A bicycle wheel that is out of balance won't run true. Neither will a life.

Just as a bicycle wheel must be adjusted periodically to run true, in life it's important to focus on the areas that require daily attention to stay in balance. Otherwise, the bumps in the road will get you.

20070101ZiglarPriorityWheel.jpg

I've kept a record of both and I find that the gap between my stated priorities and my actual priorities can be large at times. I needed a better way to manage and track my performance so that I could see if what I did matched up with my stated priorities.

In the early 90's, I took my staff to hear Zig Ziglar and several other successful people (including George Sr. and Barbara Bush, Elisabeth Dole, and Mary Lou Retton, to name a few) speak on the topic of success, motivation, and peak performance.  Each shared their tips for successful performance and a balanced life. One of the areas that Ziglar encouraged us to look at was how we were planning and investing our time. He proposed that time and money were two excellent indicators of our priorities.

I purchased a Ziglar Performance Planner for this purpose in 1994 but I did not actually use the planner until many years later and then only as a record of how I used my time, not as a true planner. I still refer back to the Ziglar Performance Planner, however, because I like the helpful pages related to defining your goals and planning for a balanced life. While I try to do this year-round, it seems that I focus most intently on this at the start of each year.

Ziglar arrange key areas of focus like spokes on a wheel. Here are the areas that he recommends that we focus on each day:

Physical
Mental
Spiritual
Recreational
Family
Career
Social
Financial

Ziglar suggests that these need to be in balance in order for the wheel to run true. I like that metaphor.

2006 was an amazing year of accomplishment for me, but it was not a year of balance. My goal for 2007 is to achieve more balance in the above areas so that I can honor God, serve my family, and live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

While I like the look and feel of a paper planner, it does not integrate will into my digital lifestyle. (I use Lotus Notes and the eProductivity Template to track and manage my projects and actions according to the GTD methodology.)

I'm taking a few days off to organize and clarify my goals and objectives for 2007. As I do, I'll be referring to the Ziglar Performance Planner to help me clarify my goals for 2007.  

I'll post some thoughts here as a way of crystalizing my thinking and sharing what I learn in the process.

Discussion/Comments (6):

Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

What do you consider balance? Is it symetrical? Just a couple of points to ponder.

Posted at 1/2/2007 1:30:54 PM by Ron Robison


Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

Balance is good, of course, but where/how do you also "balance" while "prioritizing?" Seems to me that some areas of a "balanced life" are, in fact, more important than others (spiritual, family, health, etc.). Since I also struggle with balance at times, I'm curious to know some of your own specific, personal, thoughts on it. Hope you and the family had a great holiday season!

Posted at 1/2/2007 8:49:35 PM by Art Forrest


re: Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

Good question, Ron. To me, the image of a balanced wheel an objective state in which I am careful to focus on each aspect (spoke) of my life. Do I live in that state? rarely. Do I focus equal attention on each spoke every day? So far, not yet.

I still like this picture of a wheel that needs to be balanced in order to run true. With this image I can drop things and focus on the urgent yet be reminded that my life runs more smoothly when I focus on each area of importance. Right now, I'm preparing to launch a new company and I know that I will be overextended in some areas. At the same time, the wheel lets me know what I will be giving up and what I want to get back to.

Posted at 1/3/2007 1:58:03 PM by Eric Mack


re: Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

Hi Art,

If you saw me riding down the road, I wobble a LOT. One of my goals for 2007 is to consider the spokes of this wheel when I choose what to focus my attention on. All to often I find that I've made a decision on teh baiss of what;s in front of me, sometimes at the cost to other areas of importance. This year, I'm working on making sure that a) I'm more aware of these areas of focus and b) i consider them when I do my planning.

Posted at 1/3/2007 2:00:35 PM by Eric Mack


Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

Good idea. The only risk is you mislead yourself.

How about 360 degree feedback. Give it to friends, relatives, coworkers, boss, spouse, children, etc. anonymous or not to analyze you.

Posted at 2/14/2007 10:29:08 AM by misterian


re: Is it time to rebalance your life’s priorities?

360 Degree feedback is a wonderful exercise to get feedback from people around you. This wheel is useful, in a similar way, to help you eveluate yourself on a daily basis. Both are useful feedback tools.

Posted at 2/18/2007 12:38:30 AM by Eric Mack



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