You can apply Hot Spots to life. Think of Hot Spots as major categories or primary areas.
I use Hot Spots to represent the big categories or major areas of focus in my life.
Life Hot Spots are how I can see the big picture and yet chunk it down into meaningful areas.
My Life Hot Spots framework is effectively a way to better manage the important things in life that pull at us in sometimes different or competing directions.
You can use Life Hot Spots to assess how your life is going across the board, to set more meaningful goals against your big picture of life, and to set boundaries or minimimums and maximums in terms of how you invest your time and energy.
What are “Hot Spots” for Life
Life Hot Spots are the major categories of life or primary areas of life. Life Hot Spots are how I chunk up that big picture into smaller categories of where I spend my overall time and energy.
There are a lot of maps and models for life categories. For example, I’ve seen people use different terms and numbers such as “major areas of life”, “primary areas of life”, “8 categories of life”, “7 categories of life”, “12 categories of life”, “wheel of life”, etc.
With my model, while I give you a starter set of life categories, the real power is when you create a personal map of your Life Hot Spots that matter for you.
I’d rather see you create your own personal map and draw from various categories to do so.
7 Major Categories for Life (It’s a “Starter Set”)
Here’s the starter set of categories I use for thinking about the areas in my life that need focus and energy:
|Mind||The Mind bucket includes investing time to learn thinking techniques and keeping my mind sharp.|
|Body||The Body bucket includes investing time to keep my body in shape. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. The most important basics are eating, sleeping, and working out.|
|Emotions||The Emotions bucket includes investing time to keep my emotions healthy. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping my emotions in check. It’s about learning skills for feeling good.|
|Career||Career includes activities and projects for my job and my professional services.|
|Finance||includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth.|
|Relationships||The Relationships bucket includes relationships at home, work, and life.|
|Fun||Fun includes investing time to for play and doing whatever I enjoy.|
While I’m sharing 7 to start you off with, you can create the number of categories that you need to create a good map of the major areas of focus in your life.
For example, you might add Spirituality as a category.
Beware of creating too many categories and losing focus, and at the same time, watch out for overloading too few categories and having them represent too many things.
Ultimately you are looking to create a simple lens for reviewing the major priorities and major areas of your life, so that you can better manage them.
3 Ways to Use the Life Hot Spots Framework
Aside from creating a big picture view of life, you can use Life Hot Spot categories for 3 key things:
- Scoring Your Life. You can assess how you are doing across the board in your major areas of life. For example, you can rate each category on a scale of 1-10. You might then use this is a guide for your personal development or to help you define or refine a vision for your Future Self.
- Setting Goals. You can use the Life Hot Spots to set goals or decide how to prioritize and invest. When you use your Life Hot Spots to pick an area to set goals, you have the big picture in view, so this is how you keep things balanced and integrated.
- Setting Boundaries. You can use the Life Hot Spots framework to set boundaries. A simple way to do so is to set minimums or maximums in terms of the time you spend in certain Hot Spots or categories. For example, you might need to set a maximum on career hours and a minimum on your relationships.
They are called Hot Spots for a reason. First and foremost, they represent the areas in your life where you have the most impact.
They are also Hot Spots because they are really where the action is, or should be, or could be.
If nothing else Hot Spots help you take a step back and look at your life from the balcony view.
Work Life Integration vs. Work-Life Balance
There is overlap across categories in the Life Hot Spots framework and that’s a good thing. After all, the goal is really to create better integration beyond just balance.
Work-Life integration trumps work-life balance.
In fact, I would say it’s a better exercise to “integrate” your work and life, rather than just “balance” it. When you integrate your work-life, you find ways to live your mission, spend more time in your values, and play to your strengths, while making your moments more meaningful and growing in the direction of your dreams.
There are certain areas in life that if I invest in, I get rewarded. On the other hand, if I ignore these categories, I get penalized.
I set minimums and maximums for my hot spots in terms of time and energy. This keeps me from getting over-invested. I use my hot spots to set boundaries. For example, I set a max on career and a min on relationships, body, and fun.
|Hot Spot||Boundaries (minimums and maximums)|
|Body||Min of 3 hrs.|
|Career||Max of 50 hrs.|
|Relationships||Min of 8 hrs.|
|Fun||Min of 3 hrs.|
So step one was deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on my career hot spot. That forced me to bite off only what I could chew. That’s how I started improving plate management and pushing back effectively. I can only spread my life force over so much. The categories help support each other. They can also work against each other.
Tickler List of Things to Think About in Each Hot Spot
Here are some simple prompts to help you think of Hot Spots in your life. The list is not complete or exhaustive and it’s not meant to be. You may want to add some other Hot Spots for your life, such as spiritual or social.
The key is to have a simple heat map of what’s important for you. It’s a high level way to remind you to spread your life force across your meaningful buckets. It’s a way to more thoughtfully invest in yourself.
If you’re not getting the results you want, explore how you’re investing in Hot Spots.
Maybe with a few tweaks of where you spend your time and energy is just the trick you need.