Oops! Do It Again
I used to be incredibly afraid of dropping balls - like, seriously afraid. I don't know if I watched too many cartoons as a kid and thought there was going to be some catastrophic explosion if I didn't respond to every email received within 36 hours. Truth be told, I don't know if I was more fearful of letting myself or others down, but either way, I would sacrifice recovery time, workouts, and even sleep if it meant meeting a deadline, getting the formatting on a document just right, or making sure everyone was ready to go for the next day.
Then one day, I didn't. I dropped a ball (heck, let's be honest, it was probably two or three). And you know what, there were no explosions, we all survived, and I got that extra hour of sleep I desperately needed.
Picking Up the Pieces
But what was more telling to me in that moment - and so many like it that followed - wasn't about which balls stayed in the air or which ones dropped (sometimes those choices are beyond our control). No, what was more important was that I took note of which balls I cared enough about to go pick up.
Did I make sure to meet the deadline next time? Did the formatting really matter? What parts of our family's routine truly kept things humming and happy and which ones just made it look like we had it together (by the way, none of us fully do).
Time to Get Real
In the mix and mess of it all, we are going to drop balls. Those who consistently make the pieces fit (and make it look perfect to the rest of us) are the ones who take careful notes about what they will let go. Here are some examples from my own experience:
Don't Respond to Every Email
I only check email twice per day, and they all get stacked. Some receive quick responses at the start of each day as a part of my launch routine and are promptly filed. Others are important but receive greater attention in the afternoon when I have time to thoughtfully process a response. Then some hang out for a few days. They get revisited on Fridays - my least productive days - and my prime time to clear these out before the weekend. I am thoughtful about which emails stay in the air, those that are dropped, and those that get picked back up (and when).
Skip the Parade
I have stopped trying to be the perfectly engaged parent. PTA, fundraisers, class parties, and book fairs are not my wheelhouse. I will Venmo you money for party supplies, shop any online link you send my way (spirit gear anyone?), Sign Up Genius for all the paper plates and store-bought peanut-free cookies, but I won't craft. Now to be fair, I do sit on our local school board, but this is a good example of playing to our strengths and not feeling like we have to do it all - we can't (and we shouldn't).
I meal plan two weeks at a time on our family's Google calendar, but I don't meal prep. I need to be able to call an audible if it's been a rough day, including ordering takeout. Meal prep has been lifechanging for so many people. It only brought me frustration when I didn't feel like eating what had been prepared. Plus, I prefer to spend my Sundays reading books, playing outside, going to my son's soccer games, and enjoying dinner with my parents. I dropped the meal prep ball, and I never picked it back up. And I am okay with that.
What balls have you dropped that you plan to pick back up? Which ones should stay right where they are? 🏀
Stop worry about dropping balls. Start focusing on which ones you care enough about to pick back up.