We’ve all heard (and probably used) the phrase “I have a lot on my plate right now.” That visual can go on forever if we let it: bigger or smaller plate, more or fewer things on it, relativity of one item to the others. In “Jaws,” Roy Scheider’s character utters the famous line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” once he got a good look at the much sought-after fish. And sometimes when we look at the jaws of our to-do list, we think we’re gonna need a bigger plate.
Our plate is just fine…the load is the issue.
Loading our plate with too much can make it messy, smear the boundaries between items, force things off the edges. Just looking at it leaves no space for enjoyment and celebration of each item. We lose our appetite and deny ourselves the nourishment we should be deriving from what’s on it. Loading our plate with unlovable things can break it.
Keeping our plate intact starts with what we’re feeling when we look at it. Love and excitement? Joy and celebration? Fulfillment and anticipation? Are the clock and calendar your friends? Or a cacophony of demands shouting each other off the edges?
Getting back to the basics of who we are can help with setting priorities. If we’re not feeling the love as we move through our day, it’s time to reassess. Too many of the “not-working” things? Any messy items to clean up or eliminate? What deserves more attention? Can some things be right-sized, rethought, substituted or combined? Maybe asking for help from others can lighten things up.
Whatever we’re doing, we must do it with great love. Love the taking on, love the sharing or giving away, love the tidying up. The great love of who we are is at work here – take a good look, take a deep breath, make the decision, and get back to the joy. It’s who we are.