A wheel of life aims to highlight the areas of your life that you need to give more attention (or areas where you need to give less) so you can work towards a balanced life. I like the approach because it is a simple graphical representation, so I started using the method on a monthly basis to track progress on my goals.
I started giving scores based on how I felt about each area, but thought this was too variable, so started counting up the number of times I worked on tasks in each area. Although this was tricky to track it did give unambiguous figures to plot. However, on reviewing after a few months, I realised I was measuring the wrong thing; I was plotting how many times I worked in each area not by what I achieved, for example I could spend a lot of time sorting out my address book, but it isn’t as satisfying that I was developing relationships as much as if I had a long telephone call with a friend .
To be honest, I think I was expecting too much from wheel of life. It is a very useful tool, but a monthly review is too often, because there is not enough time for your thoughts on the analysis to settle, let alone develop. Based on my previous review and my current thinking here are my tips for using wheel of life exercise
- Select categories that are relevant to what you want to measure; I started with generic categories but found it much more useful when I used my goals (although it did result in some tasks being classified under strange categories)
- Decide if you want to use the wheel to measure your current position or the progress you’ve made since your last wheel (it may sound a little thing, but if you decide this up front it will prevent confusion when you put together your scores at later reviews)
- Develop descriptions for each score point on the axis e.g.1 – made a very small step forwards on this, 10 – achieved this
- Decide how often you will do the review; I recommend three months as a minimum time between reviews, but feel that six months could be optimum
- Consider doing an overall wheel and then separate ones to get more detail in specific areas e.g. you may be interested in how balanced your work life is, but you are unlikely to want to go into this detail in an overall review of your life where you might be considering if you are working on your life goals (including work life balance)
What is your experience of using Wheel of life? Do you have any tips to share?