May 012008

Life areas can help provide greater clarity when thinking about your life or planning. As you may know, I think of life areas as a sort of mid-level life management model. The purpose is at the top, but this is way more practical, including for things which don’t necessarily have to do with your purpose, such as doing the laundry.

As I’ve written previously about the two or three modes of life areas, here’s the third big idea in using life areas to manage your life: your roles and responsibilities in each area.

I use life areas to manage my life for a number of reasons. One is that I don’t have absolute congruence in my life, that is, everything in my life is not directed by or driven by the same thing. The second is that I prefer to have a variety and breadth of responsibilities.

In each of my life areas, I have certain responsibilities. Some general responsibilities I have, to myself and to others, include monitoring the state of that life area. Is it getting better, if in growth mode? Is it staying the same and not getting worse, if its in maintenance mode? Even in maintenance mode, am I remaining open to new ideas that might come up? I do this by finding one or two really good blogs and subscribing to them. I try to pick blogs that don’t update too often so they don’t become a massive time drain. Pavlina‘s blog is obviously one of them, and so is I Will Teach You To be Rich by Ramit Sethi, for a financial area. Continual education is important.

I can also come up with specific list of responsibilities for a particular life area, such as this one for the Financial area:

Monitoring cash flow and expenses, long and short-term financial planning, reducing expenses, finding ways to increase income, finding and applying for bursaries and scholarships, researching and making investments, exploring opportunities and continually educating myself about all these things.

If I was in growth mode, that’s how my responsibilities would be. In maintenance mode, obviously, I have fewer responsibilities which I would limit to: ensuring I have enough money to pay for my expenses, monitoring expenses and income and ensuring they don’t get too out of wack, remaining open to new ideas but not proactively seeking them, necessarily.

In case you’re interested, here’s my list of life areas:

1. Home & General
2. Family
3. Financial
4. Social
5. Physical
6. Emotional
7. Mental
8. Spiritual
9. Fun & Adventure
10. Character & Personal Effectiveness
11. Academic
12. Contribution & Career & Job

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