The inventory exercise comes from a video by mental health fitness coach Mark Freeman. He goes into more detail about it in his book but in short, it involves mapping out two things: 1) how you currently spend your time and 2) how you would ideally spend your time. The idea is to gain visibility on where you’re wasting time on compulsions/unhelpful actions, and what you actually value in life. And then take steps to align the two inventories.
I’ve done this at numerous periods during my life, and it’s been helpful to take stock of where my time is going, and also how quickly you can slide back into old habits if you’re not careful.
Here’s my inventory at the beginning of this year. Suffice to say, I was going through a rough time. But nonetheless, very aware of my compulsions and my time disappearing into them.
My inventory just after moving, before I started my job. I remember being extremely pleased with myself as my inventory was finally starting to look the way I wished it would.
And then here’s my most recent inventory, from this week – a few months into this job.
It’s certainly better than it would have been a month ago; however, I’ve fallen very quickly back into compulsions, rumination, and moved away from spending time where I value. It’s been harder working out where to spend time with work – I need to define my values more in that area. Nonetheless, every time I do this exercise I gain a clearer idea of what I actually value and how that translates into values.