You can’t do it all . . . so decide what’s important and do it well!
I don’t know when I started to buy into the belief that I can and should do it all. There seems to be this underlying expectation that we should be everything, to everyone, and do it all perfectly. The truth is . . . we can’t! We can’t be the perfect christian, perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect homemaker, perfect friend, and perfect employee. In fact, we can’t be perfect. There is only one person that walked this earth without sin.
For a lot of years, I worked my tail off trying to be a fantastic employee, putting in tons of extra hours, while also trying to be a great wife and great mom. I failed miserably at all three. Many days ended with me in tears feeling like a failure and sadly that phrase used to come out of my mouth regularly and usually through tears.
I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want regrets and constant frustrations and to feel like a total disappointment.
What I started to discover is that striving for perfection was going to always leave me falling short, feeling defeated, struggling with guilt and comparing myself to others. So I let myself off the hook and have experienced peace, fulfillment, and joy as a result. I like this me a lot more.
While I will never be the prettiest, most fashionable, skinniest, or most well-liked, at the end of the day I rest in knowing that I did my best, gave my all to the people that matter most, and hopefully encouraged a few people along the way.
Here are a few things that have helped me to let go of trying to do it all.
1. Staying Focused on What Matters Most.
Be clear on who and what you want to focus most. Is it your family? Career? A perfectly cleaned home? Your volunteer positions? There’s no right answer for everyone, but you do need to be clear on what matters most to YOU. Knowing this makes it a lot easier to say no to things that don’t fall in that category.
2. Don’t say yes, without saying no to something else.
So you want to serve on a committee at your child’s school? Great! But don’t add that commitment without taking something that you are already doing off of your plate. We can’t add time to our day, so when we add something to our schedule, we are actually pushing something else off the schedule. Sadly, without realizing it, we are often pushing the people and things that matter most to us.
3. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
Simplify in every way! Start with #2 and simplify your schedule. Do less so that you can do more of what matters.
Then move on to your material possessions. Stuff doesn’t make us happy. In fact, it can
weigh us down without even realizing it. If you don’t use it regularly and it doesn’t bring you joy. Get rid of it.
Next, simplify your thoughts. Do a brain dump and get everything that’s floating around in your mind written down in one place. Journal about any anxious thoughts or stress you are having. It’s amazing how quickly we can become overwhelmed by our thought lives.
4. Take time for you each day.
This is a hard one, but it’s like the oxygen mask on an airplane. If you don’t take care of you, then you likely aren’t going to be as helpful to anyone else. Self-care can be done in a million different ways. Find what fills you, makes you feel calm, at peace, happy, and brings clarity. For me this is morning routine of Faith, Fitness and Focus. I don’t ever enjoy waking early, but I’m always glad I got out of bed and had time alone to pray and study God’s word, exercise, and create a plan for the day. This alone time make a HUGE impact on how I approach my day.
5. Celebrate each day
I still fall very short daily of who I want to be. But I’ve started celebrating each day. Letting go of what I didn’t get accomplished and resting in the fact that I’m loving and serving my family. The rest of the “stuff” will get done in time.
So, join me in being less than perfect. Let’s aim to do our best, knowing we’ll fail daily, learn from our mistakes, celebrate our successes and press on! We can’t do it all . . . but we can do what matters most well.