How to effectively juggle too many things at once

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Photo Credit: Gabriel Alenius on Unsplash

In a perfect world this would never be a blog.  But in real life, as we all know, juggling too many things at once, happens…a lot.  We all get those rainy seasons in life when to-do’s are trenching down on us and our juggling abilities and multi-tasking skills get put to the test.  

When your’s are being tested, there is a lot you can do in the physical realm to help you juggle better; eat well, be active, make sleep more important than TV, delegate where you can, amp up organizational behaviours and prioritize and reprioritize.  These are all going to help you do your external best…but what can you do to bump up your internal best? How can you master the behind-the-scenes juggling act?

Here are some tips!

Be realistic

First and foremost, how many things can you actually juggle right now?  You only have two hands. There are only so many hours in the day. Know your limitations.  You can’t give a 100% to everything. Realistically divide yourself up. Do the math. Be honest with yourself and with everyone involved.  Choose your top priorities and put the other ones in a ‘next week’ pile.

Turn the volume down

During times of higher pressure, the blabbering ego blabs louder.  It crowds the mind with useless worries and panic and overthink things that don’t require all that much thought.  All of this mind-material adds up and congests our ability to focus well. Excessive thought gets in the way of our perceptions and makes things harder than they need to be.  

Turn the volume of your ego-mind down.  Make conscious efforts to quiet your inner noise and give yourself mental silence breaks so your brain can reorganize itself throughout the day.  Practice the art of action without thought. Do without thinking about what you are doing. Be fully present while you go through each motion as you go through each motion.  You may even imagine there is a volume knob in your mind and you are cranking down your ego sound. Or better yet, mute it. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, those seconds are giant clearings that prevent thoughts from gaining any traction that would cause mental overwhelm.

Remember who you are

It’s easy to forget our own existence when we are focusing on a million other things.  But when we stray from ourselves we become ungrounded and eventually end up with a whole wack of other issues afterwards.  Losing ourselves can be dangerous because we can loose pieces of us that become hard to retrieve later on. Self-disconnecting is a slow distancing from our spirit.  And nothing seems to cause us to self-disconnect more than non-stop busyness.  

So as your tossing around work life, home life, family life, social life (if you’re so lucky) – don’t forget who’s doing the tossing.  Who is this juggler? What is in this juggler’s heart and soul? What is this juggler’s ultimate priorities in life? Why is the juggler doing all of this juggling?  What does this juggler really want and need in life?

Stay in tune with yourself and be attentive to your own emotions.  Take the extra second to glance in the mirror and give yourself a quick smile and say “your doing a good job”.  Take the extra effort to breathe a bit deeper to receive more oxygen and fresh energy. Take the extra care to check in with yourself and ask “how am I actually feeling right now?”  Make the time for a good grounding meditation. Stay centered in your life so you don’t get uprooted during the windstorm. We have an awesome 5-minute grounding guided meditation on our free Ego-Less app on the Anxiety-less island that you are welcome to use at your leisure!

Get it straight

Now if that last point “make the time to meditate” was immediately stamped with rejection and honestly annoyed you because obviously you are way too frickin busy to meditate right now – hang on a sec… my brutally-practical and brilliant business mentor shared a popular story with me that I think you should hear right about now.  It’s a story that was inspired by one of Abrham Lincon’s quotes. A story about 2 wood cutters. And if you’ve heard this one before, you probably need to hear it again, so here’s a version of it…

Once upon a time there were 2 wood cutters.   One wood cutter, let’s call him “Jay” was the hardest working wood cutter you’ve ever met.  He woke up at the crack of dawn and worked his ass off until well past 10pm every night – 7 days a week.  He prided himself on how hard he worked. Day in and day out, Jay worked around the clock and cut down as much wood as he possibly could.

The other wood cutter, let’s call him “Bob” also worked in this metaphorical forest and he too was a hard worker that was up at the crack of dawn to start his choppin’, however every night at 6pm on the button he waved good-bye to Jay and headed home.  

As time went on, Jay began to notice that Bob was somehow cutting down more wood then him.  “How could this be?! I’m here every night HOURS after he goes home? WTF???! How can Bob be more productive than me?!!!”  It started driving Jay crazy! Because everyday Bob seemed to be cutting down more and more wood than him. So finally Jay had it.  He was pissed. He walked over to Bob and said “what the hell. How can you possibly be cutting down more wood than me – I am here SO MUCH longer than you every night – what do you do that I don’t do?!!!”

Bob smiled and said to him “every night when I go home at 6pm, I spend the night sharpening my axe.”

You see.  When we don’t sharpen our axe (our mind) everything takes so much longer for us to do.  Whereas, that 5-15 minutes a day of meditation or at least sitting quietly and watching our breath – balances our inner world.  A calm mind has the cognitive ability to juggle everything better. Meditation helps us operate so much more efficiently, think more proactively, remember things better, remain more objective, and work smarter not harder.  It also gives us more endurance in the long run. That 5 minutes today can save your tomorrow self an hour. Try to implement these important points into your multi-focusing act to minimize your fluster and optimize your external and internal juggling abilities.  Also, know that all juggling sessions have a life span and sooner or later you will need to rest – even if your body has to be the one to force you to rest.  Be sure to include an end-game somewhere into your performance.  Once it’s all over, remember to take a bow and pat yourself on the back.  In the meantime, do your best, try to have fun juggling, and trust in your potential to put on a great show!