How To Set Better Boundaries with Life Hot Spots



In my previous post, I wrote about How To Organize and Prioritize Your Life with Hot Spots.

In this post, I’ll show you how I apply Hot Spots to life.

Hot Spots are the categories I use for skilled living.

This is the big picture.  It’s how I chunk up my overall time and energy.

There are certain areas in life that if I invest in, I get rewarded.  On the other hand, if I ignore these categories, I get penalized.

The Life Hot Spots Framework (7 Categories for Life)

Here’s the starter set of categories I use for thinking about the areas in my life that need focus and energy:

Hot Spot Description
Mind The Mind bucket includes investing time to learn thinking techniques and keeping my mind sharp.
Body The Body bucket includes investing time to keep my body in shape. It includes learning patterns and practices for health. The most important basics are eating, sleeping, and working out.
Emotions The Emotions bucket includes investing time to keep my emotions healthy. It includes learning emotional intelligence and keeping my emotions in check. It’s about learning skills for feeling good.
Career Career includes activities and projects for my job and my professional services.
Finance includes investing time to learn patterns and practices for building and sustaining wealth.
Relationships The Relationships bucket includes relationships at home, work, and life.
Fun Fun includes investing time to for play and doing whatever I enjoy.


How To Set Boundaries Using the Life Hot Spots Framework

I set minimums and maximums for my hot spots in terms of time and energy.  This keeps me from getting over-invested.  I use my hot spots to set boundaries.  For example, I set a max on career and a min on relationships, body, and fun.

Hot Spot Boundaries (minimums and maximums)
Body Min of 3 hrs.
Career Max of 50 hrs.
Relationships Min of 8 hrs.
Fun Min of 3 hrs.


So step one was deciding to spend no more than 50 hours each week on my career hot spot.

That forced me to bite off only what I could chew.

That’s how I started improving plate management and pushing back effectively.  I can only spread my life force over so much.

The categories help support each other.

They can also work against each other.

Tickler List of Things to Think About in Each Hot Spot

Here are some simple prompts to help you think of Hot Spots in your life.   The list is not complete or exhaustive and it’s not meant to be.

You may want to add some other Hot Spots for your life, such as spiritual or social.

The key is to have a simple heat map of what’s important for you.

It’s a high level way to remind you to spread your life force across your meaningful buckets.

It’s a way to more thoughtfully invest in yourself.

Hot Spot Examples
  • Dental
  • Eating (Nutrition)
  • Exercise (Sports, weightlifting, Pilates, yoga, martial arts … etc.)
  • Health/ Medical (Disease, prevention, medicine, illness, hereditary or acquired diseases … etc.)
  • Senses (Auditory, gustatory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and visual)
  • Sleeping
  • Stress
  • Systems (Cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, skin, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal)
  • Activities
  • Deliverables
  • Development
  • Expectations
  • Outcomes
  • Projects
  • Relationships
  • Roles
  • Tasks
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Feeling Good (Dealing with depression, loss, … etc.)
  • Emotions (Acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise)
  • Empathy
  • Passion
  • Active Income
  • Budget
  • Business
  • Credit
  • Insurance
  • Investment
  • Nest Egg
  • Passive Income
  • Retirement
  • Real Estate
  • Savings
  • Spending
  • Taxes
  • Free-time
  • Hobbies / Interests
  • Indoor recreation
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Travel
  • Vacations
  • Anxiety
  • Clarity
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Learning
  • Mental Models
  • Optimism
  • Vision
  • Family
  • Work
  • Other


If you’re not getting the results you want, explore how you’re investing in your Life Hot Spots.

Maybe with a few tweaks of where you spend your time and energy is just the trick you need.

You Might Also Like

How To Organize and Prioritize Your Life with Hot Spots
How To Master Effectiveness with Life Hot Spots
How To Use Work-Life Balance to Gain Your Edge
My Best Rituals for Results that Will Help You Be More effective
How To Live Your Life the Lean Way


  1. Interesting & practical. I suppose that everyone’s map will look a little different, but you provide a nice framework for us to think about how ours might look.

    For me, mind & career overlap quite a bit, as there’s a lot of thinking involved at my job. I hardly spend any time on financial, though I don’t think I need to. And I liked how you put relationships into its own category. It deserves that.

  2. “For example, I set a max on career and a min on relationships, body, and fun.”

    This is very wise.

    Such a Methodical approach to life. Part of me thinks “this is insane!” while another part thinks this is exactly how one avoids going through life super-stressed, never realizing how to make it better.

  3. I tried to do this with three small children and I found I could achieve only so much chart like organization. I used the children in the career hot spot. But then one child needed so much more than the others and then all the resentments and jealousies and the unspoken…then it was all so much money…
    So Dad became a workaholic and avid bike rider and I went walking in the wee hours of the morning for my body hot spot…and wrote and wrote in the car and in Dr.s offices and helped with homework…and and…
    I made myself very ill…

    I think I kept from going crazy and then I think I made it…I did the best I could with the time I was given…I regret a few too many m&ms and a few blow out upsets…but not much else…

    Maybe this will work as I think about retirement…nope the word poverty (of funds) pops up….hmmm…guess I really do need a graphic

    Savory idea…percolating

  4. @ Vi

    That’s the beauty when your hot spoarts are working in concert. For me, when work’s going well my mind’s getting a good workout.

    @ Alik

    A little tweak can go a long way.

    @ Positively Present

    A heat map is a great way to prioritize. I think it helps to appreciate the positive hot spots (growth/opportunity), along with the ones that need improvement.

    @ Vered

    So far, this is the best approach I’ve found for work life balance. I’m a fan of putting enough systems in place to set myself up for success. I take weekends off, so I don’t mind a little more rigor during the week.

    @ Patricia

    I use Hot Spots as a way to take overwhelming things, and boil them down to actionable things.

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