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Published on February 4, 2020

How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

It’s crazy to think about how busy our lives have become in recent years. In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to lose the balance that we crave in life. As a result, it’s easy to neglect important areas in our lives that bring us meaning and fulfillment…

This is where the Wheel of Life can help us out.

What Is the Wheel of Life?

The truth is that without learning how to mindfully monitor our daily lives, we can end up focusing all our time and energy on a single area and forget about and neglect other important parts. This is when we need to take a long hard look at our lives in order to bring things back into balance.

This is where the Wheel of Life can serve as a highly useful and informative resource. It helps us to look at each of these different domains in our life and then identify which areas are doing and well and which areas we need to allocate more attention to.

It does this by graphically representing the different areas of our life as they are now, compared to how we would ideally like them to be. Then we can identify gaps between where these different domains of our lives currently are and where we would like them to be. This allows us to visualize which areas of our lives require our attention.

Through understanding this, we can then identify what steps we need to take in order to live a life of happiness and success.

How Does the Wheel of Life Work?

Every “slice” of the Wheel of Life represents a category for a different area of your life. Each of these categories is rated by you on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing a poor score and 10 representing an excellent score.

Once you’re done rating where you feel each of the different categories are right now, you’ll be left with a diagram with a mosaic-like wheel appearance. This will allow you to visualize which areas of your life you’re currently lacking in right now.

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Here’s an example of the Wheel of Life:[1]

    Then you can go around the Wheel of Life again and indicate where you would ideally like each of these categories to be. This will then allow you to visualize which areas of your life require the most effort and attention from you at this moment.

    Remember, that every aspect of the Wheel of Life has an important influence in some respect over your life. Your goal here should not be to have a perfect wheel. Your goal should be to answer the questions as honestly as possible as you go about establishing your personal Wheel of Life diagram. This will provide you with the most accurate representation and useful information for your current life.

    Wheel of Life Categories

    Here there is some variation. No life is exactly identical to someone else’s. As such, it’s possible that different categories of living will be included in the Wheel of Life diagram for different individuals.

    What’s important is that the categories you choose to include provide an accurate representation of the important areas of your life.

    That being said, there are some common ones:

    Health

    In this category, you aim to rate how physically and mentally healthy you are. So you can ask yourself questions like how do you feel? How regularly are you exercising? What is your diet like? Are there any changes that you’d like to make to live a healthier lifestyle?

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    Career

    In this Wheel of Life category, you are beginning to think about the job you’re currently working and rating how satisfied you are with it. Are you happy where you are or would you rather be working a different job potentially in a different field? Does the career path you’re currently on bring you happiness? Can it support the lifestyle you desire?

    Personal Development

    This category looks at how you are investing in your personal growth. Are you pursuing opportunities that open you up to new experiences and opportunities? Are you eager to learn new things? What are you doing to evolve and develop into the person you hope to be one day?

    Finance

    The financial category on the Wheel of Life encourages you to reflect on whether or not your current income supports not only your basic needs but, does it support the lifestyle that you are hoping to live? Are you going to be happy with the progression of your income over the next 5 years or are you going to have to make changes?

    Yes, money is not the only thing that influences our happiness, but it’s certainly one of the key players.

    Life Enjoyment

    Here, think about what kind of activities you engage in to bring yourself life satisfaction and a sense of life enjoyment. Whether that’s sports, reading, writing, or any other hobby doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are engaging in some things that bring you happiness on a regular basis.

    All work and no play makes for a dull day, and eventually a dull and unsatisfactory life.

    Societal Contribution

    This Wheel of Life category asks you to reflect on what is it that you are giving back to others. How are you giving back to the people around you or the communities that you are a part of? Do you volunteer? Do you help out with local sports or clubs? Are you engaged in political issues to make your community a healthier and safer place for everyone?

    Relationships

    Now you’re going to evaluate your relationships with other people. As you do this ask yourself whether you feel these relationships are built on a good foundation or not? Do you trust the other person in the relationship? Do you each support one another? Can you build forward from the relationship that is currently established in a positive way? Are these relationships having a positive influence on your daily life?

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    Romance

    Now you’re going to ask yourself a few questions about a specific relationship, the one you have with your partner. In the Wheel of Life, this is one of our most important relationships.

    The most important question that you can ask yourself here is do you have a partner who is committed to you and who you can build an amazing relationship with? Are you supporting each other’s growth? Do your values align? Are you able to make each other laugh?

    It’s very rare to find all these things in another person, so if you find someone who checks a lot of these boxes you’ve probably found a special someone worth keeping around.

    Reflecting on Your Results

    Once you’ve completed your Wheel of Life and accurately and honestly identified the current and ideal scores for each category, you can move forward with these understandings and insights in order to improve your life.

    You might ask yourself questions like:

    • Why do you currently have a low/high score in a given category?
    • Which categories have the largest gaps between their current position and your ideal score?
    • What can you do in order to move the category score from it’s current position to where you would ideally like it to be?
    • Which categories on your Wheel of Life are the most important to you?
    • Which categories are currently having the biggest impact on your life?
    • Are there categories that you would like to dedicate more attention to?
    • Are there categories that you would like to dedicate less attention to?

    These are all important questions which you can answer to provide yourself with useful information moving forward as you improve your life.

    By taking a look at your entire life like this, you can begin also making connections between different areas. For example, how is your career impacting your personal development, or how are your relationships impacting your finances and life enjoyment? These are all things that the Wheel of Life makes easier to visualize.

    Applying the Wheel of Life to Your Life

    Remember, we are always capable of change and improvement. So if you aren’t satisfied with certain categories on your Wheel of Life or the entire wheel in general, then get motivated to makes changes! These things won’t work unless you do!

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    So start to think about what plans, strategies, and steps you can begin taking in order to get where you what your wheel to be, and where you want your life to be.

    Something that I know has helped many people is keeping track of their progress. Through these actions, they can begin to understand what works for them and what doesn’t. Then over time, they can tweak how they are pursuing their goals and increase the frequency of their successes.

    Create Your Wheel of Life

    If this article has been interesting to you and you feel like you would now go and create your own Wheel of Life that you can use in order to improve your own life, then check out this Wheel of Life resource.

    This is a free tool that asks you to provide your current and ideal category scores and then creates your Wheel of Life for you. It’s free and only takes a few minutes to complete. It’s as simple as that!

    Final Thoughts

    The main take away from this article is that you should do your best to think of your life in terms of the big picture so that you can come to understand how the different aspects of your life reciprocally influence each other, and impact the overall quality of your life.

    By understanding the big picture, you can then take action towards bringing the life you’ve always wanted into reality!

    More on Living Life to the Fullest

    Featured photo credit: Jean Gerber via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Toolshero: Wheel of Life

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    Mark Lynch

    Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2020

    How to Run an Effective One on One Meeting with Team Members

    How to Run an Effective One on One Meeting with Team Members

    The one on one meeting is a crucial and often underestimated management tool.

    Not only is it an honest way to connect with employees and share the necessary information with them, but it is also a great way to hear their feedback.

    What’s even more important – the one on one meeting is an opportunity to shape your employee’s experience and perception of you as a boss. In many cases, what they think about you and your management style will also be reflected in their opinion about the whole company or organization that you represent.

    Running effective one on one meetings should be a priority for you as a manager or team leader. The 11 tips laid out in this article will help you make the most of this crucial time.

    1. Get in the Right Mindset

    A proper one on one session starts already before the meeting as you prepare your notes and your attitude for it.

    Seeing the one on one meeting as an unwelcome distraction in your busy day won’t get you far.

    Instead, take a few moments to clear your mind and focus on the person you are about to meet.

    Start by reviewing your notes from the previous one-on-one with that employee, have a look at their latest performance stats, mark any complaints or praises you’ve received about them.

    2. Make One on One Meetings a Regular Thing

    The frequency of your one-on-ones largely depends on your company size and your management style. Some sources say that such meetings should be weekly, while others state that a bi-weekly or monthly schedule would do the trick.

    A good idea is to set the next recurring meeting at the end of each current meeting so both parties can plan ahead for it.

    Think about the frequency and length that would not seem too much for you or your employees, but would still be enough to keep everyone in the loop and maintain continuous contact.

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    New employees should have one-on-ones more often, at least once every week or two weeks.

    Recurring one on one sessions make feedback sharing a routine and encourage a culture of honesty. Besides, regular personal conversations make employees feel understood, trusted and valued in the company – thus boosting their intrinsic motivation.

    3. Set a Time Limit for the Meetings

    Schedule enough time for these conversations, but don’t make them too long either. Nobody will look forward to meetings that lose focus and just drag on forever.

    The optimal length of each session also depends on the frequency of these meetings – for example, if you meet every week, a 30-minute session might be enough. If you meet once in a fortnight or a month, 60 minutes might be more effective.

    Successful managers such as Andy Grove, Co-Founder and former CEO of Intel, have advised to do one-on-ones that last for at least one hour:’

    “Anything less, in my experience, tends to make the subordinate confine himself to simple things that can be handled quickly.”

    4. Make a List of Topics to Discuss

    A general plan or structure for the meeting might help to get the conversation going – especially in the first few meetings. However, you don’t have to stick to the plan no matter what. See it rather as a reference that can help in case the conversation gets stuck or drifts too far from the topic.

    A meeting agenda can also be helpful if the employee is introverted and won’t be likely to talk on his or her own.

    For example, you can prepare three to five topics that you are most interested to know about. Or, you can keep a list of questions in front of you, but remember to be flexible – you don’t have to ask all of them if the conversation flows naturally.

    Some ideas for questions that are likely to generate thorough answers:

    • Which part of the day do you feel most productive? Do you feel you’d need a different work schedule to improve your well-being and productivity?
    • What are your latest achievements that make you proud?
    • Do you have any suggestions that could help us work better as a team?
    • Is there anybody on the team you find hard to work with? Could you explain why?
    • Which of your tasks keep you engaged and inspired? Is there a way to make your daily tasks more engaging?
    • What are the main bottlenecks in your present project? Can I help in any way to move it along?
    • What are the things that worry you in your job or the office environment in general? Have you ever felt undervalued here?
    • Do you feel like you are learning enough at work? Which areas would you like to learn more about?
    • What can I do to improve my management style or to support you better?
    • What projects or tasks you would be interested in working on next?

    Pro tip:

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    Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt used to start his one-on-ones by comparing his lists with the ones his employees were asked to prepare before the meeting.[1] The items found on both lists were prioritized because they were likely to be the most pressing issues.

    5. Keep It Casual and Change the Setting

    If you aim to have an honest, relaxed and sincere conversation with your employee, think not only about your words and body language but also about the atmosphere at the meeting.

    Your goal is to be professional and productive, but not necessarily awkward or stale.

    First, find a relaxing place for a private conversation. Cozy furniture, warm colors, office plants or even a different view from the window has the potential of stirring up new ideas and suggestions. But you don’t even have to stick to a meeting room – why not go for a walk or have a coffee in a nearby cafe?

    CEO of productivity tracking software DeskTime, Artis Rozentals, believes that one on one meetings should take place outside the usual constraints of the office:

    “I find an opportunity to go on a longer one on one lunch with each of my team members to discuss everything in a casual atmosphere.”

    He adds that informality doesn’t mean that the meeting takes place without preparation.

    “Before the meeting, I draw up the topical questions and data, and share it with the respective employee, so that we both come prepared and have a fruitful conversation.”

    6. Focus on the Employee

    The employee should be the main focus of one on one conversations. The famous American businessman and author Ben Horowitz recommends that a manager should only talk for 10% of the time, leaving the rest of the talking to the team member.

    Remember – as the person in the power position, you should set your ego aside and support your employee as well as you can.

    Ideally, the conversation will flow naturally around whatever matters to him or her. If it doesn’t, ask open questions that could help them elaborate their position and express their feedback (see tip No 4).

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    7. Listen like You Mean It

    Your task is not only to let your employee talk. It’s also to listen – actively. This means you don’t listen just to be polite. You are actually trying to understand and remember everything that’s being shared.

    Some active listening techniques:

    • Remain open-minded, confident, and listen to the person without drawing one-sided conclusions.
    • Show the employee you’re paying attention and occasionally summarize what they say.
    • Double-check if you understood some statements right to avoid misunderstandings (for example, ‘Did I get it right that you’d like the marketing team to join this project in order to avoid further delays?’).
    • Be receptive to everything you hear – even the criticism about your company or your own performance.

    8. Share Relevant Information

    We already mentioned that the employer should talk less and listen more. However, if you do have something important to say, and it affects this employee personally or professionally, the one on one meeting is the time to say it.

    Are you preparing a new project or strategy that the employee should know about? Are you testing some new management tactics and would like them to be on board? Are new changes about to impact the company or your team in particular?

    Make sure you keep each employee in the loop to avoid gossip and misinformation spreading in the office. If you tell them the news personally, they will also feel more valued and appreciated.

    9. Write Down Notes

    Most likely, you are in charge of more than one or two employees, so you shouldn’t rely on your memory to mark down all the important points every team member raises.

    However, it is not recommended to write notes on your computer during the meeting. Why?

    Having a laptop open can be easily interpreted as being distracted and not very interested in the conversation.

    So you’ll have to take notes the old-fashioned way – by writing them down in a notebook, journal or a piece of paper.

    Taking notes lets your team member see that you are actively engaged in the meeting and that the points laid out will be taken into account. In other words – that this is not just a waste of their time.

    10. Leave with a Task or Takeaway

    Just as everything else business-related, one on one meetings should have a purpose and an actionable outcome. In other words, make sure that you, your employee, or, ideally, both of you, leave with an action item or a task to be completed.

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    To solidify this, send a quick email after the one on one meeting, rehashing the main things you went over. This will ensure that both of you are on the same page and aware of the next steps each side should take.

    A recap email will take a few more minutes of your time but will undoubtedly prove worthwhile in the long run.

    11. Don’t Neglect One-On-Ones with Your Remote Workers

    Today, increasingly more managers work with a team that partly (or entirely) consists of remote workers. If you are one of them, know this:

    One on one meetings are even more critical when it comes to your remote team.

    Why? Because you can feel the sentiment of your in-house team every day in the office. At the same time, you might have no idea about how your outsourced or remote employees feel.

    CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, manages a company with 500 employees spanning two continents. Besides having quarterly meetings for all employees, he requires managers to have regular one-on-ones with each of their team members,[2] in addition to bi-annual performance reviews.

    He points out:

    “It’s a great way to show that managers care about the performance and well-being of the employee. Topics come up that otherwise wouldn’t in a regular discussion, like the kind of music being played in the office, for instance.”

    Santa Lice-Kruze, Director of HR at Printful Latvia, agrees with Davis and ads:

    ”Conversations have to be built upon a basis of transparency and mutual trust. This is the time to ask how the person is doing, about his or her work-life balance, health, out-of-work activities, etc. You certainly have to ask if and how you can help with anything.”

    See Eye to Eye with Your Employees

    As a manager, you need to be consistent in everything you do – and one on one meetings are no exception. They don’t have to take place every day or even every week, but you need to be committed to them every single time.

    Remember – your primary goal is supporting your employee’s performance. Having a regular personal chat with each of the people who report to you will help you see an increase in employee engagement. And this will likely lead to improved company culture and higher productivity for the whole company.

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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