- Label the life wheel with the major elements of your life. Potential labels are career, finance, personal growth, health and fitness, family, social and environment and spiritual. Environment means your physical surroundings, such as your home and your workplace. Spiritual is really up to your interpretation and beliefs, and some people change this to ‘community‘ instead. I interpret ‘spiritual’ to be my current state of mind, i.e. am I feeling at peace with myself, or whether I’ve been self-reflecting. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t choose other elements that mean more to you, as long as they also reflective of the obligations/responsibilities you have.
- Rank every element in order of importance, from 1 to 8. This is very hard but necessary in order to reveal your priorities. Write the numbers next to each of the labels.
- Rate from 1-5, how you feel each element is going. For example, are you happy with the way your career is going? Are you happy with the amount of time you’re spending on your relationships? Are you flat broke? Do you struggle walking up a flight of stairs (or is it just me)? Mark the dots on the life wheel at the relevant level, and then connect all of the dots. You are then likely to spot some ‘dents’ in your wheel, that reveal opportunities for improvement.
- Rate from 1-5 how much time and effort you have recently been putting into each element. From the center of the wheel, colour up to the appropriate level for each element. Colour the segment directly next to the element, in a clockwise direction.
You will then end up with something that looks like the above. It’s really a fascinating exercise since you work on each component of the wheel in isolation, and when you take a step back it’s often a revelation to see where the imbalance is, relative to how important you consider that element in your life. After all, it’s important to remember, not all parts of your wheel have to be the same rating, or have the same amount of effort/time put in. To me, life balance isn’t about all the elements being equal, it’s about all the elements going how you need them to be going.
From here, set yourself some goals to re-balance your wheel and check in in a few months time by completing another wheel (without looking at the first one you completed). You can then compare the snapshots to see how your time/energy (or lack of) has resulted in shifts in the satisfaction of certain elements. Such a fantastic 10 minute exercise that can get you back on the right track. You could also ask a partner or good friend to complete one based on their perception of your life balance – now that’s a scary thought!
I completed my wheel in PowerPoint but you could also print one out to complete over a cup of tea. I attach a blank one below. If you try it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Lastly, I would like to attribute this tool, however I’m finding that there are many variations of it around, with various attributions. Get in touch if you have information on the originator of this tool and I’d be happy to credit them.