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What Priorities Do You Juggle? | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

What Priorities Do You Juggle?

Music races while the juggler starts the act. First tossing one item, then two, and then more. We all know if the juggle tackles too many items, something will fall.

Life imitates art. When we juggle too many pieces, something generally slips our grasp. If it’s fragile, it smashes into pieces when it lands. We can try to juggle all those things and just hope nothing bad happens.

The older I get, the more I realize it’s better to instead decide which one, two, or three things are most important and focus on those things to juggle at a single time. If I’m juggling 3 things, I still have to know in my head and in my heart which is most important. All cannot be top priority. ┬áThen I have to rank what’s second most important.

There is a reason why our phone numbers and social security numbers are split into 3 and 4 digit sequences. It’s because of digit span – we can best remember chunks of information when divided into manageable parts. Doesn’t it make sense then, in our lives, that they too are most manageable if we limit the number of key things that we do?

So…..when the time comes that ┬áthere is no choice but to juggle too many things, decide what your top 1, 2, and 3 things are. Keep your focus on those items first, and don’t let them fall through the cracks. It is not possible to focus equally on two top priorities. One of them has to come first. It’s better to choose which is first and then make contingency backup plans for the one that is second.

As the seasons of our lives change, we get to swap what we juggle. Yesterday’s diapers become tomorrow’s college financial aid forms. Or they can become a whole new business to build and grow. Whether it’s yesterday’s diapers or last week’s garden, all the experiences of the past give us a foundation of opportunities from which we can build and grow a better future.

It’s amazing how I’ve learned in my third act of life – the first being childhood and growing up, the second being raising my family, and this third of growing a new business – how I see that we can’t have it all at the same time.

We can, however, over the course of a lifetime, effectively juggle a wide range of priorities and projects. So long as we are wise enough to choose only a few at the same time.

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