Happiness Audit

Happiness is a huge pain. Everyone wants more of it but few know how to actively work to gain it. There are a lot of short terms actions you can take to have it (vacations, money, ice cream, etc.) but how are you supposed to sustain a high level of happiness?

This is a hard problem. In fact, sustaining happiness may even be the hardest problem people face. So how do you start to solve this problem? For me, the first step was to audit my current level of happiness and then adjusting accordingly.

What is a Happiness Audit?

A happiness audit is a personalized mental tool for measuring your happiness. It requires asking yourself questions about how your current day-to-day actions are aligned with what makes you happy.

The content of the audit will be different for every person but the format will be the same.

Example Happiness Audit:

Every fourth Sunday, I take five minutes out of my day to ask myself the following questions. If my answer to any of these is no for too many weeks in a row, I know I am going in the wrong direction to meet my happiness goals. In that way, these five minutes become some of the most important time I spend every month.

  1. Is your work contributing to a greater good?
  2. Are your daily tasks making you a better entrepreneur?
  3. Are your daily tasks making you a better person?
  4. Are you inspiring others?
  5. Are you still making enough business connections, where making the connections outweigh the cons of working at your position?
  6. Are you making more money than you could at any other job that you could reasonably get?
  7. Are you working hours that leave time for personal growth?
  8. Are you able to make a name for yourself given your current position in the company? (Public facing position)

This Theory Is Nice But How Do I Actually Use This?

Simply asking these questions isn’t enough. You need to act on them. This is hard part.

I solve this by actually going over my happiness audit with my boss. We sit down in a conference room and together I walk through each question. (If you think your job is too corporate for this behavior, consider the fact that I started this processed when I worked at AT&T.) We then use the answers to these questions to influence which projects I take on and which ones I gracefully decline.

This means that my happiness audit actually dictates how I spend my working hours. Think about the importance of that. My happiness dictates my work, not the other way around. If I am unhappy for too long, I simply take on different projects.

What Happens If You Answer Is No For Too Long?

Think of your happiness audit like a personal compass. If your life is going south and you want to go north, it is time to make some difficult decisions. Changing direction isn’t easy but the times I have recalibrated, have ended up being the best decisions of my life.

Next Step:

Now is the perfect time to write your own happiness audit. Feel free to use mine as an example and customize it to your needs. You don’t have to get it perfect the first time, you can and should change it over time.

Once you have your first version, schedule out a time once a month to review it. It only takes five minutes and can change your life. Get started right now, happiness awaits :-)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • So how happy you are today Danny? I have come up with my little task list of what makes me happy and when i do these tasks i feel happy and satisfied. I have discovered that just by doing any or all of these tasks i can be happy every day. Off course achieving goals bring a new level of joy but then their is more joy in the journey than the destination. So achieving macro goals is lot more satisfying for me. The idea of Happiness Auditing is awesome :)

    • Hey Himanshu!

      “So how happy you are today Danny?”

      I am perhaps the happiest I have ever been. (Details to come in a blog post I am writing about quantifying happiness.)

      ” I have come up with my little task list of what makes me happy and when i do these tasks i feel happy and satisfied. I have discovered that just by doing any or all of these tasks i can be happy every day.”

      Interesting, are the task small activities (like eating ice cream) or bigger ideas (like laughing more).

      I’d love to hear more :-)

      Cheers!

  • It was actually micro goals.

  • Milo

    Would settle for a fatter wallet, thinner belly, more hair and a bigger …..

    • Many times happiness is more complicated than that :-)

  • Sal

    Danny, first of all your Life is inspiring. I’m ready to launch my Life into a Life of no Regret. I know, I know one step at a time. I’ve been following you a few years before you began working with At&t. I too work with At&t Advertising Solutions and have noticed the positive impact you’ve made on the site. Although I can’t say I successfully dodged the bullet nor had the opportunity of pitching the product you are great at (hopefully you get what I’m getting at) I can say that my Journey out of Corporate America 4′ x 8′ cubicle an no windows to see how beautiful the world is, is getting ready to begin.

    I’m looking forward to Living my Life by design and putting together my Life Listed list. Do you have a template you can share or can i simply create it in Word format?

    Thanks a Million

    • Hey Sal,

      Great to hear from you! It sounds like you are moving in a great direction :-) If you are still in the area, shoot me an e-mail and let’s grab lunch/drinks.

      I don’t have a template but I have found that the format I am using for my list on this site (http://www.lifelisted.com/life-list/) is working well. The dividing into categories makes the logistics (where and when) much easier.

      I use that as my master guide and OmniFocus to manage my day-to-day.

      I hope that helps and good luck on your journey!

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  • Hey Danny,

    Great post! Big fan of what you’re doing here. I made the decision to change my life 3 years ago when I moved 1500 miles from my hometown. I made a lot of progress, but we all still find some obstacles along the way. Your work has been inspirational, and it’s helped me to see some other paths that could help me continue my personal growth and development. Keep up the good work!

    -Crew

    • Wow! That fantastic Crew :-)

      Like many things Happiness can be a journey not a destination. Keep on making progress! :-)

  • I’ve answered YES to most of the questions, and even otherwise… I’m pretty happy with my life. I do have a corporate job, but it’s not ruining my life or anything. It pays enough for me to be able to travel to at least a couple of new places every year, and researching new places and planning out trips (and helping others plan their vacations) keep me going while I’m home-bound.

    But I do feel like I need a change of scenery though. Let’s see…

    • Congrats, than you are living life well. :-) If your job is providing you with all of the value that you need than more power to you! Just like you implied, the fact that something is corporate doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad.

      …I like the cliff hanger :-) I am eager to hear more!

  • Easily could be the coolest and most inspiration blog I’ve found so far. Seriously!

    • Thanks Greg!

      Let me know if you find anything else that you find value. Happiness is always something that can improve.

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