Design Your Dashboard
Coach Lucy Adams explains how to design your personal dashboard and how it can aid you in focusing your energy for a more satisfying, productive life.
What fuel do you need to lead a satisfying, productive life? Just like your car requires gas and oil to run efficiently and give its best performance, you too need fuel for your productivity.
As humans, we share many needs in common, such as the need for social engagement, the need to reproduce, the need to experience novelty, the need to feel secure, and so on. As individuals, however, our level of need in any one category and how that is need is fulfilled is particular to us. For example, one person’s need for novelty may move her to skydive, while another person’s need for novelty may move her to experiment with a new lipstick color. Both women are filling their tanks but in very different ways.
If you were to design your own dashboard that would reflect the status of your “fuel” needs, what four main gauges would you include?
Four Strategies for Designing Your Dashboard
1. Values Assessment – A values assessment brings to the surface what’s most important to you. For example, if giving back to your community is an identified value, then one of your gauges might be “altruism.”
2. Personality Assessment – A personality assessment aids in determining your attributes and how those translate into needs. For example, if you score high in extroversion, “social activity” might be one of your gauges.
3. Life Wheel Evaluation – Complete a life wheel to evaluate what’s lacking in your current circumstances and how that is affecting your satisfaction and productivity. For example, if finances appear to be a particular problem area that is leading to feelings of guilt or shame, then you could designate “financial stability” as one of your gauges.
4. Trusted Mentor or Consultant – Get feedback from a trusted, objective mentor or consultant (not a friend or spouse or close family member. While these people deeply care about you, they often have their own agenda for getting needs met which could influence their feedback to you.). Ask this person, questions like, “What am I doing when I appear to be at my best? From your perspective, what appears to motivate me the most?” You may, for example, receive feedback that you perform well when you don’t feel pressured. Therefore, one of your gauges might be related to “time allowance.”
Now that you have your dashboard, fill in the current status of each gauge on a range from empty to full. This is your baseline. This is your data for how you’re faring on fuel right now.
Next question: If you were to fill one of these tanks, which one would make the most impact on your life satisfaction and productivity today?
Last question: What’s one small action you can implement today that will move the needle on that particular gauge?
After a week of implementing that action, without looking at your baseline dashboard status, fill in the current status of each gauge. Use the comparison between your baseline dashboard status and your new dashboard status to evaluate your success.
Designing your personal dashboard effectively narrows your focus to fulfilling your most salient needs. It helps you prioritize tasks which are then completed with meaningful, directed actions.