There are various techniques you can use to take stock of your personal life, and the Wheel of Life is a very simple but effective one. The tool is well-known by career coaches, but we’ll show you how you can make it work for you in different ways so you can analyse your situation with ease and conduct your own self-assessment.
How do you use the Wheel of Life?
Some of the most important resources we have are finite. There are only 24 hours in a day. We can only pay attention to so many things at a time. Sometimes we can get so lost in the minutiae of the everyday rush that we forget to take a step back and look at the big picture.
The Wheel of Life is a handy tool to assess how much of your resources such as time, attention, or energy you assign to each area of your life. You can easily see the direction in which the chart skews and ask yourself whether it is aligned with your values and aspirations.
To get started, print out the wheel. Next, fill in each box up to the number that you think represents each area of your life (10 indicates that you are fully satisfied). Once the wheel is complete, you’ll have an overview of your current situation and the areas you would like to work on.
For some exercises you will need the blank wheel. We have created it in a way that will allow you to choose either 5 or 10 areas each time.
What can you assess with the Wheel of Life?
There are many ways to use this tool. You can pick any area of your life or any phenomenon that you would like to experience more - or less - of. Let’s look at 12 ideas proposed by the Coaching Tools Company.
For this exercise, print the blank wheel. Then, list the 10 main areas in your life which cause you stress or frustration. Once you’ve done this, score each area out of 10 (10 indicating maximum stress or frustration) in terms of the stress or frustration it causes. After, take a look at your completed wheel and think about whether there are any surprise results. Also consider what constructive steps you could take to lower the scores and help you move forward in a more positive way.
You can fill in the Wheel of Life multiple times over a certain period, perhaps monthly or every three months. This way, you can see at a glance the progress you’ve made in all the different areas of the wheel, and those where some changes might still need to be made. The key is to stay positive and keep striving for progress.
3. Happiness, Fun or Excitement
You can also use this blank wheel here. Identify 10 things which you find fun or which make you feel excited or happy. Where you go from here is up to you: you could either rate how satisfied you are with each of the different areas, how happy each one makes you, or how keen you are to do each of the things. It’s entirely your choice, but don’t forget to note down some actions you could take to boost each of the areas. Some actions are likely to increase your happiness, fun or excitement across various areas!
The wheel is a great tool to help you understand your life and any issues in a detailed manner. A useful exercise could therefore involve choosing one of the sections and then listing 10 more areas which form part of that section. For example, if you took the “Money and Finance” section, you might think about things like savings (monthly and for particular projects), budgeting, targeting a pay rise at work… there are various possibilities.
It’s just as important to be kind to yourself as it is to other people. Because of this, think about 10 areas in life where you could afford to be kinder to yourself. When scoring the different areas, think about how kind and compassionate you are to yourself at the moment, so you can see where changes need to be made. Once you’ve done this, take the 3 areas where most kindness is needed and work out what steps you could take to improve things.
It’s sometimes difficult to set goals for yourself, but you can use the Wheel of Life to help you. If you record a particularly low score in one area, this indicates that it could be useful to set a goal to improve your score. However, a high score doesn’t mean no goal is needed. In fact, setting a goal for an area where you already have a high score will give you a real boost and lead to improvements in multiple areas which will have a positive impact on your life and career in the long term.
Write down your top 10 priorities in life generally, relating to relationships, work, home, etc. Then, identify the 3 which represent your top priorities and score your satisfaction for these out of 10 (10 being the maximum). This is a great way to prioritise particular goals, and it’s also helpful to compare your top priorities to the lower priorities to assess whether you need to shift your focus in life or whether your top priorities are as they should be.
The wheel is not exclusively for scoring areas to work on; you can also use it to work out actions that you need to take in one particular area. For this exercise, use a blank wheel and think about certain goals or targets in your work that you’d like to meet within a month, three months or year. Depending on how broad your responsibilities are, you can have multiple wheels for each area, covering various sub-topics. For example, for sales you might include identifying a new sales channel, developing a new product or following up on customer feedback, while marketing could cover use of social media and improving your visibility, creating a newsletter or networking.
9. Skills and Knowledge
Make a list of the top 10 areas where you feel you have a skill or knowledge gap and where further experience or training could be useful to help you secure a promotion or new job opportunity. Award each area with a score out of 10 based on how close you are to filling in the gap, before assessing what steps you need to take to get rid of the gap altogether. Always make sure that the skills you identify are attainable and skills you actually wish to gain, as this is crucial for motivation and success!
10. Action Planning
Using a wheel can make action planning a more enjoyable task. Take a blank wheel and write your goals or targets at the top. Then, write down the next 10 actions you need to take to move towards achieving these goals and targets. Make sure to write a date next to each action you plan to take. That way, you can assess roughly how close you are to reaching where you want to be in each area, which will boost your motivation. It will also make you realise that all of your goals are achievable.
This wheel is particularly personal as it involves listing the 10 people who you consider to energise or drain you most when working or spending time with them, and scoring this (10 being fully energised). Next, consider roughly what fraction of your time you spend with each person, and think about how you could spend more time with the people who make you feel positive and reduce the amount of time spent with the others, or change the way you spend time with them to make it more positive.
12. Finding Love
The final innovative use of the Wheel of Life is to help you work out what you want in a relationship. Take a blank wheel and write down the 10 key characteristics or qualities your ideal partner would possess, before scoring these out of 10 in terms of importance, 10 being most important. By doing this, you’ll soon see which qualities you consider most valuable, beyond more superficial concerns such as physical appearance.
Of course, you don’t have to restrict yourself to a wheel with 5 or 10 sections each time; you can create your own with as few or as many sections as you like! Whatever you decide to do, remember that the aim of the wheel is to help you take a positive but constructive outlook to either one specific area or all areas of your life to help you make progress. Fun and motivation are the key!