Healthy Organized Lifestyle
An Exercise To Help Determine If Your Life Is Out Of Balance June 26, 2015 01:00
A long time ago, I was an overweight stressed out workaholic. I was living a very "out of balance" life which was reflected in my body and health. From being weight, to high blood pressure, borderline diabetes and sleep apnea, my climbing the corporate ladder and my Type A personality were having an ill effect on the quality of my life.
A counselor and friend of mine, told me to do a pie chart analysis on myself to see where I was out of balance. Basically you create two pie charts. One will reflect 5-8 key areas important in life to you and the percent of the pie you think you should be spending time in those areas. These are unique and very individualistic. What’s important for me may not even be on your pie chart. The second pie chart is a depiction of where you’re spending your time now truthfully. No one has to see these.
When I took a good hard look at my out of balance pie, I realized I had become a workaholic with no balance in fitness or fun. I had let 12-16 hour extremely stressful work days take over my life until I was one heavy set unhappy girl. When I saw these two contrasting pie chart results in front of me, I knew I had to make changes. I saw areas I said where important that I was giving no time to. Areas I said weren't that important to me, I made a 50% slice of the pie. The numbers talk! I used this information to make huge changes in my life. I found another position in the company and committed to working only 40 hrs a week. In fact, I had a boss who insisted I cut back when he saw I was starting to overdo my commitment to the office. In addition, I committed to a life of exercise and fitness and lost weight. I committed to enjoying time with friends and time alone. And I made more time for God and prayer in my journey. I made time for romance. As you can see, knowing where to change can be the first baby step in setting yourself up for change.
Won’t you give this exercise a try today and help yourself?
Pie Chart Balancing Exercise
- Draw 2 large circles on a sheet of paper side by side
- On a separate sheet of paper, list 5-8 broad categories of important things in life to you. For instance, Spirituality, Family/Friends, Work/Career, Fun/Entertainment, Physical Fitness, Intellectual, Alone time
- Draw a dot in the very center of the circle. Now, draw “slices of pie” in the 1st circle that represent the ideal percent of time you should spend in each category. The dot in the center is used to draw your slice.
- Now draw “slices of pie” in the 2nd circle that represent the way you are spending your time now – realistically in each category. If you are not spending time in a category that you should be, this is a very narrow tiny slice of pie on the chart. Or you can leave it off altogether
- Now compare your charts. Where are YOU out of balance? Ask yourself why you’re allowing this. What’s driving the out of balance behavior? Revisit your ideal chart and ask yourself if these things ARE important? If so, what can you change to readjust your current pie slices to align to your ideal ones?
We'd love to hear feedback on how this exercise helped you gain a new perspective. Consider emailing your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line: Pie Chart Testimony.
Has technology caused our minds to run ADHD? How to align your daily activities with your long-term goals. June 17, 2015 14:05
It goes something like this – You set out to email a client about case XYZ. As you type line 2 you realize you’re hungry, so you pause and get a snack. As you get the snack, you remember you need to call and make a doctor appointment. You get the doc’s voicemail, so you leave a message. That reminded you that you forgot to call and excuse little Johnny from afternoon PE. You get back to your computer and realize you need to order flowers for Aunt Sally’s 50th in California. So you place the order. Oh yeah, what was I doing? You go back and finish the email. You hit send only to realize you forgot the attachment. You hit “recall”, go to put the attachment in when a colleague walks in and wants to chat about your weekend. Your phone rings – it’s the doctor’s. What appointment did I need to make? Oh yeah, I still need to call the school.
This scenario is extreme, however, maybe some of you can relate – it’s a cycle of distractedness. Not finishing anything all the way before turning to something new. Our minds shuffle from one thing to another like a series of popup ads on a web page.
Could technology in its fullest the past 7-10 years be causing our lack of focus? With the Smartphone came the internet, email, popup messages or “notifications”. Everywhere we turn is a popup live message. Sean commented on Sarah’s picture. Aunt Kathy hit “like” on your picture. Ten more emails in your inbox, and here comes 3 texts and 2 “reminders.” Have we trained our minds to “skim” the surface and not go deep on any one item thus creating a lack of focus and attention? Does this lack of focus cause us to be constantly “busy” but not productive?
If this resonates with you, the next question is do we need to fix it or is it okay? The answer solely depends on the individual and his/her goals. If you are trying to make sales, for instance, yet you never follow through on cold calls or leads, you will ultimately fail. If you are retired and you put off planting flowers for playing golf – no one knows for the better. If you are trying to run a company, yet your day to day activities are scattered and without priority, you might want to take another look.
So how do we fix this? Technology is here to stay – it might even get “worse”!
There are a few techniques that can help of course using technology.
First – make a list of daily priorities that must get done to be successful in achieving your goals. What percent of time out of an 8 hour work day, should you be allocating to these categories? For instance, back to the sales person example, if you should be cold calling 2 hours a day and responding to email 30 minutes, write this down. At this step, do not judge yourself or “fix” it. Just write your categories of importance down that ALIGN TO YOUR GOALS.
Secondly – Prioritize your categories. Of the categories and the designated time allocated to each, are there some categories that are higher priority than others? As a sales person, answering a customer’s email might be higher than turning in reports.
Thirdly – make a list of how you’re spending your day now and the amount of time for each category.
Fourth – compare the ideal (this is how to be successful) list to the current way I’m doing things list. Where are you out of whack? – Analyze what is causing you to miss the boat. Is it distractions? Lack of focus? Lack of prioritizing? Lack of motivation? Avoidance? You need to be super honest with yourself at this stage.
Lastly – Create a new daily schedule using your new prioritized list. Block out time in your calendar for specific items or categories. For instance from 8-10AM I will make cold calls every day. This is blocked out and I close down email, phone, web browsers etc until 10:00. From 10:00-11:00 I return customer’s emails and calls only. This is again, scheduled in your calendar and kept to. Be sure to give yourself some break and free time too. Be realistic.
In summary, Is it a perfect system? No, but with some deliberation, you can gain control of your day to align what you do with what you want to do to be successful. The next time you see notifications and texts etc you might stop and think “Hmmm I’ll look at that after my cold calling time.” Now, that’s a baby step improvement!