Use the wheel to rate your satisfaction in categories of your choice. Start by doing this in a really general way by keeping the categories broad. Such as Love, Friendship, Family, Health and Wellbeing, Career, Money, Creativity, and home. Feel free to adapt the headings suit your lifestyle. The centre point is zero and the outer dots are a 10, mark each category by rating your satisfaction level. 1 being this is making me grumpy and 10 being it's amazing! Then connect the dots to create a visual map of your life in these areas and a sense of how they interconnect.
Taking the time to do this is an exercise in mindfulness. It can show you things you hadn't consciously noticed, such as the relationship between one area of your life and others. It's unlikely you can score highly in all categories at once. For example a high satisfaction score with work might mean other areas are lower because you have less energy for them. Something that resonated for me this week came from yogawithAdriene when she reminded us 'Where attention goes, energy flows'. You will see this in your wheel, so work out if you have the balance you want or what would you would change? Do this activity with friends or partners as a way to get the most out of your time with each other. It's amazing the things that can be revealed even with people we see every day because we don't always know what to ask, but this often surfaces a few gems.
Once you have tried the wheel with general headings, you can also try it to look at different areas of your life, such as work, relationships or wellbeing. You can even use it to compare one situation with another such as in the example picture below where I have compared my current job with an old job. You might find this useful if you are considering a job change or perhaps considering relocating, it could be an alternative to creating a pros and cons list.
1. Intuition I have a couple of friends who have set an intention for the year to LISTEN. In particularly, listen to their own bodies and minds. Sound easy? Well, maybe not if you are used to listening more intently to the demands and needs of others or to other external factors, you can adapt this tool to help you tap into your internal world. Do this by changing the categories to an emotional focus. An example of categories you could try are, resilience, calm, inspired, energetic, clear-headed, confident, loving and loved, time alone, time with others. Or you could map feelings like joy, delight, playful, brave, peaceful, frustration, lonely, confusion, sadness, anxious, threatened. Click here for a list of feelings, pick the 8 that seem relevant to your life currently.
2. Relationships You can do a friends and a family one of these, or combine them. Use the names of people in your life around the wheel. Chart the elements of give and take by creating two ratings for each person, one rating from 1-10 for how much you give that relationship and a rating from 1-10 on what you receive in the relationship. Use a different colour for each rating, so you will have two sets of lines to join up at the end and a clear idea of what the balance is across your relationships. Are you giving as much as taking, or taking as much as giving? Which relationships need adjustments where you set more boundaries and which can you do more to support? What action can you take?
3. Energy What are the things that get you jumping out of bed in the morning and to what degree are those energisers happening in your life? It will be different for everyone, it could be dance class, seeing friends, work, family, volunteering, creativity, reading, gardening, cycling. Now include the things that drain you, work, home improvement, decisions, socialising, you should get a very interesting picture of where your energy is going. Whatever it is for you rate the amount of time you are spending on each of these activities. 1 being not much, 10 being plenty. How can you be doing more of the things that energise and less of the things that drain you? Grab your diary and pencil a few in, even it it's just breathing space you schedule. How can you be more organised or delegate around the energy zappers? Even when it's important to you, it's possible you are prioritising other people over yourself so find a friend who has the same challenge and cheer each other on.
5. Mental Load Check out this article for a fun description of mental load, for me this is a concept which is increasingly a problem in many areas of our lives, emails create mental load, for some people social media, the news or politics, in the workplace cutbacks or reorganisation can mean some roles change to include more admin and leave you no time or energy left for planning. Home repairs and clutter are each categories which can create mental load which you try to ignore but they are always niggling at you and can mean you can't quite relax at home. If you are a parent, managing a rota of activities and demands for schools or social lives of your children. If you are a carer, perhaps you are thinking about the demands of more than one household. Create a wheel with categories that outline what is the mental load in your life and rate each area from 1-10 on how in control you feel of each area. Once you have your final wheel mapped out, what are three simple things you can do to reduce your mental load? Come back to this monthly or quarterly and see if you are reducing the load, or if something is finding its way back.
6. Career planning What are the skills and experience you need for your current job and your next possible move, rate each area for your level of competence in each from 1-10. Again, you could do one line of ratings for current state, and perhaps use a second colour to create a desired state set of ratings to show the gaps.
7. Ecosystems This could be a list of contacts against particular goals or intentions you have this year. Maybe there is something you want to learn, so who or what are the people or tools at your disposal. Or perhaps it's a market you want to move your business into, what exists in your network and skills so far, and what's missing. Maybe it's about creating more mindfulness and calm in your life, so what do you have at your disposal, or within reach. You don't necessarily need to rate these, although you may choose to. Next identify what you need to do to make the most of each opportunity. You may choose to start with three, or you may list as many things as possible but only prioritise three until they are completed.
8. One little word. If like me, you set an intention with a single word each year put it in the middle of your wheel and populate the wheel with categories in which your word is important. Rate each category against how satisfied you are that your word is matching your intention in each spoke.
What's one fun or creative thing you can do to, one practical thing and one thing you can do with a buddy to get in tune with your word?
Have fun with your wheels, I would love to see and hear about what you explore and discover.
I stumbled on my favourite way of mapping the wheel of life on Jen Lee's website where she used to sell a Life in bloom worksheet which was the same idea but she turned each category into a petal until each rating gives you a flower. It's so easy to do and especially great for hand drawing as it's so organic so if you don't have a template or a set of rulers to hand this one is easy peasy. Grab some watercolours and add a splash of colour to your blooms.