An area of focus is a part of your life that requires your care and attention. If neglected for an extended period, it will have a significant impact on your overall level of happiness and personal satisfaction.
I’ve defined these six areas through many years of trial and error. If I ignore any of these areas for an extended period, it will sneak up on me in unexpected and unwanted ways. When I proactively pay attention to each of these areas, investing time and effort in their care and well-being, the result is a balanced and fulfilling life.
Area I – Meaningful Relationships
My first key area of focus is Meaningful Relationships. This covers all the key relationships in my life including my spouse, kids, family, and friends.
Your attention is the greatest gift that you can give another person. I find that when I get busy, my attention turns inward toward myself. This area of focus reminds me to turn my attention toward the people that are important in my life. This might include having a date night with my wife, taking one of my kids out on an adventure or planning a friend night.
Area II – Extraordinary Health
Extraordinary Health is my second key area of focus. This covers all aspects of my health including physical exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, meditation & mindfulness.
I remember hearing a saying many years ago that went something like this: “You either make time for wellness, or you will be forced to make time for illness.” I find that everyone has health issues, that if not monitored, will quickly get out of hand. This area reminds me to pay attention to this critical area of focus.
Area III – Personal Growth
For me, Personal Growth is the key to fulfilment and happiness. People are much more satisfied with their lives when they are growing and learning.
My real learning started after I finished school. I realized that if I wanted to be the best at what I do, I would need to dedicate my life to walking the path of mastery. I’m an avid reader of books on business, leadership, mindfulness, strategy, productivity, money, health, and relationships. I’ve attended countless seminars and workshops, continuing my growth and development well beyond what I learned in school. I’ve also used coaches and mastermind groups to help me through critical areas of development and to hold me accountable.
Area IV – Work That Matters
I like to believe that the work that I do each day matters in some way. We spend so much of our lives at work that it would be a shame if we didn’t spend it on doing something that matters.
The formula that I use for work that matters lies at the centre of these four questions: 1) Do I love the work that I do? 2) Am I really good at it? 3) Can I get paid for it? And 4) Am I making the world a better place? I regularly ask myself these questions, and if I’m unable to answer a definite yes, I know that I need to spend some time on improving this area.
Area V – Financial Freedom
The area of money can be a sore point for most people. We never seem to have enough to go around, and we will do almost anything to get more of it.
This area of focus is about making peace with whatever issues you have with money as well as expanding your financial intelligence. It’s about educating yourself on how money works, getting clear on how much you need to accomplish your goals, and building a sound financial plan to gain control of your finances.
Area VI – Just 4 Fun
I know that I’ve neglected this area when I get stressed and cranky. This area reminds me to stop and enjoy the moment, to take the time to reward myself for achieving a milestone or accomplishing a goal.
It also reminds me to notice the rhythm between work and play. It’s easy to get caught up our life’s work that we forget to invest time to play. Yes, this means taking a regular vacation (at least 2 or 3 times a year – my target is 4). It also means building time into your daily routine to read a great book, to play with your kids, and connect with your friends.
Why should you adopt the six key areas of focus as your own
There are four simple reasons why I adopted the six key areas of focus as my own – and why I think you should too!
1. It helps to look across my entire life. The six key areas of focus cover all the primary functions of my life. It includes relationships, health, growth, work, money and fun. I believe that these are the fundamental building blocks of a productive and satisfying life.
2. It helps to keep things simple. With life being so complicated it can be easy to get overwhelmed. By narrowing my focus to the six key areas that are the most important to me I can let go of what’s not essential. This reduces my stress and increases my overall level of happiness.
3. It helps to identify when things are going well. Through the news and media, we are continually bombarded with everything that is going wrong in the world. When I turn my attention to what is working well in each of the six areas it gives me the motivation to keep going.
4. It helps to identify when things are out of whack. More often then not, when I review each key area of focus, I will find a number of opportunities where I can make some minor adjustments. This allows me to get back on track by taking action in the areas that are a priority.
Bonus: 3 Tips to make this more effective
1. Ask questions about them
You need to review the six key areas of focus on a regular basis to make them part of your life. An excellent way to do this is through questions. Simple pick one of the areas and begin writing down the answers to the following questions. Why is this area important to me? What do I want to accomplish in this area? What one action can I take that will improve my situation in this area?
2. Combine them with the Wheel of Life and 90 Day Plan
The six key areas of focus become extremely useful when you combine them with other tactics. For example, when you combine the six key areas of focus with the wheel of life and the 90-day plan you have a simple strategy to achieve work/life balance in just 90 days.
3. Structure your time management system around them
For complete integration into your life, you can structure your entire time management system around the six key areas of focus. Make them part of your yearly planning by setting goals and creating projects, incorporate them into your quarterly and weekly reviews, and add them to your daily action plan.
The six key areas of focus will increase your productivity and improve your overall level of happiness.
- Meaningful Relationships
- Extraordinary Health
- Personal Growth
- Work That Matters
- Financial Freedom
- Just 4 Fun
If you find that you are stressed, overwhelmed, or your life feels out of control, I highly recommend that you adopt the six key areas of focus in your life. You will find that within a very short period you will be more productive, happier, and grounded once you focus on your priorities.
The Work/Life Balance Handbook
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