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Juggling Elephants

December 29, 2008

I had the opportunity to read Jugging Elephants last week.  I was given the book right before the winter break by a fellow administrator who had recently read the book as part of her graduate school work.

In a similar format to “Who Moved My Cheese?”,  the book uses the metaphor of the circus to point out effective use of time and the importance of defining priorities. The basic premise is that it is impossible to juggle elephants, so don’t even try. Life is like a circus and you are the ringmaster. The book assigns three rings – the Self ring, the Relationship ring and the Professional ring.

Like a ringmaster has to decide which ring to be in at a given time, so do you. It teaches that you should never have a MAJOR act going on in each ring at the same time. For example, you shouldn’t take on the role of Interim Athletic Director and have your fourth child at the same time – it will cause stress in your Professional and Relationship rings!  What’s more, you need to find the right acts to place in each ring so that the WHOLE circus is a success.

It was a fast book to read, and while I was reading it, I thought “cute, but hokey.”  However, it has caused me to think about how I use my time and set priorities. With the new year in sight, and the challenges it will bring, any strategy to help focus energy is welcome.

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