Thursday, January 23, 2014

Choosing the Best Three Things

Okay, so I've come to the conclusion that a person can only do three things really well. If we try to stuff our schedule or workload with more than three things, they all suffer.

Or maybe I can only juggle three things very well.

So for me, I'm constantly moving the third thing. See, #1 is family, and #2 is work. Those two don't move -- they can't be replaced with anything else.

But #3 is constantly up for grabs. When I'm on deadline or have revision notes, #3 is writing. For the past few months, #3 has been establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes #3 has to be organizing conferences, or whatever else. There are a million things to fill our time with, right?

Whenever I have to do two of those really well -- like keep going to the gym when I'm under deadline, all four things start to teeter and totter. Thankfully, these circumstances only happen every once in a while, for a limited time.

Anyway, my conclusion is we can only do three things -- well -- at one time. Otherwise we get mentally and physically taxed.

What do you think? Have you noticed this to be true in your life? Where does writing fit in?

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If that's true, writing alternates with my guitar playing. Right now I'm trying to do both. No wonder I'm struggling.

Angela Brown said...

You may have nailed it with this point, Elana. When I tried to find balance with moving things all around, things just couldn't settle. But once I prioritized and set goals, I've found that my direction is clearer and much more goal-productive. Plus, my relationship with my kiddo has gotten better now that I'm not lost in my own made-wilderness of work-life-balance.

Kittie Howard said...

You might be on to something, Elana. Since the three areas include so much in one's life, just juggling those three challenges, especially when one of the areas expands. We recently renovated our kitchen, a time-consuming (and messy) project that played havoc with #3.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I used to spend a lot of time with my photography. Not so much anymore. I had to buy a new DSLR back in November because my old one died. I still haven't read the manual (which is massive). I was going to read it during my release week (because I knew I couldn't write then), but so far that hasn't happened. But today I will finally make time, because I really do miss it.

Family comes first most of the time, but I have had deadlines hit while I was on vacation. Fortunately I have a very understanding family. Working out and not working out isn't a question for me. If I go a few days without exercise I get cranky.

jenny said...

I definitely get what you are saying! For me it's always family and managing my household (which is my primary "job" as a stay at home mom) first. And for a long time that was followed up with blogging/photography/yoga/reading/writing but I've gotten to the point where I do feel like I kind of have to focus on one of those last things at a time in order to get anything done at all. A good friend of mine always says, "In order to say Yes to what really matters, you sometimes have to say No to what doesn't." I wouldn't say I have ever achieved perfect balance or productiveness but it feels good to shift those priorities around a little.

Janet Johnson said...

I found this exact thing to be true. When I focus on writing, exercise goes out the window, and vice versa. It can be frustrating, but I think it helps to realize it up front. And congrats on losing 20 pounds!! That is a lot of work, right there. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking this through, and unfortunately I think its true. I say unfortunately because there's really much more on my plate than three things...so what am I sucking at? I guess it's good that I officially quit my lawyering job bc now writing is my job. That's weird to say.

Shallee said...

I completely agree. When I start getting unbalanced because of an extra thing on my plate, I remind myself balancing isn't a one-time deal, but something I have to do every day, and it's okay!

rochelledeans said...

For sure. Family/Volunteering/Writing is a typical one for me. When I got pregnant (and therefore got sick), writing got replaced with 'growing a human' - and that only because it sounded better than 'being pregnant' or 'taking naps.' ;) By the end of the year, piano playing, which was a huge priority for me for most of 2013, got dropped off so completely that I ended up not meeting my hourly goal for the year, even though I was ahead of the game in September.

Also, no wonder I struggle at doing well at my day job. It's just... not a priority anymore. Which I don't think I'm supposed to admit.

Leandra Wallace said...

Yup, my life is home, work, and writing at night. If I were to add anything else, something would get squeezed out- like clean underwear or dishes w/out crusties? :)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I hear you on this one. I'm like you, it seems. Three things is about all I can handle. That's why publishing is not happening this year, and I'm focusing on weight loss and writing books. Then there's family on the top. And I'm done, heh. Somehow, church stuff gets squeezed in there.

L.L. Muir said...

Writing is number one. Family takes up 2-15.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Writing is top priority. But procrastination has been creeping in.

Nicole said...

I keep wanting to move writing into the #2 spot instead of work. ;)

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