Work and life have grown especially full and complex. Frequently, we have the feeling that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. It seems saying no to requests is career limiting, and we want to be ‘team players’…so, often we just say yes and then figure out how on the backend. Sound familiar? Any experience of people admiring your stamina, productivity and indispensability as the hard-pressed professional offers little to no satisfaction. Mostly, we are left disappointed and frustrated that we’re not as productive as we want to be and dreading the next request, project or emergency that is just around the corner.
As much as we may try, we can’t do it all and can’t have it all, all the time. As we climb the ladders of success and fill our lives with activities, you may begin to feel like your list of “to do’s” or “should do’s” just keeps getting longer. This means we need to make deliberate choices.
Less is more. Addition through subtraction. Both phrases describe a strange magic. What if you considered creating a new list that involved subtracting things from it and having less? Making an inventory of priorities gives you an opportunity to stop, take a look at where you are now and decide, what you want to do…and as important, what you don’t want to do – at least for now. That’s right; consider that you could have a list of what you are NOT going to do NOW, and the NOW is an important part of that. Knowing we want to do something but being intentional that it has to wait for a time in the future is almost sacrilege…but what if we tried it? What if you scheduled a time in the future to add it to your priorities/goals? That could be 3 months from now, it could mean next year.
You can have it all, but you cannot necessarily have it all at the SAME TIME. If we spread ourselves too thin, we limit our depth of engagement and excellence in our personal and professional life. Additionally, we often allow others to determine our focus; we say yes to things that might not be important to us or say yes without thought. We have to select what we ARE focusing on.
Try this: You might find it helpful to capture areas, topics or projects that are important or interesting to you, and even set a goal of when you will consider taking them on. However, this does not mean you just are not going to do them NOW. This can offer a new level of power, freedom and peace of mind.