Designing My Life | Part I: Developing a Dashboard

On Monday I embarked on a journey to design my life and share the journey on my blog. You can read the preface here if you like.

The first part of life design is to develop a dashboard that helps you answer the questions:

Where am I in my life right now? How are things going?

The Activity

It's a simple yet powerful exercise. The authors of Designing Your Life create four categories and ask participants to self-assess the quality of their life in each:

  • Health
  • Work
  • Love
  • Play

These are great categories, but as a designer I could also see benefit in designing different categories if someone needed a different angle on their life.

Here was my self-assessment dashboard:

I proceeded to define problems in each of the four categories to help me understand the gap. I didn't move into creating solutions, I just focused on defining problems.


As I was going through the exercise I really wanted to step back and create a kind of survey with questions for each area. The purpose of the survey would be to provide a more trustworthy self-assessment of each category based upon specific factors.

I think this exercise works well because it can be done so quickly, but I do question the validity of these specific numbers as they are likely to change depending on the day and specific context. It also requires an enormous amount of emotional intelligence to actually know how you feel at the moment about specific areas.

I tried not to take the above too seriously and instead used it as a general indicator that things aren't great and that I've got some work to do. I knew that in the first place or else I wouldn't have initiated this whole process, but alas. Here we go.

Moving Forward

Now I've got a dashboard that I can use to reflect upon "How are things going" and have a general sense of whether or not I'm headed in the right direction.

You can't know where you are going until you know where you are

Having read through the entire book 'inspectionally' (a process described by Mortimer J. Adler in How to Read a Book, I knew that the next stage was to build out a Compass of my Workview and Lifeview, which is something I'm looking forward to doing tomorrow...

Cover Photo by George Pastushok on Unsplash*