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How round is your life wheel?

February 16, 2007

wheel.gif    There are a lot of dimensions to our lives, but what often happens is that a particular area gets out of balance and really consumes our focus, our energy, and our emotion for a time if we don’t keep the proper perspective.    There are a lot of ways to conceptualize this, and one way I was introduced to, was to model you life as a wheel.

Take a pen and paper.  Define a point in the center.   Next start adding spokes at regular intervals, extending out away from this point in a radial fashion.  Label each of these spokes as key elements of your life – Career, Spouse, Children, Parents, Hobbies, Church, Recreation, on-going education (informal or otherwise), etc.     Next, think about the last month and how much time you spent on each of these things.  You could express that as a percentage, or in hours or days.   Adjust the length of each line in proportion to how much time you indicated you spent on it.   Next draw a circle connecting all the end points of these spokes.   How round is the shape you drew?   Now obviously, not all the items can be the same, or even close to the same, but the exercise should help you see at a glance what is going on with you.

I chose the graphic at the top of this post as a dual purpose metaphor.  It’s round and has spokes, but is also the wheel that steers a ship.   What’s most steering the course of your life?   Is it the things that you think are really the most important, or things that have just taken up most of your time?  Do you need to find a way to adjust the length of some of your lines to make your wheel rounder?

Seems pretty simple doesn’t it?   But without undertaking an exercise like this periodically, things in your life can get way out of perspective.   I frequently lose perspective on this.   There are so many tools through which we can lead happier, more balanced and productive lives, if only we could remember to use them more frequently.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2007 3:18 pm

    That’s a very interesting take Mark. I would have to say my wheel could be quite mis-shapen as well.

    If I had to fill one out off the top of my head, it might go something like this:
    *Hobbies (cars, computers)

    The top three there would be my largest time expenditures without a doubt. While the bottom two are important, they end up not getting the time they should. Is that a tradeoff, well yes. But considering sometimes those bottom two categories fall into the first one as we do most everything together, it actually evens out decently. I can say that Work can sometimes eclipse everything else, and when Work isn’t then my Hobbies may instead, so it is a regular struggle to maintain balance.

    Good points Mark, some very good food for thought

  2. February 18, 2007 10:58 pm

    I tend not to keep score of time but thoughts — what is on my mind the most — that would be an interesting exercise.

    While work may consume the greatest hours, it doesn’t necessarily hold the longest spoke for passion or attention.

  3. JGE permalink
    February 20, 2007 6:04 pm

    Balance in ones life is important to achieve a more menaingful life. As I think about it I see how those “spokes” change with age. Circumstance and choice has a lot to do with that I think. Personally I work on being happy every day.

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