EXERCISE (Performed With (1) Pen And (2) Pieces Of Paper)


Most people think of exercise as a form of movement requiring great effort that typically results in great quantities of sweat. Let’s try a different type of exercise and see what the end result produces. This exercise will take less than 3 minutes.

Please find a pen and (2) pieces of paper and write down the following 13 categories on the first sheet only:

  • Work (Job)

  • Time Spent Eating Quality Food (Home Prepared)

  • Sleep

  • Family (Quality Time)

  • Religious Worship

  • Charity (physical time spent volunteering)

  • Personal Daily Quiet Time

  • Physical Exercise (not including house or yard work)

  • Social Interaction With Neighbors

  • Community or Development Participation (ex. home owner’s assoc., neighborhood watch, etc…)

  • School Improvement (ex. participation in PTA, attending school public board meetings, etc…)

  • Leisure Time (Movies, art galleries, theater, mall shopping, etc…)

  • Yard/House Work (lawn, food shopping, laundry, etc…)

Place a number from 1-13 in front of each category where #1 represents the MOST important category to you and #13 represents the LEAST important. (This is just an example; NOT my personal priority!)


  1. Sleep

  2. Leisure Time

  3. Community or Development Participation

  4. Family (Quality Time?)

  5. Work

  6. Personal Daily Quiet Time

  7. Social Interaction With Neighbors

  8. Physical Exercise

  9. Time Spent Eating Quality Food

  10. Religious Worship

  11. Charity

  12. School Improvement

  13. Yard/House Work

Now, place the number of hours you AVERAGE spending on each category. (Approximate, but make the total add up to 24 hours.)



  1. Sleep (4 hours)

  2. Leisure Time (1 hour)

  3. Community or Development Participation (3 hours)

  4. Family (4 hours)

  5. Work (7 hours)

  6. Personal Daily Quiet Time (0 hour)

  7. Social Interaction With Neighbors/Friends (1 hour)

  8. Physical Exercise (30 minutes)

  9. Time Spent Eating Quality Food (1 hours and 30 minutes)

  10. Religious Worship (30 minutes)

  11. Charity (30 minutes)

  12. School Improvement (0 minutes)

  13. Yard/House Work (1 hour)






  1. Do you feel you are spending an appropriate amount of time on each category? YES/NO

  2. Do the hours you spend on each category reflect the VALUE you give each category? YES/NO

  3. Does your list reveal MORE TIME spent on categories you give LESSER VALUE? YES/NO

  4. How does this exercise make you feel about the path you’re following? GOOD/BAD

  5. Are you going to IGNORE or UTILIZE the results of this exercise? IGNORE/UTILIZE

This exercise creates AWARENESS. By itself, however, IT DOESN’T CHANGE BEHAVIOR. The good news is, there is an EXERCISE that helps change behavior.

Using the 2ND piece of paper (I initially asked you to get,) repeat this exercise, but this time, CREATE THE TIME needed to satisfy the PRIORITIES IN YOUR LIFE.

After completing this 2nd exercise SUCCESSFULLY, how does it make you feel? GOOD/BAD

JUST REMEMBER, putting it down in writing is the easy part.








  1. An eye opener ! ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Most of us live such busy lives, we don’t realize how little time we invest in the people and things that mean the MOST to us. Becoming a healthier person includes balancing one’s priorities.
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this.


  3. I love, LOVE this self evaluation tool! I’m a big fan of organization and methodologies, anyway, but doing this helped me see clearly that there are some areas in my life that need more attention from me than they are getting. My list looked a bit different from yours, and I admit I do nothing in the way of school, community development, or volunteer works (other than the time I spend helping/facilitating at church on Sunday and with the occasional weekday activity). Shame on me!

    I’m eating better these days, but my exercise ratio is wayyy off. I’m still working on that thing called BALANCE. This helps! Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chose these 13 categories because I believed they would emphasize how out of BALANCE most people’s lives are. The main goal was for people to see (using their OWN PEN and PAPER) the amount of time they invest on subjects of PERSONAL VALUE versus subjects of SOCIETAL DEMAND. Putting these concepts in WRITING reinforces its meaning and often helps create the final impetus to overcoming obstacles preventing people from transitioning their lives to happier more fulfilling ones.
      I’m glad you found this “exercise” beneficial. I hope you didn’t work up too much of a sweat!:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sweat? OMW, so much! Can I count this as calorie burning activity today? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely, as long as you are creating your list, prioritizing your list and creating time for your list while walking on a treadmill! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ouch.
    I had a feeling the results were going to look off-kilter. Not to the extent they did, maybe. A very eye opening exercise. Now, for the “sweating” part. Application.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Once we face reality, it gives everyone a chance to rebalance their time allotted to the PERSONAL VALUES that mean the most to each of us. It’s an “exercise” that can dramatically affect the quality of our lives.


  5. This is so cool. I really need to do this in order to realize how much I am working towards leading a healthy lifestyle. Thanks doctor😃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This exercise helps people restore Balance as it applies to Priorities and Time we dedicate to our priorities. It’s worth the 3 minutes to perform the exercise. It has proven a real “life changer” for many people.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, when you break it down like this you see the blunders in prioritizing our lives. A great exercise for those who complain about never having enough time.

    Great Huxley Meme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This exercise shows one reason we don’t have as much time as we’d like on things in life we TRULY VALUE, is because we squander it on things of LITTLE PERSONAL VALUE. Seeing it on paper makes it “real.” This exercise doesn’t make you “feel the burn,” but it sure works up quite a “sweat.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sure. The reality of what keeps me away from the things I should be doing is enlightening.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great exercise! It was also eye opening to realize that once I take my job and sleeping out of the equation I have 8 hours that I choose how I spend my time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. People often forget that “work” is about PRODUCTION. If we become creative and determine ways to produce MORE in less time, it provides additional time for things of greater PERSONAL VALUE. This is the type of thinking I am trying to “entice” people’s minds with to help them re-balance their available time for the priorities in their lives. This is just ONE example. This approach can make a huge impact on the quality of life we CHOOSE to live.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. wow this is great Jonathan! I need to write this down and look it over!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised with your distribution of time among categories of greater value and categories of lesser value. Sometimes a little awareness can make all the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes I agree awareness really changes things!


  9. This is genius !!! I need to give this to my hubby to do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It really is just an “exercise” in awareness. Life takes a hold of us and often creates tunnel vision. This gives us a chance to “step back” and look at our lives from an unbiased objective perspective. Who among us can’t use a little reality check every now and then?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent, Jonathan! I’m working with my children to establish their goals for the next year, and this gives me some points to discuss with them that I hadn’t factored in. It is never too early to help them learn to find balance in their lives. I noticed a few areas I have been neglecting also…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad to see this post is finding value among your family members. Starting this “exercise” with children exposes them to realities that can prevent them from making similar mistakes that older generations have made. Sometimes naivety helps the participant place greater personal values (and time allotments) where they truly belong.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] What are you doing now to help you achieve your goals and be true to your values? This is where Dr. Jonathon’s exercise  was a great thing to find today. I highly recommend doing it to see where the life you’re […]


  12. You sure know how to get a point across, Jonathan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m diplomatic, but determined to help people see alternative pathways to help them achieve THEIR GOALS. Getting out of their own way can sometimes be a big part of the problem. My approach attempts to increase awareness while REALISTICALLY providing options for the reader to consider. I can’t create the life people wish to live, but I sure can help supply the tools needed to guide them in a better direction to get there themselves!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A great job!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a great exercise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah. It’s one that has triggered a “light bulb” in many people’s minds and made them question if there time is being allocated appropriately based on their personal values. Just as I believe we have more control over our physical and mental health (in many cases,) I believe we can have more control over our chosen distribution of allotted time. Redistribution can be the difference between living a quality life or a life of frustration and dissatisfaction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I feel like I do pretty well for the correct allocation of my time – especially for a lawyer – but this really showed me I could do a better job. Always room for improvement!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is nice to know the rare exception exists. You are wiser in many ways than many people. Keep pursuing balance and appreciating all life has to offer.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Great questions and exercise Jonathan. It’s easy to believe we have no time for exercise and stillness, and doing this quiz helps establish what we actually do each day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Karen. When we commit to writing things down on paper reality shows a new face. People are shocked when they see how much time is spent on categories they least value.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ha ha…I love that last line 🙂 It is wonderful that you include wit, and charm in your posts/messages…it reflects your genuine nature and desire to connect…you don’t dictate or lecture…you share, you offer, you give…your generosity, experience, expertise (there’s no getting away from the fact that you are extremely well-educated and intelligent), and wisdom is a much-needed gift….this exercise sure does put things into black-and-white perspective–rather than being an abstract, non-committal contemplation. Thank you for your invitation to exercise our hearts, minds, and spirits 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Recognizing my own flaws and limitations helps me convey my messages in a more meaningful way. I think people realize I respect their right and decision to live any lifestyle they choose. I simply want to make certain their decision includes an option that can bring good health and happiness if they are interested.

      We are a stubborn people. We dig our heals in the ground and use nearly every ounce of effort to follow familial patterns in life regardless of how detrimental they may be. When a stranger (MYSELF) offers non traditional options that provide alternative paths to reaching new heights (in health and happiness) skepticism is commonly the defensive response. I don’t take this personally, because I accept this as a normal human reaction. As people come back to my blog site, they begin to lower their defenses because they begin to understand my ONLY motive is their potential well being. Why do I care? Because it brings me great joy to witness a person transform THEMSELF into whatever they desire. This was my motivation for becoming a doctor. I NEVER made people well; I showed them what it took and provided the tools to make THEMSELVES WELL. This was my approach to help restore balance in people’s lives. This is NOT to say that my approach is the one that all doctors should follow. They should follow their own hearts and offer their patients the best they have to give.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I loved this exercise…..it really puts reality of your life into perspective….definitely going to change some things up when I get home and I think I will incorporate this exercise into a monthly habit….it can never hurt to take inventory in pen and paper once a month.. …you got me thinking again…LOL thanks kat

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m just glad people remember what a pen and piece of paper are! 😀 Seems like this message may have awakened many a sleeping mind. As we reassign time the quality of our lives gains exponentially. Here’s to more time spent on the things we value in life! Cheers.


  18. Love this….it really helps me to see I need more balance in my life. This is really terrific info!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Glad you were able to use this exercise to improve the BALANCE in your life. The benefits to shifting allotted time will astound you. Thank you for contributing to this post.


  20. Grateful for this reminder – I used another version for years and it certainly made me eliminate a few that you listed. But reviews and reprioritising are essential to stay on track.
    For those not so into lists I used to have a circle or pie chart with similar divisions then ask people to place their pile of colourful buttons on the chart. Placing more buttons into the section they spent more energy or time on. Look at it and discuss it together.
    Then ask them to redirect the buttons into the sections where they’d like to spend more time/energy. You could see them click as they did the actual demonstration. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anything that helps people take a moment to realize why imbalances exist and easy quick methods to help rebalance is a plus. Most people are so tied up in daily EXISTENCE, they don’t even realize they’re not LIVING LIFE.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This is more tiring than any exercise. I bet a lot of people can hardly complete this! Thanks for it

    Liked by 2 people

  22. This was powerful. Thanks for sharing Jonathan.

    Liked by 1 person

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