The last day of Healthy Week is a quick look at work-life balance, and personal priorities. Now, there are loads of different ways to look at priorities and balance in your life, but this is meant to be a brief exercise.
There are various ‘wheel of life’ diagrams, pie charts, mind maps etc to choose from, but for today I’m keeping it as uncomplicated as possible. I tried working it out with a couple of different iPhone apps but frankly they were a waste of time, so I’m going with a fairly fast three step process instead.
1. Pick between 4 and 10 important areas of your life.
For me at the moment I’m looking at career, money, home life, social life, health/wellbeing, learning, creative, and leisure/fun/hobbies. Other people might be more interested right now in family life, spirituality, environment, personal development, adventure – it varies according to your life stage, personality, values and so on. You don’t need to draw a pie chart or make a decision tree or anything remotely complicated here, and don’t worry too much if some areas overlap onto each other a bit.
2. Look at how happy you are with each life area.
Count your blessings, look for aspects that you want to improve, and give each area a rough mark out of 10. For example, with health I have no illnesses or obvious danger signs of such, visit the dentist regularly, don’t feel unpleasantly stressed, don’t smoke, don’t drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol, eat healthily most of the time and am not overweight. However, some illnesses run in my family and I’ve never made the effort to get screened, my level of fitness feels low, I’m overdue for an eye test, I rarely take time out to completely relax, and I often don’t get enough sleep. On balance, I’m giving this aspect of my life seven out of ten as there is some room for improvement.
3. Look at how you currently divide time/resources between areas.
… and think about how you might gently change this to get it closer in line with your priorities. At this stage, just think about it briefly and maybe make a few notes, less than one side of A4 paper. You don’t need to head straight out and shake your entire life up all in one go: look for small regular changes you can make, tweaks, short one-off tasks you could undertake in the next few days, and so on. The marks out of ten for your different life areas should serve to help you to prioritise some changes before others.
For example, with health, this is not my most urgent area for action. However, next week I’m finally going to make that appointment to have my cholesterol levels checked, and schedule in an extra hour of aerobic exercise. Looking through my whole list, I can already see plenty of things that would lend themselves to one-off Jump Start activities.
How would you divide up your own priority areas?