When my eldest son, Jeremiah, had his tenth birthday, we hired an entertainer for his birthday. The man put on quite a show that involved a unicycle, a book that caught fire and a juggling act. He accomplished all of this with pizzazz and finesse. He told jokes and stories as he accomplished amazing feats with ease. We all "oohed and aahed" at his great talent. He made the whole affair look like child's play. To this day, we are incredibly grateful for his effort to make the day memorable.
In those days, I was doing a juggling act of my own. I chose to home school my two sons and did my best to keep up with housework and meals as well as extra activities with my home school group and church. Just like any parent, there were many times I dropped one of the objects I was juggling...always hoping it wasn't one of the kiddos.... but I would just pick it up again and continue on. It took a lot of practice and new techniques to figure out how to be efficient at what I did, and then I would add one more thing. I'm amazed my boys survived... but they did.. and now they are juggling their own things.
Life now is different in many ways. I am still juggling housework and meals, but I have two businesses, instead of two sons, in my mix. So, how do I juggle all these things? Sometimes badly, however, I do have a system that helps me with my routine...and if I stick to it, I do pretty well.
1. Take time to pray. I find that if I start my day in the Bible and prayer, my priorities tend to be clearer. I have better direction. There is something about putting the day in God's hands that helps me handle what He hands back.
2. Make a priority list. This is my husband's habit, and during our 25 years of marriage, it has inevitably rubbed off on me. I put a list of long term goals (5 year, 1 year, monthly) together and write them on a white board in my studio to keep me on track and remind me where I'm going. Then I have another board with short term goals (week, daily) to give me purpose for each day.
3. Make a schedule. I have scheduled my week as if it were a budget. I put time slots down for everything I do. I had my schedule printed out and put it up in my studio so I see it every day. Am I perfect at keeping the schedule? Not yet, but It's only a month old now. However, I can say that I am more mindful of the schedule and strive to stick close to it. It gives me focus on the value of time.
4. Have someone to be accountable to. My accountability partner is my dear friend, Ellen. She lives next door and works in the studio with me. She holds me accountable without saying a word. When she pops into the studio and starts working, I feel the pull to be productive as well.
5. Learn to say no. This is a huge problem with me, but I understand it and am determined to learn it. I, as an innovator, have a bazillion ideas, but I can't accomplish them all. I am learning to pass ideas off to friends who can do them or I just put them on my dream list and go on.
6. Accept change graciously...be flexible. Not everything works out as I plan. Sometimes I set out with the greatest intentions, but in the end, if it doesn't happen, my life won't end. Change can be good....like a wiser person once said, "when God closes a door, He opens a window."
Anyway, those are a few things that help me out. I am still learning to juggle, but hopefully, one of these days, I can be the type who can juggle with ease.... like JJ the Juggler .... my hero :)