Ah summer! Just saying the word brings vivid images of sunshine, relaxation and enjoying time with friends and family. But life and work don’t come to a halt just because the weather is nicer. In fact, in some cases it gets even busier.
When life is busy, or all your energy is focused on a special project, it’s all too easy to find yourself off balance, not paying enough attention to important areas of your life. While you need to have drive, and focus if you’re going to get things done, taking this too far can lead to frustration and intense stress.
The fact is, most of us are not good at creating a work-life balance state of being. Many of us struggle with over committing either in our work or in our life, which can impact our personal relationships, our commitments, and lead to feelings of burnout, stress and overwhelm.
So how do we bring things back into balance? We need to step away from being in our life to taking a “helicopter view” of our life so we can see things more clearly. The Wheel of Life, a tool commonly used by coaches, helps you consider each area of your life in turn and assess what’s off balance. As such, it helps you identify areas that need more attention.
The Wheel of Life is powerful because it gives you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you’d ideally like it to be. It is called the “Wheel of Life” because each area of your life is mapped on a circle, like the spoke of a wheel. The concept was originally created by Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation® Institute, Inc. Click below to download your personal copy of the Wheel of Life.
Using the Tool
- Review the 8 areas on the Wheel of Life. The Wheel must, when put together, create a view of a balanced life for you. If necessary, you can split categories to add in something that is missing for you. You can also re-label an area so that it is more meaningful for you. The usual suspects are:
- Partner/Significant Other/Romance
- Health (emotional/physical/fitness/nutrition/well-being)
- Physical Environment/Home
- Personal Growth/Learning/Self-development
- Spiritual well-being (not necessarily religion – can be sense of self)
- Others could include security, service, leadership, integrity, achievement or community.
- Think about what success feels like for each area.
- Now, rank your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by drawing a line across each segment. Place a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied) against each area to show how satisfied you are currently with these elements in your life.
- The new perimeter of the circle represents your ‘Wheel of Life’. Ask yourself, “Is it a bumpy ride?”
- Now, looking at the wheel, here are some questions to ask yourself and take the exercise deeper:
- Are there any surprises for you?
- How do you feel about your life as you look at your Wheel?
- How do you currently spend time in these areas?
- How would you like to spend time in these areas?
- Which of these elements would you most like to improve?
- How could you make space for these changes?
- Can you effect the necessary changes on your own?
- What help and cooperation from others might you need?
- What would make that a score of 10?
- What would a score of 10 look like?
Now you have a visual representation of your current life balance. You can repeat the exercise thinking about what you’d like your ideal life balance to be. What are the gaps? These are the areas of your life that need attention.
And remember that gaps can go both ways. There are almost certain areas that are not getting as much attention as you’d like. However, there may also be areas where you’re putting in more effort than you’d ideally like. These areas are sapping energy and enthusiasm that may better be directed elsewhere.
Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it’s time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance. Starting with the neglected areas, what things do you need to start doing to regain balance? In the areas that currently sap your energy and time, what can you stop doing or reprioritize or delegate to someone else? Make a commitment to these actions by writing them down using the following as a guide.
|Things I will START doing to regain balance in my life||Things I will STOP doing, reprioritize or delegate|