Balancing different aspects of life — work, play, family, friends and more — is difficult for many people. It’s significantly more challenging for DaVincis — creative people who are also juggling their many talents, projects and ideas. As we see in the vast majority of our coaching clients, Balance is a Top DaVinci Challenge for multi-talented people. This post is the first in a new series of articles devoted to helping DaVincis create, develop and maintain life balance.
Let’s begin by taking stock of your current situation.
Self-Assessment: How Balanced is your Life?
1. How satisfied are you with your life?
Let’s begin by creating a picture of your present life. Literally. First, make a list of the life domains that are important to you (e.g. health/fitness, homelife, social, career/professional, learning/education, spiritual, creative expression, travel/adventure/fun, community service, etc.) — this will be different for everyone so select and label the categories to suit your own unique circumstances. Once you’ve created your personalized list of Important Life Domains, rate your satisfaction with each on a scale of 0 – 10 (where ‘0’ means ‘completely dissatisfied’ and ’10’ means ‘extremely satisfied’.
Next, draw a circle. Divide the circle into equal segments, each representing your personalized list of Important Life Domains. It should look like a perfectly portioned pie. Now, draw a line from the middle of the circle to to the top. Divide the line into equal spaces, numbered 0 – 10. The center of the circle represents ‘0’ while the outer perimeter represents ’10’. Half way is ‘5’ and so on. Using this line as a guide, plot your satisfaction scores for each segment. For a clear image of your current life balance, draw a line to join the plot points. If it looks like a circle, your life is beautifully balanced. If it looks lopsided, some Important Life Domains are getting shortchanged. What’s happening in your circle? Which Important Life Domains need some attention?
2. How much time do you give yourself each day? Each week?
(This is meant to be a general, off-the-cuff estimate… however if you feel compelled to do a detailed analysis of your time use, here’s how).
The point is to be honest: Are you giving yourself short shrift? If so, you’re not alone: in coaching corporate executives and successful artists, it’s astonishing how many clients burst into tears when I asked them if they could give themselves twenty minutes a day. Here’s the thing: if you’re not attending to your own needs, you’re not being effective in meeting the needs of everyone else who depends on you.
3. How much time do you spend growing or nurturing your mind each day? Each week?
Your creativity springs from your vibrant imagination. If you’re not attending to your brain, you are curtailing your creativity. Ditto if you are engaging in behaviors known to harm your brain — like overindulging in alcohol.
4. How healthy are you? How much time do invest in maintaining or strengthening your body each day?
The goal is not to look like an airbrushed magazine cover. The goal is health. This is another fundamental ingredient in life balance. When you take good, basic care of your body, you create the energy to do everything else.
5. To what extent do you engage in your preferred spiritual practices?
Whatever the nature of your spiritual beliefs, it’s essential to incorporate the practices you find fulfilling and soothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekly walk in nature or stopping once a day to meditate or observing particular rituals or simply taking a moment to express appreciation for the blessings in your life. To what extent are you finding time and space to nourish your spirit?
6. How well do you sleep? Do you experience any sleep disturbances?
Studies show that optimum sleep patterns for adults is seven hours a night. DaVincis often have so many thoughts pinging around their brains, they often find it tough to fall asleep. Sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night bursting with ideas. When creative people find their mood dipping down, it can trigger over-sleep and unusual difficulty waking up in the morning. Sometimes multi-talented people deprive themselves of sufficient sleep as a way of trying to gain more productive hours in the day. If this becomes a established pattern, it can have long-term consequences for your physical and mental health.
7. In what shape are your finances?
Are you managing your money effectively? How do you feel about money in general — Fear? Anger? Joy? Avoidance? What are your beliefs about wealth? About wealthy people? Financial concerns and beliefs are enormously important in developing a contented, creative life. How are you faring in this aspect of life?
8. How stressed are you?
On a scale of 0 – 10, how stressed are you on an average day? (Where zero means “I’m a human noodle, completely stress-free” and ten means “I’m shaking, frothing and my hair is about to combust”). Stress is inversely proportional to life balance.
9. To what extent are your ideas being heard and developed?
A key element of life balance is making meaningful contributions to each of your Important Life Domains. For each, ask to what extent your ideas are being heard and developed. You may find that your ideas are flourishing at work but that your thoughts at home are being squelched, silenced or otherwise curtailed. To what extent are you giving yourself the time and space to develop your creative ideas?
10. How well do you treat yourself? How do you reward yourself?
These are two different but equally important questions. How you treat yourself determines how others treat you. How you reward yourself (or don’t) affects your motivation and effectiveness.
Activity: Clear some private, uninterrupted time to go through this self-assessment. Answer each of the 10 questions. In which respects are you balanced? In which are you not? Make a list of what’s working well and what isn’t.
Activity: Stay tuned for our future Balance articles, which will address all of the above topics in terms of creating, developing and maintaining life balance.
If you’d like to share or publish this article, you may, if you include the author’s name, a link to this original post and the following text blurb:
Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/.