At circuses or carnivals, some performance artists specialize in spinning plates. They hoist plates or bowls or some other such objects on poles and try to keep as many of them gyrating as possible.
Life has had a similar circus-act feel to it lately. We just wrapped up the pilot phase of the Tranquility by Tuesday project (and got some awesome results! But more about that when the book comes out…). I’m thankfully down to two podcasts, but they both require their own logistics, as do my virtual speaking engagements and general promotional and writing activities. Three children will be attending new-to-them schools next year, so course selection and such needs to happen, to say nothing of the usual teacher meetings, doctor appointments, passport expirations, etc. (sneaks up on you when no one’s traveling…). Four children all have at least two activities apiece (the fifth needs to be watched constantly). And then there is the house renovation, which is…intense.
Anyway, most of these plates are spinning. Processes are in motion. However, I want to be sure that nothing stops spinning, that anything slowing gets an appropriate nudge, that any new plates get started spinning at the right time, and others get pulled down as needed.
This is where my Friday planning comes in. Every Friday, I take a few minutes to survey the week ahead. What needs to happen? What is already on the calendar? What would I like to do? I think about my priorities, both professionally, and personally (the “relationships” and “self” categories in my time rubrics). I make these lists on a page in my planner…
…which is really just a notebook from Target. But, fun fact: these things don’t have to be fancy to work. This whole process takes 15 minutes, maybe. I’m writing this at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday and I have already written out my priorities for next week. I have surveyed the spinning plates and I have a reasonable sense of where everything stands.
This is not perfect, of course. Certain plates can turn out to be more wobbly than anticipated. OK, scratch that. Some plates will definitely turn out to be wobbly. Such is life. But a wobbly plate can be addressed when you have a sense of how the others are spinning and what will be required to keep them spinning, and when those things can happen.
Do you plan your weeks on Fridays? If not Friday, do you have another designated weekly planning time? Why did you choose that spot?
Photo: Plates — not currently spinning