As people-pleasing twenty-somethings trying to come into our own as adults, we often feel the need to hit the ground running right out of school. The message whispered and often shouted in our faces is that success = busyness. So much busyness, in fact, that it’s almost a bragging right that there’s an endless to-do list.
I love the message (and challenge) of a lot of successful solo-preneurs recently who are encouraging up-and-coming hustlers to pace themselves and take a break on a regular basis. Unplug. Do nothing. Catch your breath. The demands of social media are 100% all day if you let them be, not to mention honing your craft, developing a good business strategy, networking in real life, managing websites, and that doesn’t include all the bills you have to pay, grocery runs, meal prep, car washes, vet visits, play dates, and church functions. Use your vacation days. Or if you are self-employed, create vacation days for yourself and honor them. Don’t feel guilty about telling your clients that you are offline for a week. They’ll most likely survive without you. In fact, if they’re smart, they will realize the massive benefit to them when they let you recharge. (That last part was me preaching to myself.)
Growing up in a family with four kids, we went at a dead sprint 9 months out of the year, doing all really good things. When I left home I determined that, if I could help it, I would take a slower pace. I found out that I was in control of my busyness. And that meant saying no to a lot of things. There are some great organizations to be a part of, places to visit, music to hear, friends and family to spend time with, experiences that are great memories, but I can’t survive at a breakneck speed. It’s not sustainable. It’s one of the hardest things to tell your friends “sorry I can’t.” We don’t want to disappoint. We want to have everything all at once, but we can’t. And if you’re a true friend, you’ll understand when someone comes to you and says no. Don’t fall prey to the do-it-all trap. You’ll burn out hard and fast.
Commit to Your Priorities
I’ve looked at my own life and wondered if I’m being lazy by pacing myself. Shouldn’t I be billing a minimum of 40 hours a week if I really want to succeed? And the answer for me at this time is no. In order to give appropriate priority to the people that I love, I have to adjust my work schedule. In addition, I need time to write. In doing this, I’ve created a life that I love. I wouldn’t call us minimalists, but there is stuff we have chosen to do without that started from living paycheck to paycheck. Declutter your life to give more time to your priorities in life. It’s not wrong to be busy, but don’t do it at the expense of your family or your health.
With these things in mind, what can you eliminate from your life to get your pace of life more in control?