Happy 2018 – Day 50 – Plot your life on the Effort/Reward Chart

I saw this chart on a teaching course once and it had a massive impact on me. At the time, like every other teacher whose work-life balance was in the toilet, I was spending a huge amount of time on things that required huge amounts of effort, but really didn’t have much impact on the kids I was teaching.

While it was useful to think about things this way as a teacher, often I wasn’t necessarily in control of the kind of work that I had to do. In many respects, I was at mercy of the SLT, Ofsted, the government.

Even then however, that was only true of my job. I was still (fairly) in control of the other aspects of my life.

What if we applied this kind of effort vs reward mentality to the way we choose to live each day? I’ve had a go at plotting a rough version below:


My scatter diagram shows 4 different actions, and the effort/reward related to each action.

  • Seeing my friend B – very little effort (because she’s fabulous) and massive reward, because she is incredibly supportive and lovely, and always makes me feel like I can do whatever I put my mind to. She also happens to be an expert in a field of work that I’m massively interested in and so I always come away feeling like I’ve learnt something useful along with the nattering.
  • Writing blog posts – my effort varies depends on what I’m writing but it’s something that I really enjoy. It’s something that I can’t stop myself doing; something that completely consumes me. Plus, writing here about wellbeing and happiness has also given me a TON of ideas for teaching it as a subject, which is a huge part of my business, Skills with Frills. Totally worth it.
  • T & C – this refers to the arduous and painstaking job of writing my terms and conditions. I’ve hated every minute and it’s used up so many. It’s also important though, which is why the reward is high. My terms and conditions ensure that my customers know what they’re getting, and reduces the chance of being sued! An awful job, but a valuable one.
  • Writing to M – For a while, I was intent on getting my blog published on other well-known sites, to try and get my name about. I spent a lot of time tailoring blogs to what I thought these sights were looking for. In actual fact, I’ve been successful here. I’ve had an article published on TES (Times Educational Supplement) and I’ve just heard from another site, telling me that they’re publishing my ‘Thank you Anxiety’ blog. While I am delighted with this, I’ve also realised that this just isn’t really that important right now. The effort I’m putting into this isn’t providing enough of a reward for me to be prioritising this over other things on my job list. So for now, I’ll just stick with putting out blog posts on here.

If you haven’t seen an effort/reward chart before, or you have and you’ve forgotten about it, then I hope you’ll find this useful. This chart took me less than 2 mintues to plot and it forced me to ask (and answer) some really useful questions.

Have you heard of this before? Have you used one? If you have a go at this, I’d love to know what you think! Have you reminded yourself that something you’re doing, while completely miserable, is actually really necessary right now? Or have you decided on something, or someone, who just isn’t worth it anymore?

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