January 25, 2023

How to build a scorecard to evaluate your well-being

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There are two ways to measure our well-being: external and internal.

External well-being is tied to how society sees us. It’s rooted in our job titles, the wealth we accumulate, and sometimes even the clothes we wear.

Internal well-being is based on how we measure ourselves, whether that’s in terms of our authenticity or whether we’re living a life consistent with our values. We set the standards for what is right for us.

As we enter the new year, I encourage you to take a moment to take a step back from focusing on how the world perceives you and develop a structure for measuring your inner well-being.

I recommend building an inner scorecard, a concept developed by Warren Buffett, that measures our behavior and performance across all parts of life in our own terms.

Why build a scorecard?

Time is the currency of life. We have a finite amount, and it is nonrenewable. We use it, we lose it. It’s our most precious asset. If you want to see what really matters to a person, look at how they spend their time.

A scorecard is a good proxy for assessing well-being, because it measures how we use our time. It ensures that the time we exchange for experiences and things are consistent with our values. Well-being is the product that results from a good trade of time for value.

How to build your scorecard

I propose framing our lives in three buckets: love, work, and play. You’ll see that these buckets feed on each other to drive well-being.

Measuring love

Here’s how I recommend evaluating the “love” aspect of your life. For each question, jot down a short response in the column to the right. Then look back over your responses. Note the areas that are bringing you the most happiness, and the areas where you’re feeling disappointed or concerned. Those are the areas you can either lean into to get even more out of, or work on to improve.

Measuring work

Work is a fact of life: we exchange our time for money so that we can live the life we want. But that doesn’t mean work has to be an endless slog. As we reflect on a good value work/time exchange, it’s important to consider the intersection between what we’re good at and what we enjoy.

Do the same exercise with the work aspect of your life. Write a short answer to each question, then reflect on your responses as a whole.

Measuring play

For me, play has several dimensions – a mental and a physical one. For instance, from a mental perspective, investing is my primary source of play, whereas tennis lets me live in the moment and allows my subconscious to play freely.

Conduct the exercise a final time, and think about how you play, both mentally and physically.

Using our roadmap

Time is nonrenewable – but we can choose how we use it. I hope when you look at your love/work/play scorecards, you start to notice trends and patterns in how you spend your time.

Perhaps you’re focusing really hard on work, but you haven’t had dinner with your spouse in a few weeks. Perhaps it’s the other way around – you are very engaged with your family, but you’re not challenged during your workday.

Use your scorecard to plan a few tangible changes to your schedule. I think you’ll find it goes a long way in helping to prioritize what makes you happy.

Greg Shove
Pedro Zuloaga