Catching things before they hit the floor

This past week was chaos. Sickness overtook me, sleep deprivation settled in, and all the efforts of school, work and extracurricular combined their forces to bring me down. It was a battle but I made it to the weekend.

Sometimes that’s just how it goes. To quote Carol Bartz, “Balance is the constant maneuvering of catching things before they hit the floor.” That was certainly the case this week. While it’s sometimes unavoidable, I don’t want to live my life that way. Putting too much on your plate just results in problems down the road.

I’d rather be excellent at three things than mediocre at twelve. I’d rather be an influence to a few than an acquaintance to many. I’d rather be a hammer than a nail (Simon and Garfunkel, anybody?). While this philosophy sounds simple, it can be painful to implement.

It’s hard to say no to people you like. I like people. I like spending time with them, helping them, teaching them about the things I have learned. I admit that in the past, I’ve struggled with over-committing myself. As I have learned from these experiences, I often take the Derek Sivers approach and only commit when I’m super-pumped about an opportunity. And thats ok.

Tina Seelig preaches that “You can do it all… just not at the same time.” Life is long. Just ask Sandra Day O’Connor, who grew up on a cattle ranch, got an education, worked as an attorney, served in the US Army, raised 3 children, wrote a book, served in the Arizona State Senate, then later as a Supreme Court Justice, and received many distinctions over her years of faithful service to her country. That’s a woman who has done many things and done them right, by focusing on them one at a time and hitting them out of the ballpark.

So now I’m choosing to focus on finishing school, rocking my capstone project, and managing the transition into whatever comes next. If that means saying no a couple times, then that’s ok. I aim to do this right, even if I have to put off other worthy causes for another time.