I’ve always been the type of person who likes to please everyone and do as much as possible. I want to do everything - have a fulfilling career, post content seven times a week for my blog, exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week, spend time with my family, do my hobbies and relax too.
So far this year, this hasn’t been working out that well. I’ve been saying “yes” to everything, taking on a lot of projects alongside my day job and pushing myself with my blog, while wanting to do a lot more. And it’s really taken it’s toll - I’m feeling completely overwhelmed.
When I told all this to my mum, what she said really interested me: “what if you said no to something?”
The truth is, I fear the word no. If I see an opportunity, then I want to take it. I don’t want to regret not doing things. Even when I’m working two late nights a week for my day job and struggling to post content everyday, I still don’t want to say no. I don’t want to give up anything - even when I know I can’t balance it all.
But after getting to the point where this all been affecting me in a negative way, I’ve realised that you can’t do everything. And we need to stop trying to do it all. If I say “yes” to everything that comes my way, it doesn't just end there. It means saying “yes” to giving up more of my time and the aspects of my life that I want to prioritise.
When you start to realise that your work and side projects are impacting on your relationships and you as a person, that’s the point when you need to stop and evaluate.
Saying “yes” to a full-time career, a part-time blog and freelance work meant that I was saying “no” to lots of other things that made me happy. I was saying “no” to hobbies, time spent with family and time dedicated to looking after myself too.
I get that sometimes, working that extra bit harder is necessary. When I was doing the Blogging Breakthrough series on ABOH and turning that content into an eBook, I was really pushing myself to get the work done, and it’s been worth it. Sometimes when you’ve got the chance, it’s great to work that bit harder. But when you work too hard and spread yourself over too many things, you can start to see the negatives hit you in a bad way.
You also run the risk of not doing as good a job, especially if you’re rushing something. At the moment, I’m just about coping with my seven-day publishing schedule. I know that if it gets too much, I’ll have to stop and make some changes. Whenever I complete a job for someone, I don’t want it to be inadequate. I want it to be to the best of my ability - and we need enough time to make that happen.
Can you relate to this?
I bet you’ve been in this place before. Some of you might even be there right now. But I’m telling you this as someone who’s going through this right now - you need to stop.
Why? Because you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting yourself up for burnout. And you’re setting yourself up to lose a lot.
Like we said, it’s OK to work like mad sometimes. There will be parts throughout your life when
you’ll have to dedicate extra time to some tasks and other projects will crop up that are time-sensitive. This is OK - but when you’re less busy, that’s when you need to take advantage of having the time to breathe.
It’s about learning that it’s OK not to do everything - and it’s OK not to try and do it all at once either.
So instead of struggling to know what to prioritise (or just giving up altogether) - if you put your mind to it, you can actually become more strategic. This is my plan.
I’ve realised that I’ve got a lot of things going on at the moment. So last week, I reached out to my Instagram community to see what advice they had about tackling a to-do list with no idea where to start.
Someone replied and said that maybe I need to look at where I’m spending most of my time, and what tasks are taking up the majority of my time. I know that I don’t split tasks up well enough and that leads to the fact that sometimes, I don’t know where my time is being spent.
Maybe you’re spending too long on researching blog posts. Maybe you’re spending too long interacting in Facebook groups. Maybe you’re spending too long actually planning what it is you need to do.
Instead of focusing on everything, why not focus on one aspect of something?
Let’s say you love social media and want to build a strong community across all your platforms. You want to post content and interact on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest #allthetime.
It’s not possible.
But you don’t have to pick one and give the others up. It doesn’t have to work that way.
What you can do is be clever. What you can do is start off by focusing on growing your Twitter community. Take part in chats, schedule tweets and get yourself out there. Then when your presence is up and running on there, you can focus on Instagram. Do the same thing and then turn your attention to another platform.
So you see, you’re not giving up on what you want to do and you’re not saying “no”. You're saying “not right now”.
As you grow as a person in your real life and as you continue to build your online presence, you need to get more strategic and careful with your time. You don’t want to be someone that says “I’m too busy”. You want to be the person that can rearrange something to find the balance. You need to be able to let things go, whether it’s putting them on hold for now, letting go completely, or asking someone else to help you.
But most importantly, you need to get smart about what matters most to your blog and yourself, too. Think about which parts you're doing just because you think you should and let go of them. Instead, focus on what it is that you love to do.
If you stop trying to do everything, not only will it get you more results in the long run, but it also means that instead of just existing, you’ll get to live.
Let's chat in the comments - do you try and do everything? What are your tips for tackling life when it gets overwhelming?