It feels like what you are juggling just gets bigger and bigger? It’s like the never-ending washing basket. The list gets longer and longer. Do you feel overwhelmed, out of control and utterly crap because you cannot seem to keep up with it all? You are stretched, resulting in guilt as you feel you are under delivering.
Juggling is something that comes up with a lot of clients I work with. I get it because I have been there! I see the constant battle and mental stress it brings. That need to live up to expectation. I have seen the damage juggling can do both mentally and physically, when it is come from a place of needing to. If you let it get out of control, it will control you and it can hurt a lot!
Living Freedom in my 20’s
In my 20s my priorities consisted of showing up for work, paying my rent, feeding myself and having fun. I am sure many of you relate. I felt I had so much more control over my life, because of priorities I made for myself. After all I only had myself to look after. I had so much freedom. Freedom many now come seeking.
20+ years on its very different for me now. My priorities include kids, family, dog, clients, expanding the business, and each one of them have priorities and needs I often need to meet. It can get overwhelming. It can feel as if life is moving too fast! You are pulled in many directions. You can feel in a spin and out of control.
That is what I loved about Covid. THE GREAT PAUSE. Pause to reflect on the meaning of life. No expectations to meet. To learn and appreciate how the simple things can bring joy and happiness. It gave everyone time to rethink their priorities.
Post COVID Madness
But post Covid we are back to the rat race. Back to our old normal way of living. Trying to meet many needs, expectations. Expectations we set for ourself and that are set by others. We strive to do our best, but perhaps stretch ourselves a little too much, trying to fit too much into one day.
Is Juggling an accepted norm?
For me I avoid juggling too much. I know the consequences. Recently I deprioritised a task, and only attended to it after I came up for air on another more important task I was focused on. I chose not to juggle both tasks at the same time, so that I could give this important task my focus and my best.
In response to this way of working i.e. focused, it was pointed out that “we are all juggling”. It sounded like juggling was an expected way of living. That little sentence rung through me. I asked myself, is juggling now a necessary part of life? Has juggling become a new normal, a matyr role that we have started to accept of ourselves and of others? Is this what people are signing up to, because “we are all juggling”?
Seeing those words staring at me, I felt that if I am not juggling it must mean I am not doing enough, I am not good enough because over here “we are all juggling”. I felt the pressure that what I needed to do was improve my ability to juggle and just god damn keep, sure “we are all juggling” !
It unsettled me. I thought I was doing great and making progress. I was focused on my priorities. However I placed so much meaning on these words and what it must mean. That feeling that I once felt, I am not good enough. I haven’t managed to keep up with juggling. I was starting to compare.
Even though what I was doing was right for me. I was prioritising and focusing and avoiding overwhelm. For me juggling seems a little out of my control, uncertain. Like someone can add something to my plate without my permission and unexpectedly. For me it means overwhelm, it means stress, bad things happen (proven!) So of course it would make sense that I am sensitive to it and avoid it.
So I went back to my why, what I value and impart to all my clients and that is:
- You have a choice
- Focus on your values
- What is your need
- What is your priority
If they are different to someone else’s, that’s ok! I am doing what I am doing now because it makes me Happy and brings me so much joy. It’s a life’s work and it brings flexibility to make choices that are right for me. Time to spend with family. Time to do and expand on the things I love, new learnings, my clients, my group program.
Doing this while not feeling overwhelmed and trusting myself and my needs is an important part of the journey. Reminding myself I am doing a great job. I am doing my best with the capacity I have, to show up as my best.
I love what I do. There are a lot of different hats I need to wear each day, but I get to decide based on my priorities and my needs in that moment and what I value. Making decisions that are right for me.
Right now, that priority is time. Time to invest in myself, time to reflect, time to share with my clients the very best of me, but also to give myself the best. And if I am juggling too much, I can’t give my very best and I feel crap. For me it’s not juggling, its priorities I choose to invest in at any one time.
Reflect on what juggling means for you and is it ok? Perhaps think of it as priorities and prioritise what is important to you.
- Give yourself a break. Don’t feel you need to be a martyr!
- Prioritise what feels right for you.
- Don’t let other people’s priorities and values become yours!
- Feel empowered to say No and to change your mind.
- Don’t compare yourself. Everyone’s day and journey is different.
- Don’t juggle because “we are all juggling”
Juggling is a choice, and you are empowered to make choices that are right for you. It is never too late to change. Most of us have been gifted with time, time that we can use to do what feels right and makes us happy.