“I’m so busy!” is the modern war cry. It’s a more common response to “How are you” than the ubiquitous catch all “fine”. And we are right – we ARE busy. Busier than ever. Changing economic dynamics means doing more with less for those in the workplace, whether corporate or self employed, and the eternal juggle of a parent trying to keep all the balls in the air is all too real, and well documented.
Modern life is packed with stuff to get done, people to be seen, activities to be organised, money to be made, houses to be cleaned, meals to be cooked, families to be visited, groceries to be bought, clients to be seen, reports to be written, cars to be serviced, miles to be run and so on. Then of course there are all those social media feeds to keep on top of too, right? Isn’t all this technology supposed to be making our life easier and more relaxed? The reality is even if you are lucky enough to have a great support crew (cleaner, virtual assistant, gardener, etc) there is still A LOT to do! Life. Is. Busy.
The juggle of modern life is real. Critically, it’s also pretty much inevitable. It’s pretty much the default option of modern living. Being an effective and relaxed juggler involves acceptance. Accepting that a full life of juggling has been actively chosen – we have chosen to fill it with things that take much time, effort, attention – work, children, partners, friends, sport, social activities, and so on. These are all things that are truly important to us, that we are actively choosing to include in our lives. Of course we are busy!
The path of peace involves embracing the juggle not fighting it. The juggle can be a struggle, or it can be like the real circus jugglers – it can be fun, active, thrilling to pull off! You get to choose the attitude you bring to the elements you have chosen to juggle. Can you cheerfully strengthen your Juggle Muscle, rather than descend into Juggle Struggle?
If you are feeling overwhelmed and that you are in danger of dropping a ball or two – STOP, and prioritise the balls you have in the air. Number them, 1 through 8/9/10. Then choose to put one or two down (or outsource them if you can) for a while to give you some breathing space, For example, I previously dropped the mission critical “health + wellbeing” ball so catastrophically (I burned myself out completely with Adrenal Fatigue) that I couldn’t work, at all, for over a year. The “health + wellbeing” ball – that’s the #1 ball (Top 3 at the very least) – that’s not a ball you want to drop! But the “clean and tidy house” well – that’s something you can choose to live with being at 80%, and that you can outsource. It’s a lot easier to live with your house, or your social life, at 80%, than your health – trust me!
So – if you accept the juggle you get to choose and, even more importantly, prioritise, which and how many elements you get to have in the air at any one time. We get to say “I’m so busy!” but with a smile rather than a sigh. It means we have chosen to fill our lives with many things that are truly important to us. So assess what comprises your busyness. Be ruthless and put down a couple of balls if you need to. Make smart and empowered choices. As the ever wise Oprah said “You can have it all. Just not all at once”.