Rashional Thoughts — Taming the pinball effect

Rashional Thoughts — Taming the pinball effect

By Jennifer Davis Rash

The arcade is packed. The lines are long. And the pinball machine is the highlight of the afternoon. Person after person takes his or her turn launching the ball into play and works hard to block it each time it attempts to fall into the drain.

Ever feel like you are the ball inside that pinball machine — bouncing and spinning from one situation to the next with no control over your own schedule or situation?

People are pulling and tugging on you. They are waiting on you with concerns when you walk into the office each morning. Others are calling you at night to ask you to do more in your already-overcommitted volunteer projects.

You are within two days of wrapping up a two-year-long work project and your boss hands you the next major project to “be getting up to speed on.” As you are cleaning up the bowl of cereal accidentally knocked off the table by one child, the other child spills her fruit punch on the white carpet.

The examples could go on and on, but the fact is that no matter how many items you check off the day’s to-do list, it seems 14 more show up.

And everyone you know must be following the advice “if you want something done, give it to a busy person” because you’ve determined that you are the busy person in their lives.

I have to admit I’m one of those busy people continually taking on more projects, consistently overcommitting and feeling obligated to do whatever is asked of me. I know — shocker, right? You would never have guessed that about me.

It’s not that any one person or everyone in my life is doing anything wrong. It’s my own struggle of learning to balance, understanding the cost of each item I take on and being OK with sometimes disappointing others. If you’ve been following Rashional Thoughts, you know of my journey to achieve balance in life.

I’ve been learning about myself and growing in my ability to set boundaries, share responsibilities and accept “above average” in some cases when I prefer excellence in all cases.

As I’ve observed others, some say I must cut everything extra out, be super focused on my schedule and stay clear of anything that might distract me. Those who say this do get a lot done and have maintained a decent balance, but they seem to sacrifice the relationship part in some areas in order to achieve this. That doesn’t work for me.

Others are so focused on the relationship side and soaking up every moment of life that the tasks needing to be accomplished are not prioritized appropriately. That doesn’t work for me either.

And then there are others who, while desiring excellence in all that they do, are so overwhelmed that they spend more time talking about what all has to be done than actually doing what has to be done. Again, this doesn’t work for me.

I’m working to balance productive, quality results with deep, sincere relationships while participating in all parts of life and not sacrificing any one over the other.

Is this achievable? I’m not exactly sure yet, but I’m definitely trying to figure it out.

I have learned I must determine the boundaries in my life or there will be none. I also have learned I do have to pick and choose what I’m involved in if the results I achieve are important to me. I might get away with doing everything that comes my way, but I can’t do it all with excellence.

I’m also learning so much from the information you share with me.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Maybe together, we’ll find the answers.