Do you find this is true for you? Do you juggle lots of things? Sometimes I feel like a circus performer. In my act, I’m on a see-saw, trying to make it balanced so that I can juggle the colorful balls successfully. Can you see it?
One side of the see-saw, in my mind, is my home and family, the other side is my work.
I balance the see-saw between my home and my work. The truth is that one side or the other gets more attention it’s never truly balanced. It’s fine for me as long as the see-saw doesn’t completely dip to one side or the other.
I think of the various tasks I must complete as the colorful balls. Every time I complete a task, I toss it up in the air (well, not really), I let it go and move on to the next. Hopefully, in order of importance for that day. This way I touch each area of importance each day.
The more things I’m involved with, the more demands are made on my time. The trick is to figure out how much time to allocate to each activity or task.
How many things are you involved in?
There’s no doubt, life is a juggling act. It’s hard to maintain focus and be productive when you have lots of different things going on or when you’re involved in many different activities – seemingly at the same time – unless you have a good system of keeping track of what you’re doing and by when your tasks must be completed .
Several years ago, I saw Dan Thurmon give a motivational speech at a NAPO conference. He was amazing. He was on a uni-cycle and juggling. And, he gave his speech while on the uni-cycle and juggling. WOW! When asked how he did this he responded he’s always moving forward, always watching the balls, always thinking.
There were times in his speech when he either added a ball or let one drop and roll away. He admitted that there are occasions when there are simply too many balls in the air at once. You must let one drop, or you lose your balance. Then, there are other times when you feel good about your balance and can add balls.
I think of it as ramping up and scaling back.
Sometimes you just need a break. When you feel this way, scale back. Reduce your commitments, if possible. Ask for help. Delegate a few tasks to a colleague or co-worker.
Take a moment. Think about what is important.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does this activity align with my goals?
Does this add stress to my life?
Why am I doing this?
When you are clear about what you are doing and why you are taking on these various tasks, activities, or responsibilities it’s easier to keep up with them.
Here are a few tips:
Keep a paper calendar
Write down all the benchmark dates. See if you can break down some tasks into smaller steps and plan them into your calendar.
Assess what you have done each day and make your list for the next day. You will sleep much better knowing that you have a plan to get things done.
I make my list on paper. You can make your list on your computer or phone. I like using paper because I get great satisfaction from crossing things off my list!
Some of my friends keep track of their commitments using an excel spread sheet. This is another good and visual way to see what is happening in each of the various areas and when things are due.
When things get too busy. Breathe. Scale back for a day or two. Remember to take care of yourself. When you take good care of yourself you are better able to do things for others.
Life is a juggling act. Take care to juggle only as many balls as is comfortable for you, maintaining as much balance as possible.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, ICD Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people challenged by ADD, Hoarding, and Chronic Disorganization.
That is such a great visual, of needing to drop balls sometimes and be open to picking up new ones! I feel like I say “No” to many requests, and I often feel bad about that. But in the end, I know I am actually choosing my priorities, which is very important. I want to be fully present for the things I sign onto, not giving things a half-hearted effort.
Thank you, Seana. Everything works out so much for the better when we are engaging in the things that really mean something to us!
I vividly remember Dan Thurmon speaking twice at NAPO conferences. He was inspiring and a fantastic presenter. He wrote a book, “Off Balance On Purpose.” The basic premise is that perfect balance is neither desirable or attainable. And in essence, what you described supports that. All the balls cant be touched or juggled simultaneously with equal emphasis. Some might be flying through the air while others are being moved along. When we have too many, some will drop. I suppose it’s about finding our own rhythm.
Thank you so much, Linda for joining the conversation. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts!
I remember that keynote!
I have changed my system several times. Now I am using my google calendar in combination with google tasks. I only put 3 tasks on each day of my calendar. That way it’s not overwhelming and doable for me. Larger projects get assigned one at the time. I find i can only concentrate on one big project at a time, so the rest wait on a list.