Ah that illusive balance that we all strive for, but actually feel is near on impossible to achieve! It doesn’t have to be though: We hope by sharing a tool we have used on a more than regular basis, that we will be able to help make it easier for you to move one step closer in how to achieve a work and life balance for yourself.
Why is it so important?
We talk about it a lot, usually with our peers over a glass of wine when we are having a good old moan and putting the World to rights, but then for a lot of us that is where it stops. We are so busy getting caught up in daily life that we struggle to see the wood for the trees and work out how we can break the cycle we are in to allow us to live a more balanced life. But the reality is that this balance is so important:
- Not only is it good for our well being but it also means that we end up getting the most out of all aspects of our life.
- You can’t be everything to everyone. If you are running around and burning the candle at both ends ultimately something has to give.
- Aspects that you feel are important to your life will inevitably end up taking a back seat and almost getting forgotten about, leaving you feeling uneasy and like something is missing.
- When you feel in balance and at your best, you can be more, do more, become more.
There is no perfect – how refreshing!
So let’s say we actually manage to work out how to achieve a work and life balance, and we feel we are at the state of equilibrium, bliss, right? Well yes, but, lets also be realistic here. It is impossible to be in balance all the time. Our lives are constantly evolving, and the demands on us are always changing, there will be certain times in our life that certain aspects need more attention than others.
Having read that you may be thinking “What’s the point in even trying then?” But you will find that there are times in your life that you feel you are running at a slower pace, or you are provided with some natural reflection time (Usually that gap between Christmas and New Year when you don’t know what day it is, but are feeling motivated by going in to a fresh new year), and this, is the time when reviewing that balance is key.
How to know if you’re in or out of balance in the first place
You will ultimately feel this above anything else, but this is where you can use a brilliant tool to help you visually see and to assess all aspects of your life: The Wheel Of Life.
The idea behind this wheel is that each segment represents an area of your life. You then mark yourself based on how you feel you are doing with that particular aspect (with closer to the circle being not so good and the outer part of the circle being great). The beauty is that you can completely make this unique to your life and what you feel is important to you, simply pick some key areas that fit your life goals and values.
We have listed some categories below as some examples of what you can use. There may of course be others that you feel are important to you that you can include that we have not.
- Financial: Budgeting, income, savings, investments.
- Career/Work: Enjoyment, fulfillment, progression, focus, working hours, dedication, purpose, income generated.
- Relationships: This could be broken down in to separate categories of friends and family if more relevant: Health of relationship, communication, memories made, time spent, support, balance.
- Physical Health: Body in good health (free from disease), regular workouts, self care, nutrition.
- Romance: Intimacy, connection, communication, sex, attraction.
- Spiritual: Education, reading, practice.
- Personal Growth: reading, connection, awareness, education.
- Life Purpose: Clarity, plan, action.
- Fun/Recreation: Leisure, hobbies, passion, laughter, memories, fun.
- Physical Environment: Home, location, appearance, settled.
- Community: Giving, connection, enjoyment.
Here is an example of the wheel complete with categories:
Where do you go from here?
Once you have your template set up you can then fill it in (as per the green wheel below). This provides you with a great visual on all aspects of your life and will very clearly show you which areas need your attention. The important step is to then create another wheel with your ‘Ideal’ (as per the blue wheel below).
Our recommendation when creating your Ideal Wheel would be to set a time frame on this. You could have your ‘ultimate Ideal’ but by creating a time frame it will make goal setting and reviewing much easier and success more likely.
The beauty is that these two diagrams provide you with a great visual of how balanced your life is now, compared to where you would like it to be. Then the key is to take action:
- Analyse what areas need work
- Set goals distinguishing what you would need to achieve in these areas in order for them to rank higher on your wheel.
- Create an action plan
Tip the Scales
With the use of this tool you have the potential to tip the scales back in your favour and finally start to gain that balance that you have been striving for. It creates a brilliant structure that is visual and easy to repeat on a regular basis.
So get dreaming of the life you’d like to lead, and get excited by the fact that you can put some steps in place to get there!