A “Coffee with Colm” Blog – How many roles do you juggle? Want to know how you can do so more easily? (or how to give time to all the roles you play)

Welcome back to the third installment of four in our series showing how you can get more out of life.

The background, if you have just joined us, is that a number of weeks ago I published a blog introducing readers to PJ and his ‘Fur-lined Mousetrap’ which itself led me to share in the same article my ‘Patchwork Quilts Theory of Life and Work‘ (link provided at bottom) in which I reminded myself as well as the readers that time (for us) is not a renewable resource.

That blog led to an article which gave the reader food for thought around establishing a ‘2020 Vision’ for her/his life (again link provided at bottom).

The combination of those pieces had several readers ask for more detail as to HOW they could apply the thinking into their lives. Fair question, so I decided to do a deep dive into some concepts that have helped me.

There is no quick fix here so rather than rush it I decided to take four weeks (this is week 3) and present some info that the reader may find useful.

The topics we cover over the four weeks are:

  1. Quadrant 2 Living (two weeks ago week – link provided below)
  2. The Big Rocks Theory (last week – link provided below)
  3. The Roles We Play (today)
  4. A Diary Plan that actually works (next week)

Today’s topic – The Roles We Play

Far too many professionals like you and I (or is it you and me? – grammar police?) are expert at planning our diaries to achieve work/career/professional goals and yet disastrous at managing work/life balance – why is that?

I’m sure there are many reasons but today I’d like to focus on a few of the more obvious ones and propose a solution.

One of the reasons we are often better at managing our professional lives is bills; bills need to be paid, bread needs to be put on the table, the bacon needs to be brought home etc. (I’m sure there is a law around us not feeding our kids)

Bills need paying for sure and so, oftentimes whether we like it or not, we throw on the uniform, whether that’s a pinstripe suit, a business suit, or overalls is irrelevant, regardless, we get into costume, slap on a smile and the curtain rises on another workday.

The show must go on.

This approach to ‘getting through the day’ is classic Q1 thinking from a few weeks ago. The Q2 approach to same, regardless of how the day starts is to get stuck in with a game plan for the progressive realization of worthwhile goals (another Coveyism) and to work hard to avoid distraction so that they can be achieved.

And that’s fine and dandy but does not in and of itself provide for a meaningful well-rounded life.

What to do about it?

Watch the video (8:30 lesson, 9:30 total) or read on below to find out how you can juggle your roles more easily and more effectively…

Consider the hats you wear. Get clear on the roles you play.

They may include:

  • Parent
  • Son/daughter
  • Sibling
  • Co-worker
  • Boss
  • Subordinate
  • Enployee (even if it’s of your own company)
  • Friend
  • Spouse/partner
  • Church member
  • Volunteer
  • Team member
  • etc

No idea what yours are but I suggest you take a moment now and jot them down.

If you find yourself, despite all your hard work, still feeling unfulfilled, the likelihood is the reason for that gnawing knot in the pit of your stomach is that you are not giving due attendtion to some areas of your life that are important to you, and probably (in most cases) sacrificing them to career under the false illusion that once that is fixed, the rest will take care of itself.

Two points on that lie…

  1. Unless you are super-disciplined, it is never fixed; no amount is ever enough, there is always one more peak beckoning in the distance .
  2. The rest will not take care of istelf.

You have heard the saying I’m sure, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” most often used to motivate us to strive harder, go higher, build bigger, earn more. The saying is true.

Now apply it to all your roles.

  • Parent – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Son/daughter – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Sibling – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Co-worker – – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Boss – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Subordinate – – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Enployee – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Friend – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Spouse/partner – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Church member – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Volunteer – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  • Team member – “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”

Sort of changes the picture, doesn’t it? (For me, by the way as well – just in case you think I get a free pass on this stuff!)

Now for some of you the gnawing sensation is heightened – you are sorry you even read this blog because you are busting your gut, working every hour God sends, trying to stay afloat, trying to pay the bills and struggling even to do that and now yer man O’Brien tells you you have to think about all the other hats you wear as well!

Not fair.

If that’s you, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news first. Life isn’t fair. And yes, you do have to consider all the roles you play. You’re a grown up.

The good news. It can be done. It’s not terribly difficult once you know how and I’m going to show you how in 5 easy steps.

  1. Take your written list of roles (did you write a list?)
  2. Revisit your 2020 Vision (the way you’d like your life to look on your birthday in 2020 – link below)
  3. Prioritize your roles – number them 1, 2, 3, etc in descending order of importance, not to your financial well-being necessarily but to your LIFE goals.
  4. Ask yourself, what ONE THING you could do next week that would have the biggest positive impact on that one role.
  5. Do it.

Yes. Do it. Carve out some time next week to get that ONE THING done in at least your #1 Top Priority Role. Repeat for #2 Role and #3 Role if you can also.

If you do, you’ll feel 100% better this time next week, I promise.

And finally, if you come back next week I will share with you a diary planning formula that stitches together the concepts we have covered in this mini-series.

I will show you how to create a diary that takes account of

  • Your interpretation of the Patchwork Quilt Theory of Life and Work
  • Your 2020 Vision
  • The Priority Management Matrix and how it applies to you
  • The Big Rocks Theory and how it applies to you
  • Your Most Important Roles

The outcome? A shot at creating the life you have really wanted all along.

How’s that?

That’ll do Ted.

See you next week.


GO DEEPER? If you’d like to go deeper into this work I have provided a FREE link to the first lesson in my 12-Step Online Program to Create the Life You Really Want – no sign-up required. To check it out with my compliments, click here.

MORE? Some of the issues mentioned above have been discussed in earlier “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • Fur-lined Mousetrap / Patchwork Quilt Theory of Life and Work. Click here.
  • 2020 Vision for your Life. Click here.
  • Priority Management Matrix – Quadrant 2 Living. Click here.
  • The Big Rocks Theory. Click here.
  • How to Escape from the Gravity of Bad Habits. Click here.

STAY CONNECTED? If this is your thing, consider joining in the conversation here.

FREE BOOK? If would like a complimentary copy of my book, ‘Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks’ in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly,


“How can I help?”

Share this

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply
  • (will not be published)