Sometimes it feels like we’ve lost control of our lives. There’s so much going on that we don’t know how to begin wrapping our hands around all of it.
Yeah, I’ve been there.
I know it feels like you’re running from appointment to appointment, activity to activity. The chores are piling up, for every item you check off your to-do list two more are added, and you’re flat out exhausted.
Worst of all, you’re stressed out, anxious, and just plain unhappy with how your life is going. Are you wondering how everyone else holds it together? How they look so happy all the time?
First off, remember that not everything is as it seems. There’s a good chance other people are looking at you and wondering the same thing!
But that doesn’t change the fact that you still feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled.
So what can you do about that?
I have a solution for you – the Life Balance Wheel exercise, also known as the Wheel of Life. Read on to find out what the Life Balance Wheel is and how it can help you balance your life so that your days are more peaceful.
Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through that link, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
What is the Life Balance Wheel?
The Life Balance Wheel is a popular exercise most often used by coaches for their clients. Coaches use this tool to help their clients identify where they need the most help. From there, the coach can design an action plan to get the client where they want to be.
However, you don’t need a coach to use the Life Balance Wheel. It’s so simple that you can use it yourself!
So what is the Life Balance Wheel exactly? It’s just that – a wheel!
As you see in the image below, it’s a wheel divided into 8 pieces by “spokes”. Each piece represents a key area of your life.
The exercise consists of determining how satisfied you are in each life area through a rating scale of 1-10.
Once you determine this, it’s easy for you to identify where you should focus your time on finding fulfillment.
The goal is to get your wheel as balanced as realistically possible.
What are the benefits of the Life Balance Wheel?
There are a couple of solid reasons you’ll want to complete this brief, but powerful exercise.
The Life Balance Wheel helps you to map your overwhelmed or stressful feelings to the root cause.
For example, if you find that your satisfaction is low in your career and your family, it’s likely that you’re bringing work “home with you”. This could mean that you are stressed at work, and that work is taking away time with your family.
Now that you’ve figured that out, you can decide to have a conversation with your boss about your workload or decide to look for a new job.
You can also implement strategies that will help you unwind after work so that you can be more present with your family.
By doing so, you’re creating more balance in your life. You’re taking some of the work stress away, and spending more focused time with your family.
As a result, your satisfaction with your family increases. Your satisfaction with work may also increase. This brings more balance to your wheel, aka your life!
Second, it’s a great tool to use to check in with yourself from time to time so that you can live more intentionally.
You don’t necessarily have to be stressed out for this tool to be needed.
Nobody’s life is perfect.
There’s always room for improvement. And if the purpose of life is to live joyfully (which I 100% believe it is), then we should always examine how we can find more satisfaction in our lives.
You can use the Life Balance Wheel periodically to see if there any areas where you need to find more fulfillment.
How To Use the Life Balance Wheel
1. Brainstorm your life areas.
In the wheel above, you’ll see the 8 key areas are Career, Finances, Health, Family & Friends, Love/Significant Other, Personal Growth, Fun & Hobbies, and Physical Environment.
But they aren’t set in stone! You can absolutely change the key areas to something that makes more sense for you.
Here are a list of key areas to help you brainstorm what should be represented on your Life Balance Wheel.
2. Write them on your wheel.
Once you’ve identified what your 8 key areas are, go ahead and write them on your wheel.
3. Rate each area.
Next, take a look at each area. Without thinking too much about it, rate that area on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being least satisfied and 10 being completely satisfied.
Put a dot on the relative number on each spoke of the wheel.
Just a heads up, it’s super rare for you to have a 10 in any given area. This is because, as I mentioned before, nothing is perfect! And that’s ok. We’re not aiming for perfection – we’re aiming for better.
Also, it’s likely that you will never have a perfectly balanced wheel. You will almost always be more satisfied in some areas of life than in others. This is ok, too! Our priorities are constantly changing.
To give you an idea, my career is not as important to me now as it may be in 10 years from now. That’s because my kids are ages 2 and 4, and my priority is them.
That means I keep a manageable workload so that I don’t have to work weekends or late nights. While this may slow down my career progression, I get to spend quality time with my kiddos. And that makes me happy!
Last, no one can decide or judge your priorities, except YOU.
Some people may think I’m crazy for sacrificing my career for my kids. Their priorities might be to grow their career while still being able to spend quality time with their kids. Nothing wrong with that!
In that case, they may sacrifice a bit in the area of friends.
It’s all about balance.
4. Connect the dots.
Let’s head back to kindergarten, and connect the dots on each spoke. Again, your wheel will not be 100% balanced.
But you’ll be able to see just how off-balance your life currently is.
5. Decide on which area to improve.
You can now decide where you want to focus on finding more fulfillment. Is it family, career, friends, personal growth?
Take a holistic approach to this. If you decide to focus on one area, is there something that you need to sacrifice in another area to accomplish this? Afterall, there are only so many hours in a day!
Think about what the priorities in your life are currently. What are you willing to bend with, and what is untouchable?
6. Make an Action Plan.
Once you’ve decided where you need to find more satisfaction, you can put together an action plan. This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.
Let’s say health is the area you want to improve in. Ask yourself: what’s lacking in that area? Is your sleep quality poor? Or maybe you eat too much fast food. Are you exercising at all?
Write down all of the possible things you could do to improve your health. Then pick a few and work them into your lifestyle.
I know it’s super tempting, but try not to take on too much. That will defeat the purpose of this exercise! Slow and steady wins the race here.
You could decide that you’re going to take a walk 3 times per week and cut out soda. That’s an awesome start!
Give yourself a good few months and then rinse and repeat!
Come back and complete the Life Balance Wheel again.
Are you more satisfied in the Health area now? If not, why not? Has your satisfaction increased or decreased in any other life areas? Where do you want to focus your energy over the next few months? What will make your overall life happier?
There is no hard and fast rule on how often you should complete this exercise. My recommendation is to do it quarterly as a way to check in with yourself, and then again on an as-needed basis.