Every once in a while I make a mind map of my life – what I am doing and what I would like to do. It’s a way to be mindful about how my life is going, and to guide it. Serendipity has its place, but some discipline and “nudging” does, too!
Sometimes I map to solve a problem, such as “How should I set priorities on my time?” Or, I do a round-up of my current situation and see where the exercise takes me.
The key to success for me is to put myself at the centre of the map. Not my family or job or commitments. Sounds scary, doesn’t it – to make a big statement: “This is all about ME!” I think personal satisfaction and growth are paramount. If I continually minimize my own wants and needs, they will eventually surface in the form of resentment toward what others are “making” me do.
I rate whether the “areas” of my life are balanced in a way I like, if they can be changed, and how. It’s like budgeting, really!
Today I started with this diagram of the main areas of my life. When I say “areas,” I am referring to categories of stuff I do!
In real life, nothing is segmented into areas quite so well…there’s an overlap between home and work, and technology in both, and health underpinning it all, and so forth.
Then I get into more detail:
As I mapped everything, I got more specific, and it started to show how I spent my time. It also showed how I visualize and value each part of my life. For example, I didn’t put any bullet points next to my spouse and child on the second map – I don’t think of them as “areas” that require work! It’s not that I ignore them – just that they don’t need to be part of an overhaul of my life priorities!
I was interested to see (after the fact) that I had grouped my life into the quadrants of home, work, other responsibilities, and fun. As it happens, I spend the greatest part of my time at work and on home-related chores. I see all of the work and home responsibilities as “givens” that I don’t need to dwell upon because they will always get done. I can see that “fun” is the area I most want to expand upon!
Now I have grouped FUN into categories (sounds like something I would do, doesn’t it?) and I listed things I’d like to try. I’m ending my process here, because I have all kinds of ideas and enthusiasm. I will just pick something off the page now and again – and schedule a few as needed (like the photography course and the theatre subscription).
Do you ever analyze how your life is going, or decide you need a shake-up? How do you decide what needs attention?