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The daily grind, I bet you’re familiar with it. Aren’t we all? That’s what being an adult is about anyway, right? I certainly thought that before. But here’s something for you: it’s ONE way of living. There are many others, and no one can tell you which one is best.
I love work. I enjoy what I do for a living, and for the longest time, that was at the expense of other areas of my life, which I didn’t know about. I mean, I knew about them, but until I mapped it out, I wasn’t aware of how bad things got in a few areas.
I gained more self-awareness the day I was introduced to the Wheel of Life. It looks like this:
You may have heard of it before. It’s a great tool. But the numbers on there mean nothing unless you can specify why you put that number in the first place. And so to me, a wheel wasn’t the ideal format, even if it looks appealing.
That’s why I created the Map of Life that you see at the top of this article. Like the Wheel of Life, it fits on one page, but it allows space for writing down why you put the number you put and what you want to improve on going forward.
The eight categories I chose are standard ones, but it’s up to you to decide which areas of your life you want to reflect on.
How to fill out your Map of Life
- Decide on the branches you want to reflect on (or keep the default ones)
- For each branch, give the score you feel you’re currently at on a scale of 0 to 10. Don’t think too hard. Spend at most one minute for all branches.
- Next, go through those you’re satisfied with and write one or two sentences about your current situation. For those, feel free to skip writing what and how you want to improve. Note that you can score low in something and still be satisfied with that for the moment. There’s only so much you can improve in the short-term.
- Finally, go through those you’re not satisfied with and write one or two sentences about your current situation, as well as what you want to improve and how you’re going to improve it. This is the most important step.
How it raises your focus
Peter Drucker said:
“There’s nothing so useless as doing something efficiently that which should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker
How do you know what should not be done at all?
Well, first, you now know why which areas of your life are lacking. It’s crazy how, before doing a reflection similar to the Map of Life, we’re not really aware of where we stand in these areas of life.
And things change too. Sometimes faster than we think. I sometimes surprise myself writing much different numbers even just a month after having done the exercise. And this goes both ways: sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative.
That’s why I now do this exercise monthly.
Ever since I started doing that, I knew exactly where I needed to channel my energy. People are good at telling you you should workout and eat healthily, for example. Well, that’s one pillar, and one that might not be that important for you at this time.
A month ago, I asked Ajith, my assistant, how was his workout routine going. He told me he had stopped. I asked him why and he said that he really doesn’t enjoy working out. Simply, it wasn’t a priority for Ajith to workout.
And you know what?
It’s completely fine!
He focused on other areas of his life. He was able to channel his energy on the things that mattered to him.
Where do you want to focus your energy?
How it raises your motivation
By focusing on what matters most to you and having a sense of how you can improve things, you are more motivated to do it.
Think about the eight areas of life you chose. Which one(s) motivate(s) you the most?
Certainly, some motivate you more than others, and there’s really no shame in it. For example, some people would put a high priority on family. My current score in “family” is 3 and there’s nothing I want to change about it for now. I’m not motivated to improve it.
What motivates me currently is improving my businesses and finances. If you had asked me three months ago, I had no motivation to increase my finances, I was fine with it sitting at 3.
If health isn’t something you’re motivated to do at the moment, it’s hard to force it. Choose other pillars of life to focus your energy one and you’ll start feeling a lot more motivated.
And notice how I’ve been using the words “for now” and “currently”? Things change. Sometimes health is what motivates me. Sometimes it’s personal development. Sometimes I just want to have fun. All of this is fine.
By filling out your Map of Life regularly, you gain more self-awareness. You are aware of where you should focus your energy and gain more motivation by doing the things that really matter to you.
So, grab a pen and paper (or print the above image) and map your life out!
You can do this!
For extra help with self improvement and more, check out dannyforest.com.