Organize Your Life! The 8 Main Life Areas that You Can Start Putting Together Today

This is the second article in my “Life Is a Puzzle” Series.  If you’re looking for the first one, you can find it here.  The main idea is that life, your life, my life, anyone’s life, is made of pieces.  When you organize your life, the pieces fit together, you feel generally settled, (happy and comfortable are bonus).  When “Life Happens” our puzzles get knocked around and we have to start over.  Sometimes it’s a big knock and we have to go look for the pieces under the table and in the heating vent, sometimes some of the pieces are gone for good, the dog ate them or whatever. Sometimes, we get new pieces, that we must figure out.  A lot of the time, it’s a matter of getting back on track.  Finding the pieces that we know fit together, putting them back in place. 

If you prefer a video version, you can watch this!

How Do You Organize Your Life?

If you’ve ever worked on a puzzle, especially if you’ve tried to work with someone else, you will know that each person has their own way of going about it.  Some people, a lot of people, like to start with the corners, then do the sides, then fill in from there.  Some people, like to look at the picture, and organize the piece by color, or detail.  There really isn’t a wrong way.  Although, admittedly, the corner – side – middle method is probably most popular. 

I’ve found that in my life, when things have gotten knocked apart, that corner – side – middle method seems to work as well.  Alternatively, I sometimes repeat the line from The Princess Bride.  The one where Inigo is drunk and Fezzik finds him.  And Inigo, just keeps repeating, “… when the job goes bad, you go back to the beginning.   This is the beginning, so here I am…”  When life has gone bad, I’ve found that I can often go back to one of the 8 Corners of Life, and start putting things back together from there. Even when things are going well, it’s helpful to check in on these 8 corners. 

The Space Between

One of the other things I like about the Life Is A Puzzle visualization, is that there are a large number of life things that are clearly in-between the corners.  Some even are related to multiple corners, and would be placed somewhere in the middle of the puzzle. As you organize your life, this gives you a framework for putting it back together.

The Eight (or so) Corners of Life

Hand drawn images of women demonstrating each of the 7 areas of life organization: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Environmental and Vocational

These are “MY” Corners (and I’ll share!)

So, what are these corners? And how did I identify them?  To start with the second question first, I identified them, partially through experience, and partially by doing a bunch of internet research at Starbucks one morning.  Trying to categorize life is a thing that people do all the time.  Trying to make sense of it all, trying to get it to fit into various systems is actually pretty common.  After going through a hundred or so various sites (and taking notes!)  I felt that it really boiled down to these eight things, Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Financial, Environmental and Vocational.

 Now, to be clear, this is what makes sense to *ME*.  This is how I organize *MY* life. As you organize your life, your corners may be different in number and/or name.  I encourage you to figure out your own corners.  For the sake of discussion, these are mine, and you’re welcome to use them as a starting point, in figuring out your own. 

I do need to add an EDIT here, with regards to the image at left. When I started the series I thought that there would be seven corners, however, vary quickly, I realized that EIGHT is the right number for me. “Social” is the corner that isn’t included in the image, although, you will find it in subsequent posts.

Side Pieces, and Middle Pieces

So, when I say that these are the corners and there are “Side Pieces”, what I mean is things like exercise.  Yes, your exercise, is clearly going to be related to the Physical corner, and it might also relate to the Mental or Emotional corner, especially if you exercise to clear your head, or settle your emotions.  Alternatively, Financial and Vocational might be closely related for you.  You might have a job to pay the  bills, while feeling that your true calling is volunteer work at a local shelter.  Like I said in the previous post, everyone’s puzzle is unique to them. 

As You Organize Your Life, It’s not One and Done… Sadly

You might hope that you can organize your life once, and be done with it. Sadly, that’s not the case. Life Organization is an ongoing process, sometimes we make forward progress and sometimes we have to go back to the beginning. That’s life…

Future posts will cover my thoughts on each corner.  In the meantime, what are the corners of your life?

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