How to do a legacy audit

‘Accountability breeds response-ability.’  Steven R. Covey

Creating legacy and keeping yourself accountable

Creating legacy is deeply connected to our ability to hold ourselves accountable for the way in which we use our daily time allowance. I know that whenever I forget to hold myself accountable for the way in which I am using my time, I fall back into short-term thinking and start neglecting my legacy projects.

Over time, to make sure I no longer forget about keeping myself accountable, I have started using something called a legacy audit. I schedule the legacy audit into my diary, as if it was a meeting with someone else – in fact, it is a meeting with myself. By scheduling this audit into my diary on a regular basis, I ensure that I have enough time left in my day for my legacy projects, no matter what else is happening in my life.

What the legacy audit consists of

The audit consists of asking yourself  the following three questions below:

1) Am I working efficiently? (I ask this question separately for my legacy projects, and then for anything else I have to take care of)

2) Have I got too much work outside of my legacy projects?

3) Have I allowed myself enough time and resources to complete  each of my legacy projects? If not, what steps should I take to remedy this?

The importance of doing the legacy audit regularly

By asking myself the audit questions on a regular basis, I am able to address most problems as they arise, instead of waiting for them to escalate to the point where I have to stop everything else I am doing in order to resolve them. Of course, there are times when I miss something during the legacy audit, or when the questions uncover certain unncessary things I am doing on a daily basis but I enjoy them too much to give up on them etc.

For example, I have developed the bad habit of checking my web stats on this blog on a daily basis, instead of every two weeks as originally planned. I know checking the stats every day leads to extra work that is simply redundant, but it’s one of these little things that gives me pleasure so I am finding it difficult to let go.

But overall, undertaking the legacy audit helps me see the big picture, and allows me to address any problems as they arise.

How to introduce the legacy audit procedure into your life

It is probably best if you start off by doing the legacy audit every month, so you allow yourself enough time to see patterns in your use of time while not leaving it too long. If you are using a task diary, you can just schedule in a legacy audit one month from now and see how it goes.

I also started doing the legacy audit every month, but I am now finding that every two weeks is more appropriate, as I have more things happening and need to keep track.

My legacy audits usually take just under half an hour, but I am sure they can be a lot shorter than that if necessary.

It doesn’t really matter how long you take answering the audit questions for yourself – what matters is that you try to answer them as truthfully as possible, and that you do the legacy audit on a regular basis.

What about you?

What systems do you have in place to keep yourself accountable? How do you ensure that you don’t schedule too much work into your day? I’d love to read about your ideas in the comments section.

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Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at www.alexaispas.com