• Joumana Elomar

The Wheel of Life

When work gets busy, it can be easy to pull back on other parts of our lives. Sometimes carving out more time for our career can be exactly what we want. But other times it just happens. How many of us have cancelled a catch-up with a friend or skipped a workout to smash out a project?


When inertia kicks in, we can find ourselves with a lifestyle that we don't want. We become so busy doing that we never stop to ask: "Is this really what I want?". It can even lead to burnout, career stagnation or a loss of purpose. So how do we check in and ensure we're on the path we desire?


What is it

The Wheel of Life is a visual framework that helps us assess our priorities. We map how we currently spend our time vs. how we'd ideally like to spend our time. This helps us decide if we're living in line with the life we want, or if there are certain areas where we can do more or less in.


Here's what it looks like:


How does it work?


STEP 1

We identify 6-8 areas that are important to us.

  • We can use the default: Career, Social, Spiritual, Health, Hobbies, Relationships

  • Or we can make it role-specific e.g. Designer, Collaborator, Daughter, Student, Runner

  • Or we can make specific categories e.g. Gym, Work, Growth, Friendship, Prayer, Volunteering

  • If you're indecisive, just roll with the default. You can always refine it later!


STEP 2

We draw each axis and five concentric rings.

Note: It doesn't have to be perfect, just on any piece of paper will do!


STEP 3

We map out where we're spending our time.

  • Each ring has a time attached to it.

  • From the inner to outer ring: 0 (centre), 10hrs, 20hrs, 40hrs, 60hrs, 80hrs.

  • On each axis, we mark where we sit in terms of hours.

STEP 4

We connect the dots. And then we have the shape of where you're spending your time!


STEP 5

Now we do the same for how we'd ideally like to spend our time.

  • Reflect on each area

  • Mark the spots in a different colour pen

  • Be realistic about it!


STEP 6

After we draw the two shapes, we can see how we're spending our time vs. how we'd ideally like to spend our time. This draws our attention to the areas where we can bring more balance back.


e.g. Maybe we want to invest more time in health, so we decide to exercise 3x a week or set stricter boundaries with clocking off work. Or maybe we want to improve our social network, so we might say no to a new project and spend more time with friends.


Tying it up

The Wheel of Life helps us assess what's important to us. It helps us decide which areas we can pull back on or invest more time into. As what we prioritise changes over time, it's not always self-evident unless we self-assess. While it can be easy to let inertia decide our path for us, reviewing our lives every month, or three months, or six months can help us spend more time where it matters.

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