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  • Writer's pictureMartin Benefer

Are you spinning too many plates?

Updated: May 14, 2021

Life's complicated and we all have many plates in the air.

So how do you know where to focus your attention - which plates to spin and when to spin them...and which ones to drop?

Not all plates were created equal!

Some are more valuable, some require more effort early on, some are low value but easy to maintain...and others can be a huge drain to manage. The trouble is the natural tendency when busy is to focus on the most urgent tasks which need attention 'right now' at the expense of those which are more important.

And it's very easy to see which tasks are urgent - you can see which plate's about to crash - so you go and spin it. But then another plate's about to crash and so you have to spin that one...and before you know it you're just spinning plates over and over again!

The important stuff doesn't get the focus it needs - it gets neglected or is treated equally to everything else, limiting the impact on what really matters.

We let urgency dominate importance and lose sight of what matters most

Prioritise the plates

In order to shift the balance of focus from 'urgent' to 'important' there needs to be an awareness and understanding of what really matters. So...

Do you actually know the things that are most important to you?

And are you focusing the attention you need on those things?

One way of looking at this is to consider the following:

  • What are your goals for the year ahead?

  • What are your long term goals for years to come?

  • Do these goals relate to your vision?

  • Does this vision relate to your purpose and the impact you want?

  • And does this purpose reflect your values?

If you know the answer to these questions then it'll tell you where you're going, why you're going there, what your priorities are and which tasks to focus on. It tells you which plates must be kept spinning and which plates can drop.

If you don't know the answer to these questions, find out! Until you do every plate has equal importance and your time and energy will be used up spinning them all. You become a slave to the tasks rather than the master of them.

Allow some plates to drop

Step back from the scene and allow some plates to drop. This may sound unappealing at first, but until you do you won't be in control of you're own future.

Challenge your assumptions and take the time to find out what's most important to you.

Consider which plates are bad habits or old habits that no longer serve you and which ones require more focus.

Think about how you can spin fewer plates in line with what really matters to you, not with what you're used to doing.

Good luck!


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