Mindset Moment: Forget “Work-Life Balance” & Learn to Juggle Instead

You can’t do it all. At least, not all at the same time! But if you’re anything like me, you WANT to do it all, or at least want to do a lot of things, and you don’t want to actually feel like hot garbage while you do it…

Over the years, I’ve really benefited from thinking about a different way to do all the things. I think about doing them one at a time. Instead of keeping all the things in balance with one another, I think about focusing on just one at a time, and juggling the rest. So let’s talk juggling.

 
 

I’ve been trying for over a decade now to achieve that elusive work-life balance. Or any kind of feeling of balance. I thought that if my life was in balance, each part of it, each thing I did, would take up its appropriate amount of space. And each part of my life would somehow fit together like a beautiful puzzle, supporting one another and making my life complete.


Well, isn’t that a beautiful load of garbage.


I’ve come to the conclusion, at nearly 34 years old, that “work-life balance” is a pretty little myth we tell ourselves so that we feel like we can do it ALL. Yes, you CAN have a career, a family, a social life, a hobby, a clean house, a side hustle, a workout routine, home-cooked meals, a volunteer project, and an insert-your-next-idea here - you just need to learn how to find balance!


Garbage.


You can’t do it all. At least, not all at the same time! But if you’re anything like me, you WANT to do it all, or at least want to do a lot of things, and you don’t want to actually feel like hot garbage while you do it…


I actually googled the steps to learning to juggle in hopes they would help me articulate this better… and I’m going to use the internet’s advice to help me break down for you now Steph’s Steps for Juggling Life. Here. We. Go.


Step 1: Choose the right balls. Or don’t start with balls at all.

  • Maybe you start with scarves, because they’re lighter and give you more time to think.

  • Maybe you start with beanbags, because they’re easier and give you time to work on your skills.

  • Make sure that you’re choosing activities and responsibilities in your life that are a good fit for you - that bring you joy, that honor what you believe in, that make you feel strong, that provide resources for your life. Set yourself up to learn to juggle well.

Step 2: Start with one ball, and practice until you’re consistent.

  • I don’t know about you, but if I were to pick up five balls and try to throw them in the air all at once, they’re going to be rolling around the floor in seconds…

  • Instead, I’d probably learn to juggle better by throwing one back and forth for a bit, getting used to the pace, the arc, the way it feels in my hands. When I can confidently toss that one around, it’ll be time to add more.

  • Maybe it isn’t time to add a side hustle until your current projects feel easy.

  • Maybe starting a huge house project during the holidays will be tough to manage.

  • Maybe you want to get up 15 mins earlier each day before trying for an hour.

  • Set. Yourself. Up. For. Success.

Step 3: Add more balls slowly.

  • Here’s the thing: You can only throw the second ball once one ball is in the air. You aren’t balancing or multitasking; you’re doing one thing at a time and switching back and forth.

  • It’s okay to give one thing at a time your focus. You’ll do that thing with your whole heart and let yourself toss the other away for a little bit. It’ll come back down to you when it’s time.

  • My favorite tip at this step: Adjust the height if you don’t have enough time for both balls. Toss one away a little higher, a little longer, if you need more time to focus on something. Give quick little tosses when you’re in the zone and hustling through. Each day of juggling doesn’t need the same amount of balls or the same amount of height. Adjust your juggling based on the needs and abilities of that day.

Step 4: Practice, practice, practice.

  • Did you wake up this morning able to juggle five flaming clubs? PHEW, me neither! Can you easily juggle 3 bouncing balls? I can for about two tosses… Can you swap two beanbags back and forth? Sure. Move up from that.

  • Give yourself the grace to practice, drop, pick up, practice, change materials, change heights, and practice.

  • Let yourself make a mess. Change jobs. Change relationships. Throw out everything in your house and start fresh. Try something new. Change what you eat. Add a project. Say no. And keep practicing with what you have.

  • Like all things, your juggling WILL improve with practice.


A few more tips:

  • Always look up. Keep your gaze soft and eyes centrally located. It’s easier this way to see the big picture.

  • Use balls that boun