Pick the four areas of life that most matter to you. Then write a few bullet points defining how you’d like that area to be in an ideal world.
This is one of many exercises you can do to get a bit more clarity on where you want to go in life. If you find yourself in a pit of malaise, not knowing what you want to do, but feeling like you should be doing something, going somewhere, or achieving some goal, then exercise like this one can help.
How to do it
- Grab a piece of paper and split it into four quadrants. You can just use a text editor if you prefer the digital approach.
- Think of the four areas of life that matter to you most. This can be anything – personalise this to your own preferences and needs. For example, you might use family, career, money, travel, health, fitness, chess, creativity, personal growth, social, romance, physical environment, music. Be general, or be specific, as you prefer. You can also have some general and some specific quadrants.
- In each quadrant, write a few bullet points outlining how you’d want that area to be, in an idea world. Imagine you’re 5 years in the future, and that aspect of your life has turned out exactly how you’d want. What is it like?
Why it works
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Seneca
Once you’ve completed the exercise, you can refer back to your life quadrants when you’re making decisions. When faced with a fork in the road, review your quadrants and ask yourself, “Does this take me closer to this life, or further from it?” If the answer is “closer”, then do it.
You can also start other, more detailed planning exercises after you’ve got the quadrants clear in your mind – setting step-by-step goals, looking for resources that can help you, and so on.