What regrets might you have at the end of your life? Regrets about how time was spent are common: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard; ” “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”; “ I wish I’d taken better care of myself”. It’s horribly easy to waste time on activities that don’t serve you. Given that time is a limited resource, it’s worth knowing how you’re using it. This Life Balance Pie Chart exercise provides an overview of where your time goes and prompts you to consider if it’s time well spent.
Make a list of the 5 or 6 things that are most important to you. What do you most value in your life? What’s essential to your well-being? What nurtures you? What gives meaning to your life? This is a useful exercise in itself, so give it some time. When you’re done, set the list aside. It can be helpful to take a break before you go to Stage Two but it’s not essential.
Identify the half dozen or so areas of your life that take most of your time. These could include work, family time, down time, friends, chores (cooking, cleaning), exercise, sleep, commuting, etc.
Next, draw a circle. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you can draw around the edge of a plate if that helps. This circle represents the time you have available each week. Divide the circle into segments representing roughly in size the amount of time you currently spend on the main areas of your life. It doesn’t need to be mathematically accurate – you just want an approximate visual representation of how you use your resources. It can be easier to do this using a pencil as you might need to play around with this a bit. It’s easy to over or underestimate how much time you spend on each area and this only becomes apparent when you start to fill in the circle. Once you’ve marked out roughly how you spend your time, sit back and see what you notice. Are there any surprises?
Now go back to the list of the 5 or 6 things that are most important to you. Does the amount of time you actually spend correspond with your list of priorities? For example, what if you identified your family as your highest priority, but they only get a few hours a week? Or you listed health as your number 2 priority, but exercise only gets a thin slice of time? Some things simply have to be done, but there’s probably room for adjustments. Could you cut down on watching TV or use your commuting time more creatively?
You might like to draw a second circle of the same size, similarly divided into segments, but this time representing life as you would like it to be. If there’s a big gap between where you are now and where you’d like to be, The Power of Intention might be useful. Or try some Visualization techniques. If you’d like some support on your journey, get in touch.