How to make a work-life balance pie chart

One neat exercise to help you figure out if your priorities are out of whack is to make a Work-Life Balance Pie Chart. Simple Living is about being a conscious consumer of time; to spend your time aligned with what is important to you.

  1. Create a list of the 5 or 6 things that are most important to you. My list might look something like:
    • Health
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Global issues/responsibility
    • Creative outlets
  2. Create a list of all the activities you do in a week and estimate how many hours you spend on them. Categories could include: work, family time, down time, socializing (friends), chores (cooking, cleaning, errands), exercise, sleep, commuting, etc.
  3. Calculate your percentages and put them in a pie chart. Having this pictorial representation of how you spend your day will give you a sense of what areas in your life eat up the most of your time and what areas you are neglecting.

Here’s an example from my average week (give or take a few hours here and there):

Priorities:

  1. Health
  2. Family and friends
  3. Entrepreneurship
  4. Global issues/responsibility
  5. Creative outlets

Activities and hours spent per week:

  • sleep (38)
  • work (32)
  • TV (18)
  • time for family & friends (11)
  • internet (12)
  • chores (8)
  • commuting (8)
  • writing (5)
  • exercise (4)
  • reading (1)

Do the percentages correspond with my list of priorities? If not, it may be time for me to take a good hard look at my life and make some changes.

For example, I listed my health as being my number 1 priority but exercise only occupies about 2% of my time. Compare that to the shameful 11% of my time I spend watching Seinfeld reruns. I could definitely trim some hours off that category and get into a good workout routine.

At the same time, balancing things out doesn’t always have to mean cutting things out. It can also mean being smarter about how you spend your time. If I simply can’t miss an episode of True Blood, perhaps  another solution may be to simply get an exercise bike in my TV room.

Or maybe I can get a better fill of literature (reading currently occupying only 1% of my time) by getting some books on CD for my long drives into work.

Realizing your life balance is out of whack is the first step. Finding ways to restore some of that balance is the next one. What priorities in your life are you neglecting? This exercise can be a great way to help figure that out.

Until next time,

Keep it simple.

_________________________

Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more.

sleep

work

TV

time for family & friends

internet

chores

commuting

writing

exercise

reading

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2 Responses to How to make a work-life balance pie chart

  1. Pingback: Hay Bale to the Head: A lesson in work-life balance | Josh Martin Ink

  2. This is a nice, simple exercise Josh. Another set of priorities might look like:
    Work / Family / Relationship / Exercise / Sleep / Social Time / Personal Leisure.
    I’ve worked in coaching and counselling with people who are trying to recover time from their Internet use and we have used similar activities to see where time is going now and where it might go in an ideal situation. Thanks for stating it so clearly.

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