Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FINDING TIME FOR IT ALL (spinning plates)

At the end of each day, if you are like many of us, you lay your head down on the pillow reviewing the day, we think about the things  accomplished, and  a mental reminder that there are several things "that didn't get done".

 We have been blessed AND cursed by having "efficiency tools"  smart phones, computers, and applications that claim to allow us to do several things simultaneously.  Knowing how to properly utilize the tools is another topic for another posting. However,  I really challenge each of you to think about your day.  Every day you are faced with multiple often competing priorities through out the day, ask yourself are you spending hours a day focusing on one or two  tasks and ignoring other area's of your life?  

This pattern of  "UN-balance" is a phase that you do not want to remain in for any length of time, if we stay in a "UN-balanced" phase then things begin to break down,  your health, (physical & mental well being) our relationships,  & our work. The more time spent in this phase the "breaking down" becomes compounded.
Soon, your unmotivated, stuck and your productivity bottoms out you have stopped moving forward.

   It reminds me of the old Ed Sullivan variety show, Ed always featured a variety of performers & each show featured the latest emerging musical star, the Beatles, Doors, Stones, Sly & the Family Stone, the Jackson 5.
 If you were a featured performer on the Sullivan show "you had made it to the big time".

One of my favorite re-occurring performers was a guy in a tuxedo who would "spin plates" on these thin tall poles attached to a table,  he also had several other plates he would spin on their sides, and several "other things he was doing at the table he had set up while the plates would spin, and ultimately wobble precariously. He looked professional, but he was constantly running between the task of doing something, and then stopping to spin a plate, doing something else then spinning another plate. Soon he had 5 plates spinning on 5 poles and several little plates on the table  AND maintaining a separate table with other glasses and tableware on it. 

As a grown up my plate spinning friend reminded me that each of us has a 4-5 "plates" we are spinning each day, each plate representing a different segment of your life- and the many other tasks that demanded our attention.

 Your 1st plate: is your personal life  all your Social obligations / Relationships- If you have children or a partner you may have a plate that represents all of THEIR social obligations, soccer games, after school activities that you shuttle them to & from. (one plate for you, one plate for the kids, one plate for your partner)
 Then you have a plate that represents work or school (or if you work AND go to school you have 2 plates), You then have a plate that represents your free time- this time may be dedicated to commuting, a hobby or sport you like to do when  you have a precious bit of free time. 
 You also have a plate that might represent your spiritual life (whether that is a regular "Sunday service" kind of thing, or your semi regular walk in the woods, bike ride, trip to the beach, or your  or what ever practice  you choose for worship). Finally, there is a financial plate that represents the monthly obligations you have to your mortgage company, auto finance, insurance, credit cards etc.

Free Time/Hobby
Worship  Spiritual

Smaller Plates: (on the table)
all the day to day demands

We spend our day's much like my friend the plate spinner,  (who I have included a video of  in this blog which I invite you to watch).  As you watch the plate spinner imagine your life and each plates significance as a major area in your life.  You'll note that "attention" is required to keep each plate spinning  upon the pole, if one plate upon the pole is ignored for any length of time it will come crashing down shattering upon the floor.

Ask yourself, what areas of my life are being neglected, and is there "UN-balance"?
Are there "plates" in your life that are in danger of, or have already crashed to the floor?

Is this the first time you have looked at the key area's of your life and realized there are 4,5,6 key area's that required your ongoing attention?

The simple step of acknowledging which area's need your attention are the 1st steps to re-claiming balance in your life.
Congratulations! Changing a cycle (even unhealthy ones) are not always easy, and once you have acknowledged UN-balance you still have to DO SOMETHING about it. No one else can spin these plates for you, it is ultimately up to you to take action-

If you need assistance in learning how to utilize some very simple organizing tools to help you get get the "plates spinning" again let's talk.