Inevitably no matter how much we try to manage our tasks and our time, we end up having more to do than is humanly possible. Many of us relate to this imbalance as performing a never-ending juggling act. The goal is to keep all of the balls moving in the air without letting any of them fall on the floor.
In real life, no matter how good we are at juggling the many tasks on our plate, sometimes balls will drop. We must accept that this is just part of the game and not see that as failure. More importantly, we should take inventory of the balls we are juggling, categorize them and then play the game accordingly.
There are three balls in the game of life: glass balls, plastic balls and rubber balls. The key to success is to understand which category the things that you are juggling fall into. Sometimes this can be more challenging than the juggling act itself.
Glass balls will break and shatter if they fall. These are the things that need your immediate and focused attention. They are the things that are most important, cannot be delayed or delegated and will have a negative impact if dropped.
These balls will fall but will not break. They will lay on the ground and roll around until they can be picked back up again. These things can wait and be attended to at a more convenient time or date. These things don’t need immediate attention and can be picked back up later.
When dropped, rubber balls will continue to bounce around for some time by themselves. They have enough energy to keep going by themselves for a little while. There’s no immediate or negative impact from letting rubber balls drop every now and then. They can easily be picked back up when time permits.
So, the successful juggling act dictates that you never drop a glass ball. The glass balls should command all of your focus and attention. If you need to drop a ball, try to drop a rubber ball. It will keep going for some time allowing you to pick it back up later. And, if you drop a plastic ball, no permanent damage will be done.
TRY THIS OUT: How many balls are you juggling right now? Can you categorize them into glass, plastic and rubber balls? What can you to do make sure you don’t drop any glass balls? If necessary which rubber balls can you let drop?
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.