The 5 Balls

The Areas of your Life You Can’t Afford to Ignore

It might surprise you to learn that the things that matter most to you are probably closely aligned with the people sitting next to you. This isn’t just because like-minded individuals tend to gravitate toward one another, but because we all share common needs.

On the surface, our ONE Thing may differ from our neighbor’s, but our fundamental concerns are strikingly similar, especially from a bird’s-eye view. Everyone places an importance on their health, personal life, key relationships, job, business, finances and spiritual life—they’re what makes us whole.

We call these the seven “buckets” of your life because every action we take in these areas results in either one of two possible outcomes: a life that is fulfilled or a life that is waiting to be filled.

What’s good about the fact that everyone’s buckets are in alignment is that our conversation today can be frank. In order to ensure that we’re living our lives to the greatest possible extent, we have to give these areas of our lives the attention they deserve.

Choosing a Priority

In order to achieve extraordinary results in any one part of our lives, we must set a priority and act on it. The process of deciding where to channel your focus and energy begins with the Focusing Question.

Ask: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Simple, yet powerful, this question helps lead us to our overall objectives and goals, giving us a target and a potential path for success. Make no mistake, the question isn’t metaphorical, it’s practical. By applying this question to one of the seven buckets, we can begin forming an action-plan that will result in intentional progress.

Prioritizing Our Buckets

While we often don’t want to admit it to ourselves, different aspects of our lives are not created equal – some things are simply more important and require more care and attention than others. The same thing goes for the seven buckets of our lives.

Think for a moment about what James Patterson said in his book, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas:

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

It goes without saying that work often gets over-emphasized in our lives. Whether we have a big project on the docket or we’re simply passionate about the work we do, it’s easy to believe that success requires knuckling down and not ever coming up for air. But while work is important, it cannot and should not be prioritized over other facets of our lives.

Work is unlike the other buckets of our lives simply because it’s so similar to a rubber ball – no matter how many times you may drop it, you can always pick it back up. Our important relationships, our health, and our personal life, on the other hand, are the areas of life that can’t be put on the back burner for long.

While there may be times when work requires our full attention, focusing on it alone can be detrimental to our personal lives. If you don’t concentrate on these areas of your life, they can be permanently damaged. To be able to address your priorities outside of work, be clear about your most important work priority so you can get it done. Likewise, when you go home, be clear about your priorities there so you can get back to work.

Create an Action Plan

What part of your life means the most to you? When you’ve identified the buckets in your life that require your undivided attention, download our Long-Term Goals and GPS worksheets to help you decide what actions you need to take. Then make a commitment to take action by time blocking for activities that produce results and seek out accountability to help keep you on track.

Do you have any tips on working with the seven buckets in your life? Join our community of productivity seekers and share them with us on our Facebook page!