Do you ever wonder how you’re gonna get it all done? Or how you’ll make room for yourself when there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day? I hear ya! While we can handle overbooked periods from time to time, being on a constant treadmill of commitments takes a toll on our health, happiness, creativity and meaningful pursuits. Maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little busier than we actually need to be.
Are we creating extra work and obligations when doing less might equal more benefits? Is getting things done the way we prove our worth? Do we stay busy to stay away from feelings we don’t want to feel? Or do we bite off more than we can chew for fear of letting others down or anxiety over speaking up? The truth is, there are many real and imaginary reasons why we put the pedal to the metal, but nothing will change if we don’t change our approach to busy living.
Today I want to share two experiences that made me re-think my cray cray schedule. Then I’ll give you some tips to help you make more time for your beautiful self!
I finally took time off…and no one needed me.
What?! For years, I dreamt of taking a vacation with my husband, but something always blocked our plans: doctor visits, speaking engagements, manuscript deadlines, product launches, renovations and one emergency after another. Finally, even though the week landed in the middle of a busy time for my company, we booked the tickets.
Of course I was nervous about what would happen in my absence. But did the world explode? Nope! My team actually thrived without me. They made deeper bonds with each other, had time to check off old to-do’s and successfully wrapped up a big project. By the end of the week, they were proud of their work and couldn’t wait to share their shine with me. And while I felt proud too, I also felt a little off balance learning that my indispensability was part fantasy.
But I also learned to trust them more. Who doesn’t thrive when they’re trusted? And while taking time off is obviously important for my health, it’s also essential for the health of my company. I’m a more creative and clear-headed leader when I’ve had time to noodle, doodle and canoodle.
So maybe this scenario is true for you, too. Is your participation always essential? Can your colleagues run that meeting without you, can your kid make that peanut butter and jelly sandwich on her own, can you ask for help and delegate more at home and the office? There will always be ten more emails to read and endless demands on our time. But don’t be afraid to power down. I promise it will help you power up when and where it matters most.
Doing less can actually lead to more abundance.
Here’s another example that surprised me. Doing less made us earn more this year. Instead of focusing on lots of little business opportunities, we cut back and focused on our amazing wellness program, Crazy Sexy You.
At first I was worried. Would pulling back hurt us financially? We’ve expanded our team significantly over the last two years and sometimes our monthly overhead gives me night sweats. Well, as you can probably imagine, saying “no” to lots of little (and even a few big) opportunities made room for us to put our total focus on our launch, our program and our beloved students. We went deep and the results were outstanding, both for our students’ experiences and success rates as well as our revenue. A two-fer!
I don’t know about you, but there’s so much I want to do with my big, beautiful life. I want to spend more time traveling, hanging with my friends and family, drifting in a canoe and dangling my feet off a dock. I want to be doing things I’ve dreamt of and stuff I haven’t even thought of yet. But endless “doing” doesn’t allow for the fulfillment of being. And isn’t that what you and I are here for? We’re here to live like we mean it and to drink in this delicious, sweet life before our next adventure. So let’s do that!
Here are a few tips to help you make space for what truly matters.
Tips for Doing Less and Living More
Let go of the guilt (and learn to disappoint people)
When you bite off more than you can chew, you’re going to disappoint people. Guess what? Not your problem! Here’s an idea: Make peace with guilt. Guilt is often a self-induced illusion, anyway. Many languages don’t even have a word for guilt. Sure, we all feel it. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it! Acknowledge your feelings and let them go. Life is too short for guilt.
Keep emails, meetings and communications short
Just because someone sends you a long, chatty email doesn’t mean you need to respond in the same lengthy fashion. If I let it, my inbox can be a full-time job––but it doesn’t have to be. With so many technologies in our lives, the etiquette is ever-changing. Establishing a clean and brisk style of communicating may cause unease at first, but people will get on board and even be grateful. The same holds true for meetings. While we can still be friendly and build relationships, we don’t need to waste too many hours circling the wagons to nowhere. Connect smart. A restorative yoga class is waiting.
Delete, delete, delete
OK, I’ll admit it, sometimes I simply delete emails. Yup, I don’t answer them. But I do use an away message to let folks know that I’m focused on a project, so they may not hear back from me for a period of time. And if it’s really important they should either email my assistant or send their request through again after a certain date. Look, here’s the deal. We all have our own to-do lists, we don’t need other people’s “you-do” list on top of our already packed schedules. Folks will figure it out, they always do. Now, clearly this doesn’t work in every situation. So please use common sense––you can’t delete messages from your aging granny or boss, but the low hanging fruit doesn’t always need to be picked, especially when it comes in mass email form.
Let them judge
You can’t please everyone. When you’re too focused on living up to other people’s standards, you aren’t spending enough time raising your own. Sure, some people may whisper, complain and judge (and they ain’t your kinda people if they do). But for the most part, it’s all in your head. People care less about your actions than you think. Why? Because they have their own problems. However, when you do get the stink eye, try not to let it rattle you. It may just be because they’re jealous of the gutsy risks you take. Perhaps they’d also love to take action, but they’re too scared to make a move. Not your problem or your karma to figure out, just sayin’.
Do a social media cleanse
I love checking Facebook and following my friends and the people I admire on Instagram. But sometimes I spend more time in their lives than I do my own! When that happens, I feel off center or like I’m missing out. Why can’t I make a cake like that? How come I didn’t get invited to that party? How the hell does her hair always look so good? And so on. The truth is, my life and your life are awesome (flaws and all). So if you find yourself living through other people’s profiles, it’s probably time to step away from your device. You don’t have to delete your account or swear off the sauce. You may just need a break. Or you might want to tidy up your feed. That’s right, do an unfollowing purge. Energy matters and if your social feed is filled with energy that brings you down, raise your vibration by using the lovely “unfollow” button!
You don’t need to fix people
Oh my word, sometimes I offer to fix people who don’t ask to be fixed! It’s a product of what I do for a living, but that doesn’t mean it’s always welcomed or required. “You’re off duty Kris, chill the “F” out.” Part of healing or being successful is self-reliance. Nobody handed me the keys to the Queendom, I had to blaze my own trail. And while I love helping people, it’s not my job to save everyone, especially when folks have their own plans and agendas. The same holds true for wonderful you. Take all that energy and pour it back towards yourself, darling. You deserve your own time and attention.
Trust yourself (and others)
Trust is a core currency of any relationship. Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. People are much more capable than we think. A hearty dose of trust is often what’s needed to unlock the magic. Have faith.
I love creative benders. I become a laser-focused and I thrive during those periods. But those jags aren’t sustainable. We need time to recover after big projects, both at home and at work. Plus, consistent back to back benders generally lead to burnout. When you have to go deep, (hello home renovation, I’m talking to you!) go for it. Just make sure you give yourself breathers to recover.
Choose your priorities wisely—don’t try to “have it all”
You can still be ambitious, run your own business, heal your body and be a nurturing and committed lover, parent and friend—maybe just not all at once. We have to make choices and sacrifices. Plus, here’s an important question I like to ask myself. Do you really want it all? I mean, all takes work and maintenance! All creates less time for wonder, whimsy and unexpected magic. We weren’t put on this planet to grind like ever-cranking engines that only stop when they seize. Figure out what your “all” is and then make space for miracles.
You are worthy just sitting still
Say what? This is a big one! I’m still learning how to be more present. When I am, I hear my body’s subtle messages before they get too loud. In music and theater, the beauty comes not only from the notes and the words, but from the spaces between them. I like to call it the sacred pause, it’s that expansive place where you can tap into your higher power, your intuition and healing. Doing nothing is sometimes the best investment in your life. There’s nothing you need to do or prove to anyone. You’re worthy just as you are.