Does anyone else out there want to do it all?
I often find myself knee-deep in many passion projects, which fill me up but can stretch me a bit too thin at times. I’ve recently had to cut back on some of, or the amount of time spent on projects, classes, and exercise. It’s a struggle for me to choose where to put my energy because I seem to want it everywhere. I’m a doer of all. I believe this compulsion I have to be involved in so much is rooted in my desire to belong. It drives me to prove that I can belong. Sometimes, this is useful, and other times I believe it to be a trauma response that does not serve me.
I felt like an outcast most of my younger years, and once I felt the power of community, I was hooked.
I’ve found that it is essential to understand exactly what you want to get out of your activities. COVID19, the current pandemic, was a real eye-opener for me. All of a sudden, everything was off of the table, and I paid close attention to the relief I felt about certain projects going on hold. It was the perfect time to reflect on all I have going on in my life, as well as with our family. Juggling three homeschooled kids while trying to start a new career has my head spinning most days. I find it is really important to ask yourself how your activities are serving you. Are you getting the most out of something? Does it lead you down the path you wish to travel?
Setting up a solid routine is essential. I recently tried cutting back on the amount of cycling I was doing, usually a minimum of 10 hours per week. It’s a big commitment. Trying to squeeze in stretching, resistance training, and yoga on top of my cycling, left me feeling like my days slipped away. Cutting back on it didn’t have the positive impact I was hoping for. I really wanted to keep up a high level of fitness, and I love the drive that competition ignites in me. So I recalibrated my schedule to make it work. I am not a morning person. Let me be clearer, I hate mornings. I want to sleep in as long as possible, slipping out of bed at the last moment. I knew I needed to change this mindset to create more time in my day. I started getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual, then an hour. Now I’m getting up two hours earlier, and I have the extra time I needed to train at a high level. I go to bed earlier too, which is excellent because those late-night hours I was staying up (between 10-12 pm) were wasteful. I would squander them away, mindlessly watching tv, scrolling through social media, or lying around feeling burnt out. Readjusting my schedule made me much more productive.
As I mentioned earlier, having a sense of belonging is amazing, but is also a big part of how I end up with too much on my plate. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, make sure to write everything down that needs to be done, as well as a timeline. Removing the to-do list from your head and getting it down on paper or a whiteboard, will give you instant relief. Whenever I have it all swimming around in my mind, I feel tremendous pressure. Once I get it onto my whiteboard, I can see that I have lots of time to get the important stuff done.
Another thought is to make sure that the sense of belonging you seek is beneficial. I often have to remind myself that I have nothing to prove. I am enough, exactly as I am. While belonging and community have impacted me in life-changing ways, it’s easy to get carried away as an overachiever. I like to sit quietly and reflect on what activities I’m getting myself into. I believe it’s important to make sure that they resonate with your purpose, whether personal or professional. Listening to that inner voice is so important. If we can slow down and tune in, all of the answers are there. Lastly, please never shy away from saying no, remember that when you say no to others, you are saying yes to yourself.