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05/09/2010

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Juggling is a great analogy -- sometimes there are many more than 5 balls in the air, sometimes flaming torches, chain saws and knives are in the mix -- not only can we damage them when dropped but they can hurt us. Keep the good ideas coming. Brian

What I think I hear you saying is that we need to be intentional in determining which, if any, balls to drop instead of going all out until one or more hit the floor. If we don't make the decision then what happens is really out of our control. As a juggler I have found that I can give a much better show to those that are watching if I am juggling 3 balls instead of 5. Maybe we need to keep working at reducing the number of things in the air at any one time.

Thanks for your excellent comments, Perry and Brian. For sure we are not in control of all the balls (and knives, etc.) that we are being expected to juggle. But we must be in control of expectations and make it clear which we can effectively manage. It's a constant battle.

Hey Perry,

I like the analogy, though I think it may be a little too simple to cover all cases. The truth is that the idea of these being separate and distinct balls only works for certain types of employees. If you are the owner of business, for example, this is definitely the wrong analogy. But it is a good analogy for someone who is a clerk, for example.

The people I would expect to not be able to use this analogy are those in management or owner of businesses. For them especially, all of these "balls" need to be able to support in some ways the other balls. It is that integration that makes work/life balance difficult in the first place.

All people need a break from most of the aspects of their lives (the only exceptions to this would be naturally required like eating, sleeping, etc.). How they go about taking those breaks is the key to balancing their responsibilities with their passions with their families, each of which are dependent upon the others in one way or another.

Also, I like Brian's idea of reducing the number of things that we juggle - a back to basics approach is something that I have been preaching at work.

Great post! I am glad I got to read this today.

Have a good evening!

Mark - I agree that the owner of a business (and I watch my wife do this all that time) truly "owns" every ball. But it really is the same for a homeowner. Or a parent.

My assumption is that we only have 24 hours in a day and too much to do. We are going to have to decide what not to do. Cutting payroll checks is mandatory (and hopefully something to be automated) so that ball can't be ignored, for example.

A key question remains is how to not let ignored things cause undue stress.

What a great dialog. Thank you all.

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