic container.
  • How much of what you eat is processed food? That’s the stuff that does not meet our definition for fresh food.

Now, here’s the kicker that goes with that one. What’s actually in that processed food you’re eating? Ever read the labels? Some of those ingredients with the fancy scientific names are there to stop the food deteriorating. Some are there simply for their taste adding features. Several of those ingredients are commonly known as sugars, which are suspected of contributing to both the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics sweeping the parts of the world consuming the western diet. Type ’sugar in food’ into your search engine of choice to read both sides of the sugar argument, and think about how much sugar you’re probably consuming without realising it.

If you’re overweight, you’ll need to make some changes to your diet if you want to lose weight and feel more energetic. The weight loss mantra used to be: eat less, walk more. If you take a look at what they’re saying these days, it’s not so much about eating less but eating consciously or being more aware of what you’re actually putting into your body.

If you need to make changes to your diet, don’t go on a diet. You’ll be better off if you make some informed choices about what you eat, and decide to make a lifestyle change to eating healthier food, and not a short term effort to lose weight.

Brain chemistry

  • How much alcohol are you consuming daily? Weekly?
  • What other substances are you putting into your system that mess with your brain chemistry?
  • Are you still smoking, despite all the health warnings?

If you’re consuming substances like alcohol and drugs that mess with your brain chemistry, there really are only two viable options if you want to increase your productivity: abstinence and moderation.

If you’re taking recreational drugs or dabbling in narcotics, you might want to ask yourself why, and spend some time with your answer or excuse.

There are other ways of coping with stress that don’t mess with your brain chemistry. One way is meditation. Another is running. You don’t have to poison yourself. You have choices.

This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.

Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Who? Me?

When you’re aware of your behaviour – you can do something about it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a criminal or a politician, if you have no awareness of how your behaviour impacts on your outcomes, you will continue blindly on your way to prison or losing your seat.

If you’re in a relationship, continuing to ignore that your behaviour is impacting the quality of that relationship is an almost certain guarantee that relationship will fail – particularly if the other party is acutely aware of your behavioural imperfections. By the way, it doesn’t matter whether the relationship is a romantic or a business partnership.


Most of us are self-absorbed, which I suspect is the default human position. Self-absorption allows you to look after your own interests, to push your own wheelbarrow regardless of the obstacles on your path. A little self-absorption is, no doubt, good for you. Total self-absorption is a recipe for disaster in a world based on relationships.

Who, me?

Image by rafael H. |

Slow down and observe yourself.

One way to become more self-aware is to slow down and pay attention to the way people respond to you.

Do people ignore you? Are they afraid of you? Do they resent your intrusions? These are not good signs if you notice them. On the other hand, if people welcome your participation, willingly work with you and want to be around you, it’s probably a good idea to continue doing what you’re doing.

It’s also a good idea to reflect on what it is that you are doing that elicits whatever response you get from others. A little reflective downtime can help you identify behaviours that work, and others that may need some work.

Ask questions.

Another way to get an idea of how your behaviour impacts others is to ask them.

If you manage other people, you know how easy it is to be critical of their behavioural shortcomings. Well, guess what? Other people have been making their own assessments of your behaviour. Asking them how they see you is one way of finding out if you need to consider making a few changes. This one requires a little emotional maturity and a willingness to be vulnerable.

You might get a shock or a surprise. But, it won’t kill you unless you choose to die of embarrassment.

In my opinion, it’s better to risk a moment of embarrassment than to continue blindly on being an embarrassment to everybody around you.

IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, and Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.