Everybody can juggle 1 ball. I know- that's not technically a "juggle." Just bear with me...
Most people can juggle 2.
Some people can handle 3.
A few can deal with 4.
That's just the way it is. Some of us can handle more than others.
In our day, it's become en vogue to handle more- to grab all we can and chunk it. In fact, one of the hallmarks of our conversations is to relay how busy we are....
"How's it going...?" someone asks.
"Busy," we say.
Or maybe they say it if we ask them. And we're in awe. For some reason, we think it's a mark of failure if people have some free time. That they're lazy. That they don't have priorities in line.
In other words, we all like juggling. And, as is the case in most things, the more we juggle, the better...
Or so we think.
Notice that-really- the juggle is NOT multi-tasking. Often, we think that multi-tasking is the way to get more stuff done. Busy people are great multi-taskers, we think.
But they aren't. Not really.
When you multi-task you're really switching rapidly between multiple activities, rapidly. You give one a bit of attention. Then the other. And then another.
You don't hold any of the things too tightly, any more than you can enjoy one of the balls while you're juggling several at a time.
I know. I used to think I was an incredible multi-tasker. Then my wife let me in on the truth I just wouldn't admit. I'm not. I'm really just disjuncted in my thinking and in my activties...
You see, the problem with juggling in real life is this: We often try to juggle beyond our skill set...
We have two things going (i.e., family and work), so we try to add another ball (an added project at work).
At first, it seems odd... it's a bit much... but, then we settle into a new groove.
We settle in so much, in fact, that we try to add another ball... a volunteer opportunity, perhaps...
And herein lies the biggest issue with juggling: you can't add balls indefinitely.
No juggler can (to use our metaphor). No person can (in real life), either.
If you're juggling tennis balls and you drop one, no big deal. You regroup and start tossing the balls again.
If you're juggling your family, work, a volunteer opportunity, an additional project... and then something else... here's the issue: when one ball falls, you usually don’t simply drop the last ball you added . Rather, you lose all of the balls.
Here are two essential ideas...
1. Understand the reality of tradeoffs. You can't juggle everything. Therefore, you must pick and choose.
This reality led me to walk away from a job at a nonprofit that I actually started. We housed men, women, and families coming from the streets, the city's legal system, the streets, and human trafficking. It was an extremely rewarding job. We'd just stared a massive thrift store to help fund it long term.
However, Cristy's Young Living business and my writing / speaking were both moving in the same direction as each other... and the nonprofit, awesome as it is, was another tennis ball altogether. Something had to give. I couldn't keep juggling at that pace.
So, I handed leadership of the nonprofit to the team I'd built over the past few years.
2. Make a decision, juggle what you've got... and resist the urge to re-trade. I know, confusing scenario there. Here's what it means...
Once you 1) understand the reality of tradeoffs, and then make a decision as to which balls you're going to juggle, 2) commit to juggling that only. And stick with it.
The month after I left the nonprofit, Cristy's business was slow. Extremely slow.
I was tempted to think (OK, I did think), "Hmmm... Maybe I could do both..."
Or, "Maybe I could grab another project, write another book or something..."
I'm glad that was a fleeting thought. But, I shudder to think how many times I've been tossed before... and then started re-tossing balls I'd set down. Once you commit to juggling a ball, stick with it. And keep the others out of your hands.
The key to juggling is the "air time" you have have between the tosses. That means it works best when you juggle less- when you set some things down. I've set down writing to focus on Cristy's business.
There are certainly things I want to say and ideas I want to communicate- but I'm setting them down to toss other balls. You probably have things you need to set down, too. Maybe not set them down forever. Just for now. What are they? What goes down so you can handle the most important things better?
You might also like the entire Advance 6.0 workshop, The Ladder. See www.TheLadder.info for more. We teach about juggling priorities in Session 05. Access this entire course free!
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