The Wheel of Life®

Finding Balance in Your Life

"Wheel of Life" is a trademark of Meyer Resource Group, Inc. "Success Motivation" is a trademark of Success Motivation, Inc. (see www.success-motivation.com). We have no association or connection with these organizations.

The Wheel of Life

Put your life under the microscope.

© iStockphoto/Snowleopard1

When life is busy, or all your energy is focused on a special project, it's all too easy to find yourself off balance, not paying enough attention to important areas of your life. While you need to have drive and focus if you're going to get things done, taking this too far can lead to frustration and intense stress.

That's when it's time to take a "helicopter view" of your life, so that you can bring things back into balance.

This is where the Wheel of Life® (or Life Wheel) can help. Commonly used by professional life coaches, it helps you consider each area of your life in turn and assess what's off balance. As such, it helps you identify areas that need more attention.

Figure 1 below shows an example wheel of life with example "dimensions" (we'll explain how to choose the right areas of life or dimensions for you below).

Figure 1 – Wheel of Life Example

Wheel of Life Example

The Wheel of Life is powerful because it gives you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you'd ideally like it to be. It is called the "Wheel of Life" because each area of your life is mapped on a circle, like the spoke of a wheel. The concept was originally created by Paul J. Meyer, founder of Success Motivation® Institute, Inc.

Using the Tool

There are two ways you can use this tool. One is to use our interactive tool below (click on the diagram to activate it).

Alternatively, use the following steps to create your Life Wheel by hand and assess your balance. (This allows you to define your own dimensions.)

Start by downloading our free worksheet which contains a blank Wheel of Life diagram as shown in figure 2, below.

Figure 2 – Wheel of Life Template

Wheel of Life Template

1. Brainstorm Life Areas

Start by brainstorming the six to eight dimensions of your life that are important for you. Different approaches to this are:

  • The roles you play in life, for example: husband/wife, father/mother, manager, colleague, team member, sports player, community leader, or friend.
  • Areas of life that are important to you, for example: artistic expression, positive attitude, career, education, family, friends, financial freedom, physical challenge, pleasure, or public service.
  • Your own combination of these (or different) things, reflecting the things that are your priorities in life.

2. Write These Down on the Wheel

Write down these dimensions on the diagram, one on each spoke of the life wheel.

3. Assess Each Area

This approach assumes that you will be happy and fulfilled if you can find the right balance of attention for each of these dimensions. And different areas of your life will need different levels of attention at different times. So the next step is to assess the amount of attention you're currently devoting to each area.

Consider each dimension in turn, and on a scale of 0 (low) – to 10 (high), write down the amount of attention you're devoting to that area of your life. Mark each score on the appropriate spoke of your Life Wheel.

4. Join Up the Marks

Now join up the marks around the circle. Does your life wheel look and feel balanced?

5. Think About Your Ideal Level

Next it's time to consider your ideal level in each area of your life. A balanced life does not mean getting 5 in each life area: some areas need more attention and focus than others at any time. And inevitably you will need to make choices and compromises, as your time and energy are not in unlimited supply!

So the question is, what would the ideal level of attention be for you in each life area?

Plot the "ideal" scores around your life wheel too.

6. Take Action

Now you have a visual representation of your current life balance and your ideal life balance. What are the gaps? These are the areas of your life that need attention.

And remember that gaps can go both ways. There are almost certainly areas that are not getting as much attention as you'd like. However there may also be areas where you're putting in more effort than you'd ideally like. These areas are sapping energy and enthusiasm that may better be directed elsewhere.

Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it's time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance. Starting with the neglected areas, what things do you need to start doing to regain balance? In the areas that currently sap your energy and time, what can you stop doing or reprioritize or delegate to someone else? Make a commitment to these actions by writing them on your worksheet.

Tip:

You can use the Wheel of Life as preparation for goal setting   or coaching. It helps identify the areas you want to work on and is a great way of visualizing your current and desired life. Once you are working on improving your life balance, it's also a useful tool for monitoring your life balance as it changes over time.

Key Points

The Wheel of Life is a great tool to help you improve your life balance. It helps you quickly and graphically identify the areas in your life to which you want to devote more energy, and helps you understand where you might want to cut back.

The challenge now is to transform this knowledge and desire for a more balanced life into a positive program of action.

Download Worksheet

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Comments (13)
  • Dianna wrote Over a month ago
    Hi nailya - welcome to the forums! Great to see you are interested in achieving balance. I personally believe it is one of the core elements of a happy life and satisfying career. When Iget out of balance everything seems to suffer and I try to keep a firm grip on all parts of my life to avoid this kind of melt down. Easier said than done, and it takes constant work but I'm very happy to put in the time because I know the rewards are there.

    Cheers! If there is anything I can help you with around the Club please let me know. in the meantime enjoy your time here!

    Dianna
  • nailya wrote Over a month ago
    hi this is for you
  • bigk wrote Over a month ago
    Hi

    I had quick look at this book too and it has appeal although I could see the USP in the commentary, it still sounds worth investigating...

    But afterwards, it seems to need your own contribution about how to align it to your own needs and situations.
    The good thing is there are many here who could support each other, so perhaps when there is common agreement we can help one another when there is a ? moment that wants an alternative view...

    Still ready to drop any of this to help or be helpful and also help myself.

    Bigk
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Wow...sounds like a "must have" book Bree....I can hear my bookshelf groaning... "oh no, not, another one!"
    Managing your energy is indeed an interesting thought and one that we can sure concentrate on more.

    Cheers
    Y
  • Bree wrote Over a month ago
    I definitely like the concept of work effectiveness - work smarter, not necessarily longer!!

    Many organisations, like Yolande said, believe that working late was equal to being a good/loyal/productive person I've seen it myself (and I imagine many of us have as well!) where people are working long hours, get more tired and then it takes that much longer to get anything done.

    I'm always an advocate to take a break when you are feeling tired and sluggish, so that you can come back with a renewed and reinvigorated focus! There are still times when I work hard to get something done and it feels like I'm swimming up-stream against a strong current ... even when I know that if I just take a bit of a break, I'll be able to get back on task and it will be that much easier! I am learning though!!

    This reminds me of the subtitle of an excellent book, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, not time,is the key to high performance and personal renewal. The book helps to become 'physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned' ... powerful stuff!!

    Bree
  • bigk wrote Over a month ago
    Hi

    I agree, effectiveness is easier than just looking at getting or using balance.

    I also agree with these comments: A well-rested, well balanced person is much more effective and productive than a stressed out, unbalanced, chronically tired person. Managing work and life outside of work can be challenging, but we all owe it to ourselves to get some physical exercise.

    Improvements by identifying and implementing.


    Bigk
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Zuni

    I rather like the idea of work-life effectiveness...

    I also worked for an organisation at a stage, where no-one working normal office hours was ever considered for promotion - it was sort of culture, that working late was equal to being a good/loyal/productive person...which is of course not necessarily true. Needless to say, we had quite an alarming rate of burnout amongst the managers!

    A well-rested, well balanced person is much more effective and productive than a stressed out, unbalanced, chronically tired person. Managing work and life outside of work can be challenging, but we all owe it to ourselves to get some physical exercise. We also need to do something other than work whether it is woodwork, pottery, photography..whatever - but we have to have balance in our focus as well (if that makes sense...)!

    Kind regards
    Yolandé
  • zuni wrote Over a month ago
    Hi all,

    As others have commented, this is a terrific tool. I agree with Sabriyyah that the life wheel complements the 7 Habits very well.

    Our CEO has asked HR to conduct research on management work hours. In her opinion managers are not working long enough hours, although the work standard is 37.5 hours per week. That said, many managers work many more hours a week than this. Getting the balance right between workforce productivity and work-life balance is tough. I can see using this wheel with employees to help them figure out how to better manage their life and work.

    A health and wellness specialist in our organization recently returned from a conference where it was stated that work-life balance is no longer the objective, but rather work life effectiveness. Perhaps effectively managing work and life challenges is a more reasonable goal as we grapple with the economic turbulence many countries are experiencing today.

    Thoughts?

    Zuni
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Sabriyyah


    Many thanks for alerting us to the link that isn't working properly. I passed it on to our IT team to sort out.
    Yes - you are right, the Wheel of Life does seem to fit in very nicely with the 7 Habits! From here on, you can only go forward and upward!


    Kind regards
    Yolandé
  • sabriyyah wrote Over a month ago
    Looks like a useful tool. I am currently working through the 7 Habits and this fits in well with thinking about my vison and mission. Many thanks.
    FYI I tried to follow the link to the Life and Career Coaching but it seems to be broken.
Show all comments

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