How to Create Your Personal Dashboard

Source: (CC 3.0) 2013 Jens R. Woinowski,

Source: (CC 3.0) 2013 Jens R. Woinowski, Print Version.

Dashboards are very good visual instruments. In this post, I give you a template for your own personal dashboards. With this dashboard you can monitor your satisfaction with various aspects of your life.

The illustration above shows the template, which I have derived from the original Lean Canvas for business models. You can use this dashboard both to define what is important for you and to monitor the current status of each section.

The general structure is the following:

  • Each section of the dashboard stands for one important aspect of your life.
  • The middle is the place for your core values.
  • On the left, you see everything that relates to your private life.
  • On the right is your job life.
  • On the bottom you find expenses and income, with the same left=private and right=job logic as above.

As you may already have realizes yourself: you can use this dashboard also to have a structured look at your work/life balance.

How do you work with that table?

  1. Download and print this dashboard. The larger the better, the downloadable PDF targets A2 format. I suggest you cover it with adhesive, so that you can write on it. Alternatively, you can use sticky notes.
  2. Fill each field with names of people, topics, values and so on. I give detailed suggestions below.
  3. Second step is to define visual cues you want to use. With them you show the status. I suggest smileys or traffic lights. You can either show the overall status per section or for each topic within each section.
  4. Work with this dashboard at least monthly. Assess and update the status and update the sections when your priorities have changed. Weekly status assessment is even better. Once you have the routine established, this takes at most 15 minutes.

How do you fill in the sections? Start with the middle and continue in the order outer left, inner left, outer right, inner right, and bottom. This is what you put in the sections:

  1. My Values: Put in what is really important for you, what defines you and your values. If you do not know what to put in here, I suggest to have a log at my some of my posts about value, starting with “YOU Define Value.”
  2. Family & Friends: Put in the name of the people who are most important to you. Family should be easy: spouse, children, parents, in-laws. Chose two or three you of your dearest friends. Maybe you want to add the name of one group of friends, e.g. your monthly pub night round. Put one regular activity that defines your relationship behind each name. Make sure the list is not too long. You want to have a real relationship with everybody on the list.
  3. Hobbies: This one should be obvious. Put in your hobbies and regular activities defining them.
  4. Household: Put in regular household activities. These need not be really fun things, but should be important to you. Just to give some examples: Bringing out the garbage, washing clothes, mowing the lawn, yearly maintenance of your car, or handing in the tax forms. These activities may be candidates for waste elimination.
  5. Colleagues & Clients & Partners: Put in your job and business relations in here. Again, these should be names of people, but you may throw in the odd organization here. Like in the Family & Friends section, put in activities that define the relationship.(By the way, if you have your own business, try an original Lean Canvas to get an understanding of your business model.)
  6. Work with Fun: Put in the most important fun activities of your job.
  7. Job Activities: Put in unavoidable job activities. These need not be fun. These activities may be candidates for waste elimination.
  8. Expenses: What do you spend your money for? Put in both activities (like going on a vacation) and other payment duties (like paying the rent).
  9. Income: Where do you get your income from? If there are activities that could help to improve your income, put them in here.

When you do your weekly status check, you can mark each section with a smiley or traffic light:

  • 🙂 or Green: Everything is as expected and you are with the way it is. This does not exclude further improvement. If you see potential for improvement, put in a question mark after the traffic light or smiley.
  • 😐 or Yellow: Your not fully happy with everything. There is definitely potential for improvement or waste elimination, but it could go on as it is for a while without major damage.
  • 🙁 or Red: You are not happy with the situation. Immediate action required. Make a root cause analysis and create an A6 improvement plan, as quicky as possible.

How do you like this? I’m burning to read your comments.

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