Wheel of Life Assessment Tool
How balanced is your life? The Wheel of Life assessment tool is one of the most useful methods that we at ViGEO use for assessing balance in life. It is a well-known tool used by life coaches across the world.
We like it for two reasons. First, it enables you to visualize every part of your life in one location by giving you an accurate picture of your life as it is now side-by-side with how you want your life to be. Second, it helps you to review how you spend your time so that you can make course corrections for how you want your life to be in the days ahead. If done well, and at regular intervals, this simple exercise can bring life-changing shifts in your priorities.
In this blog, we will help you to use the wheel of life to assess your time, reflect on your priorities, and act on making your life more balanced.
The Wheel of Life will help you to assess your priorities. All you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and 15-30 minutes to make your own personalized wheel of life.
Here is how it works:
1. Write down eight roles/routines in your life (or 10, 12, etc., it has to be an even number). These roles/routines are important to you, or that take a lot of your time during the week. They could be roles that are relational, work-related, societal, etc. Or they could be routines for personal growth, skill development, etc..
Here are examples of some possible roles/routines: Husband/Wife, Father/Mother, Career, Reading, Exercise, Entertainment, Spiritual Life, Social Work.
2. Draw five concentric circles, one within the next. Then divide them into equal sectors (like a pizza) using lines, according to the number of roles/routines you listed above (e.g. if you listed eight roles/routines, then draw four lines. If you listed ten roles/routines, then draw five lines.). It should look like this:
3. Write each role/routine next to each sector of the wheel. Add a percentage of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% at the edge of each circle. Here is how it might look now:
4. Now, it’s time to consider your ideals. Next to each role/routine, write in brackets the hours per week that you ideally want to spend in that particular role/routine. (For example, if you write “reading” and want to spend 30 minutes a day doing so, write 3.5 hours in brackets on the wheel.) Here is how it might look now:
5. After considering the ideal time per week for each role/routine, think about the actual time that you spend per week. If it is the same time that you would ideally want to spend, put an ‘x’ mark where the corresponding line meets the outermost circle. If the actual time is less than the ideal, put an ‘x’ mark where the corresponding line meets the appropriate circle (80%, 60%, 40%, and 20% from outer to inner). Here is how it could look:
6. Finally, once all the ‘x’ marks are plotted, join the adjacent ‘x’ marks with straight lines to get an enclosed figure. Here is an example:
Reflect & Act
Ideally, the wheel of time should be a circle. But for most of us, it’s not. Now, it’s time to reflect and act. Here are some reflection questions you might ask yourself:
In which roles/routines do I spend less time than ideal?
In which roles/routines do I spend more time than ideal?
Why do I overspend or underspend my time in particular roles/routines?
Do I need to adjust my expectations for time spent in a role/routine?
The answers to these questions will help you to know how and why you may have become off-balanced. But, they don’t necessarily tell you what to do next. The most important step at the end of this assessment is to ACT! Here are two action steps you can take today:
In one role/routine where you spend less time than ideal, write down one thing you will start doing today to bring balance. (Make sure you start small!)
In one role/routine where you spend more time than ideal, write down one thing you will stop doing today to bring balance. (This could mean reordering your schedule, delegating responsibilities, etc.)
This tool is great to use for a monthly review so that you can objectively look at how you spend your time and where you need to grow. See it as a semi-regular “wheel-alignment” tool to bring balance back to your life!