Need another course in Time Management?  You may have taken one or many of those courses and read countless articles on how to get it all done.  Everything seems to be important!  And there is never enough time to get it all done!

That is so true in work and life.  Several years ago I realized the stress from not completing everything on my To-Do list was hurting my well being.  I had to figure this out.  

First I had to realize that the solution was not adding more hours to my work day, it was eliminating some of the expected To-Dos.  But how do I know which ones to eliminate?  Emails, text messages or phone seem most urgent. But are they really?

After research, experimenting, and measuring my success, I latched on to a quick and easy way to select where to spend my time.  It works for how I will spend my time the next hour, day or weekend.

If I have two (or more) conflicting balls I’m juggling at one time, I decide which is crystal and which is rubber.

Crystal balls are those events important to my long term goals. If I don’t take this call or attend this event, I will drop that crystal ball and it will shatter. I will never be able to recover it. When I choose something else on my To-Do list, I am missing a critical point in reaching my goals.

Rubber balls are those items which bounce so I can get it done the next time it bounces up. Rubber ball events or projects are rarely so important to my long term goals that I must do them right now. 

First make sure you know your long-term goals.  What will really matter to your success and happiness in the next year or three years?  Write them down.  Now measure the top ten activities on your To-Do list today.  Which items are you juggling are crystal and which are rubber?  Handle the crystal ones first!


  • Leatha Ritchie

    Leadership Development Writer and Coach at LPR Consulting

    Leatha Ritchie serves as principal consultant and owner of LPR Consulting. Leatha is a certified Gallup® Strengths Coach, facilitator of The Change Cycle™, with training in Coaching from ATD, and is certified as an assessor for Predictive Index. She has extensive experience in training and development of current and high potential leaders with an emphasis on training that accompanies coaching or mentoring. Leatha’s particular area of expertise is examining and improving new leader orientation, succession planning, and programs for good leaders to become great. It takes passion, resources, and direction to develop as a leader. Leatha’s articles and blogs bring tools, inspiration, and experience to the learner. Previous to this role Leatha served as VP Operations Leadership Strategy & Development at Bright Horizons, a leader in the early education field. Her roles as Regional Manager, Director of Regional Manager Development, and Division Vice President gave her unique talent in recognizing challenge and growing leaders to confront and managing through while improving the business. Often Leatha was tapped to assess challenging organizational situations then develop systems, resources, and provide training to improve outcome. This role took her throughout the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Guam. Leatha holds a bachelor degree in history with a minor in early childhood education from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she also received her Master of Business Administration.