Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Juggling Act

Ever feel like life is a juggling act? 
You're not alone.  We have so many wonderful devices invented to give us more time and make our lives more simple, but what do we do with that time? You've got it, we add more things. What's a person to do? What's a writer do when deadlines are looming, the family needs attention, and you want to actively contribute to your community? I've given this a great deal of thought over the last couple of weeks because even though I feel as though I prioritize pretty well, I'm still learning and looking for better ways to do all that I want to do. How about you? If you feel the same way, let's work on this together. A good place to start is prioritizing.

Prioritizing helps a great deal. The question is . . . what's most important? I have two lists of priorities: 1) the grand list that guides my life and 2) the list I juggle depending upon what's going on at the time.

My grand list is simple: God, family and country. That's it. If life becomes too complicated I refer to this list and I know what I need to do. Make your grand list simple and refer to it often to keep you centered.

The second list is where my problem begins. I think it all has to do with how I budget time. I'm a goal setter. Nothing makes me work harder than to set a goal. However, when I don't meet my self-imposed goal, I feel like a failure. Do you feel the same way? Maybe we shouldn't be so tough on ourselves. Perhaps part of the problem is in how we budget time.  We need to be more realistic, more flexible and more forgiving.

Realistic . . .
I think to be realistic a person has to set aside tunnel vision. Don't get me wrong, I like tunnel vision. But tunnel vision can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you can tune everything out and focus on getting the job done. Bad because everything and everyone else in your life may suffer. Remember that just because you have been able to devote a certain amount of time to a project in the past that doesn't mean that in the future you can do it again. Life happens, things and people change, so to be realistic we have to take all of this into account.  When we set our goals, we might try taking a good look at the calendar and think about what's going on that month. After taking everything into account make realistic goals.

Flexible . . .
Another downfall I suffer from is not being flexible. I have a schedule of writing in the morning, taking a break around noon to walk or run errands, then I write what I can in the afternoons. So when holidays, birthdays, and the unexpected days when the family is home happen, I'm torn between wanting to write and wanting to be with my family. In order to do both, I need to be flexible. (Easy to say, hard to do.) Life happens, so if writers are going to get words on paper sometimes we may need to write at night or whenever we find the house quiet. We need to be flexible and work around obstacles that come up.  

Forgiving . . .
This is perhaps the most difficult. Sometimes we find it easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves. But we shouldn't. What we need is a re-set button. Let me explain. Every once in a while, I'll get up and leave my computer and when I return many times I have to press the reset button on my mouse for it to work. Like pushing the button, we need to forgive ourselves, or reset, so we can start fresh and new and keep working toward meeting our goals. Don't stress over last week's failures. Forgive yourself, reset, and focus on this week's goals.

We're trying our best to grow and learn and to have each book we write become even better than the last one...and in record time. We can do it, but we should also be realistic, flexible and forgiving as we strive to juggle the many things in our lives.

Tell me what you think. How do you juggle the things in life to meet your goals? I'd love to know. Your input could help me and others. 


  1. My approach is a lot more relaxed. If something comes up that's more important, I will drop whetever I'm doing to get that important thing done.

    Of course, I do juggle activities in that I will sometimes leave something in the air until I finish what I am doing now. Otherwise I would never get anything done.


  2. Misha,
    Wow! That's great. Sounds like you have a system that works! Juggling is such an art form. I'm hoping to catch on soon. :0)

  3. Oh, man, Kathi! I think you've been reading my mind. I'm struggling with time management lately and I think a lot of it has to do with prioritization. I'm working on it, but your advice is just what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  4. Jackee,
    Prioritizing is hard especially when you want to do everything. Boy, do I understand. Hang in there. You're not alone!

  5. I think my biggest problem is getting back to something I've let drop. Often, that something is writing. I've let it drop because other things took top priority, then when I do have some time for it, I find it hard to sit and get back into it.

  6. Helen,
    I understand. Been there, done that. I guess this is where we need to forgive ourselves and move on trying to do better. That's the rub for me, the doing better part. But I'm determined to juggle like a pro.:)

  7. I find that a little catnip and a nice long nap helps a lot!

  8. My motto is, "Blessed are the flexible." I get a lot done by the end of the day. Just have to go with the flow sometimes. Its the end result that matters, not necessarily the means to get there.

  9. Brian,
    I never thought of catnip. ;) Although a nap does sound good.

  10. Stephen,
    I like that motto: Blessed are the flexible. I might make a plaque and put it up on my wall a reminder.



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