I have undertaken monthly reviews as well as wheel of life reviews for some time, however I felt I should be getting more out of these reviews to ensure I was working towards my goals. Although I think the wheel of life is a great tool to help develop your desired life balance, my concern was that it was subjective and therefore probably not a good monitoring tool.
New wheel of life method
To try and resolve this, during May 2009 I kept a note of the tasks and activities I completed, and plotted the number against each of my goal areas. Of course, it is not perfect as I have not been able to make a note of every single task, plus the number of tasks does not necessarily equal time spent on tasks or importance of tasks, but it is fairly quick and easy to keep track.
What I hadn’t expected was how difficult it was to categorise the tasks into my goal areas and they are not necessarily sitting where you would expect;
- sorting files on my computer and reducing emails are under Surroundings
- writing posts for my blog are under Free time
- working on my new blog theme are under Learning
- reviewing transactions and balance of bank accounts is under Other
Build strong and supportive relationships
I’m very pleased that relationships is one of the highest scores because I’ve often felt I don’t keep in touch with friends and family very well. Of course it has helped having a baby as I am in more frequent contact with family members, particularly using Skype so they can see regularly see her. I’ve also uploaded photographs and videos so people.
Spend my time in pleasant surroundings
Looking around the lounge at the moment it doesn’t appear that I’ve made a lot of effort in terms of my surroundings, however my records say different. I’ve tidied and vacuumed my car, I’ve tidied and cleaned the house several times including reviewing items on the kitchen noticeboard and under the coffee table. I’ve also worked to improve my digital surroundings by deleting emails and old software and clearing the desktop.
Feel good about myself, by being healthy, fit and looking good
This is one of my least active areas with the majority of tasks being exercising as I prepared for my run. However, this has had an impact as my weight as reduced by 2.4kg to 74.4kg and means I can fit in some of my pre pregnancy clothes more comfortably.
Have multiple sources of income including passive income
I haven’t made any additional money yet, but I’m investigating a few ideas including two online projects. I’m also wondering if investing in property is a good idea at the moment particularly as I like the idea of having a source of income that is not related to my pension when I retire so I’ve picked up some free books through bookmooch.
Develop a rewarding and challenging career
It is perhaps not surprising that this area is not very active while I’m on maternity leave. However it is good to know that work are missing me as I’ve been asked to analyse data and review the annual report for one project and review an entry form for one of my old projects they wish to enter for an award.
Have time to spend on the things I enjoy
I found it difficult to decide where to list my productivity tasks and in the end I decided on free time because the more productive I am the more time I will have to do the things I want to do. My AutoFocus stats are 68 open pages, 0 dismissed pages, 2 closed pages and 19 pages still to open (compared to last month 68, 1, 0, 5), maybe I want to do too much!
I also worked on a crocheted shawl for a friend, worked on my new blog design, decided on blog hosting (I chose 5 quid hosting) and wrote. At the moment I’m wondering whether to give writing a novel ago. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo twice, but the idea I’ve currently got in my head feels different; it wants time to grow and develop instead of being capture as quickly as possible, but I’m not sure where to start the story at the moment.
I read 3 books in May (although it feels like a lot more so I must have started several)
- Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brien (Amazon)
- Cast in Shadow – Michelle Sagara (Amazon)
- Cast in Courtlight – Michelle Sagara (Amazon)
I’m disappointed I only wrote 3 posts in May, however I have finally decided on a new host company for my blog (5 quid hosting). The number of subscribers reached 195, creaping ever closer to the 200 goal. The highest number of referals was from AutoFocus forum at Ning.
The most read posts were:
- Using AutoFocus (as a new mum)
- Ask advice: new baby what do we need to buy, make or know
- Day planner download files
- Ask advice: how to label keyboard keys
- How I plan my day
Challenge myself by trying new things and through continued learning
Again another low area. Most of the learning has been self development such as learning about php and css as I work on my blog theme or working out how to use Adobe Premier Elements as I edit family videos, but there are also some classes as my daughter and I are attending baby signing classes.
I tried hard not to have an other category, but there are just some activities that don’t fit into my goal areas such as review our money accounts and backing up my websites. This is an area I want to be low and if it increases to the level of the other areas I will know I’ve lost focus.
The areas where I need to increase my number of tasks I’m completing are the learning, career and self area. However, with the lengh of my autofocus list the impact of adding additional tasks in these areas my take a month or two to come through!