Juggling Your Balls
Are you struggling to juggle your Balls? Which Ball have you dropped???
If you are reading this article you are most likely intelligent, educated, and very capable. You may have a professional job (or plan to soon), you probably have children (or hope to someday), and likely are VERY busy.
You often tell you yourself… “I can handle it! Life can be stressful at times, but I will make it through.” You are involved in one activity or another. And let’s be honest… You are doing 3, 4 or 5 things in addition to your career and family.
You’re a member of this or that, you’re involved in PTA, or some sort of community service. You enjoy spending time with your friends or attending church on the weekends. You have a lot of items up in the air and you are constantly in the mode of saying “Yes!”
Do you want to volunteer as classroom mom? “Yes!”
Can you help with drop-off at school? “Sure!”
We need a volunteer for this special project at work. It’s going to be a big win for the company, but we really need your buy in? “Yes, of course I’m a team player!”
Hey, how about joining our running club? “Everyone needs a little more exercise in their life! Yeah great, I’m really looking to get more active anyway.”
And on, and on, and on, and on….
We are so prone to saying yes, we cannot say “no”. We jump between work, family, school, weekly meetings, and even more responsibilities I am sure will come to mind. We tell ourselves it’s all going to be worth it and to just keep pushing forward. Besides, being a multi-tasker has its advantages, right?…Wrong.. 🙁
I want us to take a step back and really examine our daily lives. Let’s look at the different activities/responsibilities as if they have been placed into individual categories…In this case, we will refer to our different activities as “BALLS”.
We all have these “balls” we’re constantly juggling. We are always saying “yes” to everything and everybody, meaning we are constantly in a state of juggling 3-5 balls.
Recently, my mentor explained it to me in this way. While attending a parenting class at his church, the group leader shared this metaphor of “juggling balls”. It went something like this…
“So we are all balancing our activities as balls we’re juggling,
trying the best we can not to drop any of them.
And what so many people fail to realize is that
some balls are glass, some balls are plastic, and some balls are rubber.
However, many of us fail to realize which “balls” are glass.
And if we drop the glass balls, they can destroy our life.
Sadly, many people don’t figure out which balls cannot be dropped until it is too late…”
You probably already know what I’m talking about…glass balls being areas of your life you can never get time back on…It’s your health. It’s your family. It’s your rest. These are the balls you can’t afford to drop.
The other activities are plastic or rubber and you can afford to drop them. Book clubs don’t break when you drop them. The school still runs if you don’t volunteer for drop-off every week, and it won’t matter in the long run if you get that promotion and suffer from a stress related heart attack 10 years later.
Yet in the same way, if you ignore paying attention to your health every other aspect of your life will coming crashing down.
The morale of the story is to identify which balls are the most important to you and be aware of which balls you can drop. You can have a fun and fulfilling life by subtracting some, not all, of these very worthwhile activities in your life that compete for your attention.
As humans, we can only focus our mind on one thing at a time. When watching an accomplished juggler, it seems she is looking at everything at once. But, in fact, the juggler is switching her attention from one ball to the other. Intense focus at the right time and the right place. Once something has been accomplished, she then switches her attention to the next ball, at the right time.
But no matter how accomplished she is there is a limit on how many balls she can juggle.
In our lives, there are countless blogs, podcasts, books, and apps that assist us in optimizing our ability to switch tasks and manage the chaos. But constantly juggling beyond our limits is absolutely exhausting and zaps our energy so quickly. I’m afraid that the constant stress frays at us and we forget to enjoy the process. I’m guilty of it.
How many of you are guilty of something similar?
I am working every day to be more focused and productive by choosing to implement activities and tasks that will begin to free my time, not take it. I heard a quote once that “What you focus on expands to fill the time allowed.” What are you filling your time with?