Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Back before I stopped settling, I always thought I had to do it all. That I didn’t have a choice. That if I didn’t do everything at 100% then I was somehow failing. A large push behind this mentality was being a woman but the other part was the mentality of work-life balance. While living by that mantra and striving to achieve it, I pushed myself literally to my limits. But even past the point of no return, I felt I was doing the right thing.
The Never Settler
Trying to do everything, all the time, with your absolute, undivided attention is how you burn out. Plain and simple. If you devote 100% of your energy and time to work, family, friends, community, and work out or exercise 7 days a week – well, it’s not possible. You can’t put everything on the same playing field. Your time is limited and therefore valuable and therefore you have to prioritize. I know some of you reading this are probably thinking, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me. I’ve got a great system going and I can absolutely do it all.” I feel you. I used to be you. And maybe you do have it all figured out.
But for the rest of us mere mortals, we have to make decisions. Choosing to never settle in all facets of your life will suck your energy dry and eat up your time. Be honest with yourself and figure out what’s important to you. Then divide your time and energy accordingly.
Mini Case Study
Let’s call her Annie. Annie is killing it at work. She is up for yet another promotion. Annie has two small children and an equally overachieving husband. Annie loves her work and family, yet feels drained and as if, there is simply no time for Annie and she’s right! Her level of volunteerism with her kids’ school is admirable, yet seemingly impossible to sustain, even those around her comment that she makes them look bad. Time with friends? She’s even found a way to cram this into her already jam-packed schedule by combining workouts and eating with friend time. And her self-care includes a litany of things that she enjoys and also finds “totally necessary” in order to look and feel her best. So, what’s wrong with Annie? She appears to be superwoman!? After Annie took the quiz, she realized that she wasn’t happy and productive, she was merely productive. She finally slowed down enough, for 5 mere minutes, in order to really see for herself what it is that she really wanted. Much to her own surprise, she wanted to spend a little less time/energy at work, and spend a little more time/energy with her family. She also wanted more time for herself to workout. And, she didn’t ALWAYS want to do it by combining in her mandatory friend time. The volunteering at her kids' schools involved some baking, which she does not enjoy, at all. She has since made some minor adjustments with one major outcome; more energy and joy! In fact, she’s enhanced her own performance in the areas of life that she values the most.
The Always Settler
Now, the opposite of this isn’t the answer, either. To decide that you’re always underperforming and underachieving no matter how hard you try. That you can’t do anything. Ironically, this often stems from trying to do too much. Setting unachievable goals for yourself and then taking a self-confidence hit when you don’t meet them.
This is why good prioritization and goal setting is so important. Set goals for yourself that are reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you’ve known my voice for any length of time, you know that I am a strong advocate for S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time-boxed. By setting realistic goals, you set yourself up for success and stop trying to do everything all at once, all the time.
Reasonable, Prioritized Goal Setting Has It
So, if you’re trying to do it all equally. Take a breather. Stop for five minutes and take a deep breath. Now ask yourself is the life you’re living now is what you want for your full, authentic life? If the answer is no, it’s time to reassess and reorganize your time!