The Wheel of Life is a simple self-assessment tool that can give you a visual look at the areas in your life that you are neglecting and where you are doing well. It’s a standard tool used by life coaches to help define the priorities for their clients. I use it as a personal self-assessment tool to gauge how I am doing within my key areas of focus.

How It Works

Here are your seven steps to work/life balance:

1. Take a blank piece of paper and fill the page with a large circle and divide it into equal slices. Usually between 5 to 9 equal sections (pie slices) depending on the number of areas that you want to measure.

2. The next step is to label each section with an area of your life. Typical labels include finances, business/career, health, personal growth, romance, family/friends, physical environment, and fun/recreation. I use the 6 Key Areas of Focus as labels for each section.

3. Work your way around the circle evaluating each area on a scale of zero to ten. Where zero is “I’ve really neglected this area,” and a ten means that “Everything is extraordinary!”.

4. Once you determine the rating, you draw a line within that slice representing your level of satisfaction in that area. If you rated health as a five out of ten, you would draw a line within the health slice approximately half way between the centre of the circle and the outer edge.

5. When you have worked your way around the entire circle, repeating for each section, you join all the lines together to complete your Wheel of Life. Usually, you end up with an irregular shape with some high and some lows. The metaphor here is that if this wheel was on the car of your life, no wonder life is so bumpy.

6. The results are a snapshot of your life at this point. This information can help you determine which areas of your life that are going well and which ones you have been neglecting,

7. With any assessment tool, it’s essential to apply the knowledge that you have gained. Ask yourself, “What would make this area a 10?” It usually only takes a few minor adjustments to improve a particular area and overall work/life balance.

Why It Works

There are five reasons why the Wheel of Life exercise is so useful:

1. It helps you define the essential areas of your life. Each section of the Wheel of Life represents a key area of focus. The Wheel of Life exercise forces you to think across all areas of your life and choose the most important.

2. It helps you assess how you are doing. By rating each section, the Wheel of Life enables you to determine your current level of satisfaction in each area. This gives you a concrete measurement that will help you improve.

3. It gives you the bigger picture. Once you have rated each area, the Wheel of Life gives you an excellent visual representation of your entire life. It highlights where you are doing well and where you are out of balance.

4. It helps you improve. By asking the question “What would make this particular area a 10?” the Wheel of Life exercise can give you clues to what you can do to make things better and move you closer to work/life balance.

5. It’s a great place to start. If you are new personal development or if you are stuck, the Wheel of Life exercise is a great place to start. Within 30 minutes you can measure your satisfaction in the key areas of your life and develop an action plan for the areas that need improvement.

Bonus: 5 Tips to make this more effective

1. You can modify the labels. Traditionally used as a tool for work/life balance, the Wheel of Life can be changed for other applications. As a work application, you can label each section with your areas of responsibility. This is an excellent way for a leader or entrepreneur to assess what areas they might be neglecting.

2. Ask better questions. Instead of asking “Why did I rate this area a 7?” ask yourself, “Why didn’t I choose a 6?” This will help you focus on what is going well instead of what’s going wrong. Another great question is “What one thing can I do today that will move me closer to a 10?”

3. When we decide to grow in a particular area, it’s crucial that we have a stable foundation in other areas of our life. If you want to improve at work, it’s essential that you have a stable and supportive personal life. The Wheel of Life can help you see the bigger picture so that you know when it’s ok to stretch.

4. Realize that this exercise is showing a snapshot of your current situation. There will always be room for improvement. Some areas will be out of whack. Others areas will be going well. It’s important to understand that you can make whatever changes you want to improve the low areas and maintain the high ones.

5. Work with a partner or coach. We all have blind spots, so when you use the Wheel of Life exercise alone, you will miss opportunities for improvement because of your personal bias. Enlist the help of a partner or coach as a new source of ideas, to gain perspective, and to hold you accountable.

In Summary

Create a Wheel of Life in five simple steps:

  1. Read this article to learn about The 6 Key Areas of Focus
  2. Using the Wheel of Life Self-Assessment, evaluate each area of focus on a scale of 1 to 10. A one is “I’ve really neglected this area,” and a ten means that “Everything is extraordinary!”.
  3. Draw a line through each slice representing your current level of satisfaction and join all lines together to complete your Wheel of Life Self-Assessment.
  4. Review your results and set a goal for each area that you want to improve.

Don’t let the simplicity the Wheel of Life fool you. When used correctly it can be an excellent compass for your personal and professional growth.

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