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  Jane Miller


Articles -- Juggling

I don’t know anyone who is not juggling. When you’re just starting out you might be juggling studies, work, friends, personal time. Later on, you might have finished with the ‘studies’ ball and added ‘family’. When you retire you may drop the ‘work’ ball but you pick up all those things you had missed and now (in theory) have time to do - ‘travel’, ‘writing’, ‘art’...

Whatever your phase in life and whatever balls you’re juggling, the challenge of balancing your time successfully is not trivial. But there are ways to categorize things on your to-do list that can help you prioritize.

The Important / Urgent Matrix
One technique makes use of the “Important / Urgent Matrix”. This is a four-quadrant table, with “Important” and “Not Important” along the top and “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” down the side. The first step is to place each to-do item in one of the four quadrants.

When judging importance, consider what would happen if it didn’t get done. When judging urgency, ask yourself what would happen if you delayed doing it. Items may, in time, move to the Important/Urgent box, but be realistic about where it is now.

Once you have categorized the items on your to-do list, it will become clear which items have the highest priority - those in the “Important / Urgent” quadrant.

Self-care list
Unfortunately, we are sometimes tempted to sacrifice our own personal well-being in order to get all the Important / Urgent tasks done. So we work while having lunch or we get less sleep than we need, and we skip activities that we enjoy - socializing, hobbies, etc. Or we may drop our 'career change' plans.

So it may be a good idea to create a separate list of items that contribute to your personal well being. You may call it “self-care”.

Then you need to adjust the time you spend on those “Important / Urgent” items while still allowing time for your own personal well being. You may have to delegate, delay or drop some of the Important / Urgent activities, but do find a way to honor your most important self-care items.

Protected time
Sometimes it helps to dedicate a specific time each day (or each week) for specific self-care activities, and to find a way to protect that time.

By looking carefully at the tasks that are really important and those you can delay and drop, you may be able to give yourself more time for your personal well being.

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