Monday, June 9, 2014

The Progressive Planner: The Wheel of Life

Author's Note: I apologize for this coming one day late.  I got an opportunity randomly to see my childhood favorite music artists, the Backstreet Boys, in concert - second row - for free!  How could this rocker chick not honor her inner fifth-grader?

AJ McLean squeezed my hand and sang to me!  I felt like a kid all over again.  It was spectacular and completely unexpected.  Some photo proof of my experience:

With that being said, onward to the post!

Today, I'll be discussing my Wheel of Life.  Last year, I had no idea where to begin with goal setting.  What specific steps did I need to take to rebuild?  How did I know how many to take?  That's when I discovered something many were calling the "Wheel of Life."  You begin with a center - your Wheel if you will - and divide a circle up into as many sections of your life as you'd like.  You then shade each section from center to outer edge based on how fulfilled you feel with that area.

Liking the visual nature of the project, I discovered a program a little program called Wheel of Life.  By separating my life into eight key areas on a pie chart and shading each slice up to the point where I felt happy, I was able to determine not only the subjects I needed to focus on but the number of steps I should take to fulfill my life.

Here's last year's pie chart:

If you'd like to try this out, you can download the program here

As you can see, I was all over the place.  The concept behind the Wheel of Life is that a wheel should be fairly circular to carry its cargo (ie You!).  This wheel wasn't getting me anywhere.  It was from this base that I created an easier-to-understand chart which I used for the rest of the year.

And here's what my chart looked like by the end of the year:

According to this, I had ten steps left to achieve a full 100% for 2013.  Some of these were duplicates, such as "Lose Weight" compared to the two "Lose 15 Pounds," and "Meditate" in both Personal and Spiritual.  Subtracting those, I came up with a final eight steps left over.

In my December 10th, 2013 post, I talked about how I'd like to get to a point where I only have two goals in each area for a total of 16 goals total.  I feel like that's a good basis to start with, and represents a well-rounded life steadily striving to make progress rather than making leaps and bounds to move forward.

Here's what an ideal beginning-of-the-year goal chart would look like:

With this in mind, I began adding steps left over from last year.  With four steps left in Financial, three in Health, and one in Spiritual after removing duplicates, I decided to simply plug in those exact blank steps into each section.  I ended up with something like this:

(Yeah, I know, that bottom one should be 63%.  I'll fix it later.)
As you can see from my annotations, this chart is significantly better than last year.  Even in the two sections with the least amount of shaded blocks, I either improved or broke even.  The only reason I have sections in the negative is because I'm now implementing that two goal per section rule.  I hope to see a lot more pluses and equal signs at the end of 2014.

In case you need a visual reference for this, I plugged this back in to my Wheel of Life program (where they made some updates so you can actually change the titles on the wheel!).


And now, because I'm OCD and a pagan, I feel the need to sort these titles in a way that reflects the colors adequately.  This is mostly a reference for next year too.

Yeah.  OCD pagan.  I have issues.  Anyway.

This year, I'm taking a different approach to my goals by tackling the initial goal planning in two separate ways.

Step One: Goal Brainstorming

I'm starting with my Pentacle Goal Worksheet I created last September to brainstorm for potential goals.  This sheet uses the elements as a guide, this serves as a rough goal planner to lay down some basic ideas.  If you'd like to download that for your own use, click here!

Here's what my completed goal sheet looks like:

Step Two: Goal Planning

While looking up some of the goals on my worksheet above, I ran across Get Organized Wizard's Life and Goal Organizer.  A lot.  Like, a ridiculous amount.  Mostly because, as I discovered upon purchase, a lot of my goals align with worksheets in their interactive PDF designed to help you achieve your goals.  These worksheets might actually walk me through achieving each goal. 

In truth, I won't honestly know if it was a keen investment until the end of the year, but I'm willing to splurge a little (as I did with my first planner) to meet my goals.

Step Three: Purchase a New Planner.

I have a planner for 2014.  It's full of failed attempts at trying to schedule my life.  A new planner could provide the opportunity for a blank slate.  It's an odd time to buy a new planner as the school planners aren't out yet and it's way past January, but I want to see if I can't find something nice.  Until then, I'll use my old planner to manage everything.  I can't wait for that fresh start though.

If anyone has solid suggestions for a planner, let me know!  I really, truly and deeply loved the style of my first planner.  It was well sized, had every day split into five sections of your choice for your daily to-do, a monthly overview, task stickers.  The works!  Unfortunately, the company no longer carries it - I tried to get it again when I bought in January and ended up with an over-sized planner so that I could have my daily lists.  It's no longer spit into sections and didn't come with task stickers.  Sad!  The company that sold my first planner did bring back the Do It All series for 2015 and includes August, but every single one is "out of stock."  Might have to wait until August to get my hands on the kind of planner I want.

The pink isn't a necessity but, you know, a huge plus.

I'm going to go straight into the next post, which will encompass my career goals, since I fell behind thanks to the concert.  It should be posted shortly.  Thank you for all of your support!

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