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Juggling Balls: What Keeps Yours in the Air?

Right now, the best way to describe my career is that I am ‘juggling a lot of balls.' For the record, I'm not suggesting I'm a clown, I'm saying that I have a lot on my plate. 80% of the time, I'm fine with it. In fact, I like it this way. I'd be bored if I didn't have a lot going on. But, every 3 months or so, it seems like the balls collide and I go into a bit of a stress mode to get them back into a nice rhythmic juggling pattern. This week is one of those times! The good news is that over the years, I've developed a bunch of coping actions to get myself back on track. Here are just a few of the things I do:
  • Buy a new, clean notebook, sit down at the crack of dawn (when I'm most productive), and write out everything that is in my head....and I mean everything! I then organize it by category and prioritize each item with action steps and deadlines. By the time I'm done, I swear my mind is saying ‘Thank you for the break, it was getting too hard to keep track of all that stuff!"
  • Clean my house. Seeing it all organized and having it smell good relaxes me. (Sadly, I have two kids and two Pugs, so it doesn't stay clean long.)
  • Park my car at the beach and listen to my favorite music full blast for 10 minutes or so. (Anyone want to guess what kind of music I like? First person to post the right answer below gets a free CAREEREALISM t-shirt!)
  • Set daily goals to get the pressing stuff off my list and reward myself with little treats. (A cup of tea from my favorite cafe, watch a movie, buy a new lipstick, grab a beer and read BusinessWeek from cover-to-cover in bed, etc.)
I was thinking about this tonight and it made me wonder: "How do other people get themselves back on track?" I'd love to hear about your unique coping actions when it gets chaotic. What do you do to return things to a more normal pace? Please share your thoughts. I need some new ideas of how to keep the balls juggling...and I bet I'm not the only one!
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