The Summer-to-Fall Transition Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard This Year
Have you ever heard of Enrico Rastelli? He was born into a circus family in the late 1800s, and was a world-renowned juggler by the early 1930s. Enrico toured the world, amazing audiences with his incredible skills. He was famous for being able to juggle six plates while spinning a hoop with one foot and simultaneously jumping rope.
Times have changed, and entertainment has too, but even today, he would probably command huge audiences with those juggling skills. He’d definitely be huge on TikTok. It’s an incredibly rare feat to be able to keep that many moving pieces up in the air without any of them dropping.
Most of us don’t have those kinds of juggling skills, literally or figuratively. There’s a hard limit on how many things we can keep in the air at once, and trying to push that limit tends to backfire on time management and productivity.
Your list of “spinning plates” probably gets long in September.
Being pulled in too many directions is a year-round time management challenge, but autumn tends to be a time when professionals have a lot to juggle.
Do these sound familiar?
- You, your team, and your clients are all back from summer vacation, and everyone’s preparing for the last big push of the year and needing things from you. Meanwhile, you might be trying to catch up on projects and tasks you put off during the lazier summer months on top of everything new that’s coming up.
- A new school year is upending your family’s daily schedule, creating turmoil and new obligations for you. Parent/teacher meetings, sports practices, and checking homework all get added back to your list of routine responsibilities.
- You’re looking ahead at the rest of the year and realizing you are going to have to really push and put in more work if you’re going to meet your targets and complete your goals for the year.
It’s all important, and it all needs your attention. It seems like you have no choice but to buckle down and somehow get it all done.
If you try to juggle too much this fall, what will you end up dropping?
To extend the metaphor a little longer, picture yourself trying to juggle four balls. You might even be able to do it for a few seconds, but when your brain gets overwhelmed and your hands fail you, you’ll probably grab a few random balls and let the others drop.
The same thing can happen when you try to split your attention across too many tasks. Inevitably, something isn’t going to get done, and you won’t always get to choose to let the least important thing drop. You might spend all day racing through a to-do list of menial tasks, but make a big mistake in a meeting with your biggest client or miss a kid’s very important soccer game.
Often, the things busy professionals end up allowing to drop relate to self-care and health. All the things you’re trying to juggle are so important that you don’t feel you can sacrifice any of them, so you sacrifice sleep, exercise, or meals to make more time for work. Denying yourself the time you need to rest and recharge won’t help you reach your productivity goals; it’ll only cause burnout.
3 Action Steps to Juggle Everything Effectively This Fall
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. The fewer balls you’re responsible for keeping in the air, the more time and attention you can give to each of them. Are there tasks and responsibilities that you currently feel ownership over but that don’t truly need to be yours? Maybe it’s a volunteer commitment that you need someone else to cover, a recurring administrative task that someone on your team could handle, or a task around your house that you could hire help for.
- Create reminders to “Practice the Pause”. When there’s a ton going on, jumping from task to task can trick you into feeling like you’re getting a lot done when you’re really just overwhelming your brain. Answering a client’s email while you’re on hold with the doctor’s office and texting your partner at the same time can leave you feeling frazzled and more prone to errors and oversights. Using my Practice the Pause technique reminds you to manage overwhelm by stopping, breathing, and taking a moment to step back and choose the most important thing for you to do next. Click Here for the full instructions.
- Set guidelines for prioritizing your time. Even when you have a clear plan and a good time management strategy for the day, unexpected things are always going to pop up. Coming up with some guidelines for dealing with curveballs can help you make quick decisions about how to move forward. For example, there might be certain projects, clients, or network contacts whose needs trump your regularly scheduled activities. If a message from one of those sources comes in, you’ll stop what you’re doing to address it. You might decide that messages from other contacts will have to wait for your attention until you complete whatever your most important tasks are for the day. Messages from family members might be a top priority for you to answer, or you might elect to ignore any non-emergency personal messages until work is done. It’s all up to you.
Craving some support to banish time management and productivity stress this fall?
There are always going to be a lot of plates that you need to keep spinning, but time management challenges shouldn’t add to your stress. Join me starting September 5th for Time Matters Boot Camp 90-day program to get the tools you need to create peaceful productivity and increase your bottom line this fall. I’m going to walk you through everything you need to do to take control of your time instead of feeling like it’s controlling you.