Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Drop The Glass Ball

Most of us are busy people.  Everyday day we are juggling many responsibilities, stretching ourselves thin, and wishing we had more hours in the day.  Then we lose sleep over what we didn't get done and the routine starts all over again the next morning.

I consider my three major responsibilities to be family, health, and work.  Generally, a typical weekday includes 10 hours at work (including commute time and lunch), 8 hours of sleep, and 6 hours to do whatever you want.  Six hours of free time seems pretty good, right?  But wait, an hour or so to workout, an hour or two for kids sports/activities, an hour to prepare and eat dinner, an hour to get the kids ready for bed, and an hour to pick up and get ready for tomorrow.  All of a sudden that six hour window shrunk down to 1-2 hours or less.

Something has to give and a few things end up falling through the cracks.  Determining what is most important in your life can be a great start to managing your activities.  The Glass Ball theory helps me evaluate this.

Ever heard of the Glass Ball theory?  I haven't until recently while reading through various websites and blogs when it clicked with me.  In short, picture that you have a ball for each of the basic responsibilities you have (i.e. family, health, friends, work, etc) and that you are juggling them. Each ball can be made of either rubber or glass.  First, determine which one is the glass ball.  The ball that no matter the circumstance cannot drop.  For me, my glass ball is family and other things like health, work, friends would be the rubber balls.  The rubber balls, that if dropped on occasion, could probably be easily picked up and thrown back into the juggle at any time.

Determine what in your life is made of glass and how not to drop it.

I love my family, I like to exercise, and I need to work.  Somehow I need to fit my family and exercise in a very short window of free time.  Family is my glass ball.  It's the most rewarding and challenging ball to juggle.  There are many times when my workout plan gets derailed because of family stuff (mostly related to various activity schedules, etc).  If you know me I like to have a plan and a map of where I am going.  I usually map out my workout plan for the week on a Sunday.  No matter what my plan is our "family" schedule seems to change which messes up my workout/routine.  When I heard of the glass ball theory I began incorporating this analogy in how I approach the situation.  Instead of freaking out and getting mad when my workout plan doesn't pan out I tell myself that the workout plan is a rubber ball.   If I can make it up over the next several days...good, and if not......then oh well. 

That's my very macro view of the glass ball theory.  You could drill the theory down to a more micro level for any situation.  For instance, my weekly workouts consist of strength training, running, swimming, and biking.  Right now running is the glass ball because of an upcoming running event and it takes priority.  The other activities get done but maybe not as planned.  However, in about a month the running glass ball will turn to rubber and the biking ball will turn to glass.

Determine what in your life is made of glass and how not to drop it.  Everything else can be modified.