Octopusing is my way of describing when someone is going in too many directions or putting their attention towards too many things. This is a challenge many of us face in a busy, demanding world.
There are key aspects of life that need our attention, and my coaching work is based on helping people find balance between these aspects – relationships, career, health and recreation. Such balancing is unique to the individual, depending upon their life circumstances. For example, a young, college graduate will give a larger portion of time and energy to the aspect of career, while a parent with two children will want to invest more in relationships.
Octopusing occurs when we start barreling through life, unconscious of the lack of balance. And, this can be the tipping point toward problems at home, at work, health issues and a general sense of discontent and unhappiness.
Here are some signs of octopusing:
- Inability to complete tasks or fulfill obligations that are important to you
- Being late
- Feeling disorganized
- A prevailing sense of being overwhelmed
- Impaired ability to prioritize
- Moving from project to project with no sense of accomplishment
We can rediscover the fine balance of living this ever-changing life by simply stopping and evaluating – opening our awareness – to when, how and where our time and energy are becoming scattered and frenetic.
To stop and evaluate, you can:
- Take time out – spend a couple of hours considering when, how and where octopusing is happening in your life.
- Reflect on all the parts and pieces of your life and make lists of:
a) What aspects are beneficial and nurturing to you.
b) What you are passionate about.
c) What your practical priorities are.
d) What you can let go of for now.
- Talk to someone – sharing what you discovered during your reflection can bring mental/emotional clarity and help you brainstorm ways to discover and implement a strategy to achieve your best balance.
When we learn to gather energy and focus for the aspects of life that are most important to us, octopusing subsides. Well-being and a sense of accomplishment take over.