Does any of this sound familiar?
“Once I get through these projects – I will focus on ME again.”
“Vacation? That’s crazy! I can’t take any time off right now. I’ve got too much to-do.”
“Someday I will be caught up. THEN I will be able to make room for more fun.”
These are excuses. Here is what you are actually saying:
Your Life Doesn’t Start Until Your To-Do List Is Finished.
It is a very common belief among the doers of the world.
We’ve got long lists and lots we want to accomplish. We are busy.
This can be a very rational and irrational approach to life.
I know – I’ve lived it!
Waiting to integrate the fun, balancing parts of life can feel so rational because we learned from the get-go that “work comes before play”. Our jobs are to be productive.
We’ve learned to earn our rewards. It is a very honest and helpful approach to life, particularly in our ever increasing world of shortcuts and instant gratification.
The challenge of course is that there is always more work to be done.
Your list will never be complete.
And here is where the irrational nature of this belief comes in.
Rather then set good-feeling boundaries around work, we push ourselves harder to get even more done. To be even more productive. To get to the finish line.
Which of course never comes.
This approach breeds tons of anxiety and frustration. It feels like you are walking around with a mountain on your back. Your list feels like a prison sentence.
In order to break out of this cycle you must realize this:
YOU Get To Decide When Life Starts and Work Ends – NOT Your List.
You can make the decision to commit to your life FULLY without everything being perfectly lined up in order to do so.
Interestingly, when I see clients loosen the reigns a bit and open up more room for more life – they actually see a huge spike not only in what they are accomplishing but also in the WAY they are accomplishing things. There is more peace. There is more flow.
Here is my theory as to why this happens:
All of a sudden you have a compelling external trigger that pulls you toward life.
A new writing class. A weekly dinner with friends. A new exercise routine. A fascinating hobby to explore. A volunteer adventure.
This new focus provides you with a reason and the motivation to start practicing the skill of time protection at a higher level – even for just a few hours a week.
You start to say no to things you don’t really want or need to do.
Compelling external triggers give you nearly magical abilities to prioritize and delegate at a level you never felt possible before.
Try it out and see for yourself.
What are your compelling external triggers? Have you found a way to integrate more life without sacrificing your work? Be sure to share below.