When a Juggler Drops a Ball

When a Juggler Drops a Ball

Dustin Lien
September 11, 2017

I tried juggling the other day and it didn’t go well.

It’s weird though, because when I throw one ball up in the air it’s pretty easy to catch. Even when I throw two, it’s still pretty easy. Admittedly I have to focus a little more and not let my mind wander too much, but all in all it’s pretty doable.

Adding the third ball is when it gets tricky. Now there’s a whole new level of focus required because there’s no way to rest. One ball is out of your hands at all times, and there’s pressure to keep all of the balls moving since the goal is to not drop them.

Whether you like it or not, as Isaac Newton so eloquently informed us, what goes up must come down.

As a society (and this is especially true for entrepreneurs), we constantly juggle tasks and projects to try to achieve our goals. Not just tasks and projects for one goal at a time, but we also often feel the need to juggle multiple small goals all at once.

Goals, projects, tasks, goals, projects, tasks, goals, projects, tasks.

I’m getting anxious writing this.

We call this “multitasking.” (everybody clap at multitasking!)

Juggling is usually praised by the audience (your friends, your boss, your employees, your family…). It’s perceived as being efficient and having smart time management, but here’s what I think the problem with it is…

What happens when a juggler drops a ball?

Just one ball.

Juggling 3,4,5,6 balls, and drops just one. What happens?

They all come crashing down.

Juggling is risky.

It leads to one of two things—a pleased crowd or embarrassment.

When’s the last time you saw a juggler juggling for no reason other than for himself?

They don’t. Jugglers juggle to impress people and put on a good show, even to their own detriment.

Juggling seems necessary sometimes (when there’s a crowd).

Once in a great while, when a juggler is a pro, he controls when to stop, and can catch the balls, take a bow, and leave the stage until the next time.

That’s rare.

I’m not suggesting you get better at juggling. I’m suggesting you focus on one small task at a time, leading to the completion of one small project at a time, leading to accomplishing one small goal at a time.

Practice stress-free productivity.

When we work toward a goal, we should simply work toward a goal.

Excellence is found in simplicity.

Simplify and focus.

Unless you’re a circus performer…then forget this conversation ever happened.