Monday, May 9, 2011

Balancing Act: One Step at a Time

Too much on your plate?
Are you one of those people with a wide variety of interests, who gets excited by every new idea or project that you take on? Are you also one of those people who suddenly realizes that you have who-knows-how-many responsibilities tugging you in who-knows-how-many directions...and yet you're still determined to control the situation? 

Ya. Me too.

I'm the first to admit that I can take too much on to my plate. I love brainstorming, I love exploring all of my passions and I adore every opportunity that comes knocking. But what happens when that knocking starts to sound more like a fist banging on the door? Do you answer or pretend you aren't home? The decision is different for each of us.  Whether you're still a student, a soon to be grad or a working professional, we all need to remember that there is such thing as taking on too much at a time. The real question is, how do you avoid that?

It's been said before, and by more acclaimed individuals than myself, but quality is consistently valued over quantity. It doesn't matter which industry you apply it to, the same idea holds true. The implications of this have lately been on my mind as I try to navigate the tasks set before me. With as many projects as I'm involved in, how do I give each the time and effort they're worth, without sacrificing one for another? 

I've always been a firm believer in chasing after one's passions and dreams and it's led me to my current situation where I work multiple part-time jobs alongside a variety of other endeavors. It keeps me on my toes and I love knowing that every day is different from the last. But I won't lie to you. There are definitely the days where I feel as if I'm rushing to catch up, sprinting towards a finish line that keeps drifting further and further away. 

Planners do what they say - help you plan & prioritize!
Why take on so many different responsibilities then, right? Because it's not so easy to turn off your passions. There's always that voice in the back of your head saying "What if?" What if this potentially leads somewhere amazing? Somewhere new? Somewhere I wouldn't have reached without taking that chance? 

The answer is actually quite simple. It's all about prioritizing your workload. Ok, so maybe that's not as simple for everybody (myself included), but it's a skill that can be learned. Don't give up on the things you're passionate about because it might seem like too much but DO keep in mind that you are only one person. A rubber band only stretches so far before it snaps. Yes, I'm comparing people to rubber bands, but I think the metaphor is justified in this case.

There will be the times where you'll have to be OK with turning something down. Will you regret it later? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. These are the choices we learn from. Communicate with the people around you, invest in a planner if it helps (one of my favorites, even if it is considered old-school) and take everything one step at a time. You can't change yesterday and tomorrow will always be there waiting. The best thing you can do is put one foot in front of the other and take advantage of the here and now. Before you know it, you'll be welcoming the next opportunity that comes knocking.