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.
A useful comment suitable for all occasions. Has to be sail out loud. ‘F–k it that’ll do’ Now go and have a cuppa and a sit down
THAT is perfect!
I’ve used that comment a few times Hilary and it’s the correct one every time! LOL 🙂
Hilarious Hilary, I love it 😉
Hahahaha! This will stick with me!
LOVE IT!! Great idea for those of us always trying to perfect everything!!
Wonderful post, and I am so happy for you!
I get the ego-hit moment you experienced, but would encourage you to reframe it into what I believe is actually the case — You have created this project so well that it is self-sustaining! “It” now has a life of its own, and now you need only to keep it between the rails and gift it with an occasional “pop” of creativity and/or inspiration. Not many creations can boast such autonomy and you can be proud.
You inspire so many more folks than you would even imagine. We are just the ones replying. Thank you!
Kris, you really closed the loop for me with your suggestion to use an away message to let people know I’m reading but maybe not responding. That is all that was standing between me and my delete button. A lot of times, all that my little world needs is for me to hear them and I feel terrible when I am so focussed where-else that I can’t squeek out a timely (and adequitely long .. working on that) response. Until now that idea that all the world needing me would think I wasn’t even listening kept me chained.
I’m going to try an away message to say “am listening, talk away.” and see what happens.
A million thanks and happy Monday!
always timely and super wise 🙂
esp the part about the essential creative jag not being sustainable. was just telling a friend tonite that today’s painting time was so great that i felt really good but almost manic ~ a distinctly not sustainable feeling!
I latched on to the unsustainability of essential creative jags, too! It’s true, I blossom during periods of intense writing or (you’ll understand this one, Kris) TECH WEEK… but sometimes we need a vacation from our genius 🙂
I decided last night that I was taking a mental vacation this week… I’m still going to work, I still have plans, but I’ve booked my evenings and weekend for ME and my needs: I’ll have time for creativity AND chilling out with a green juice in hand and cucumbers on my eyes 🙂
Love this, as always! Thank you!!
Three cheers for Chris, Belinda, and Rose on the creative jag. Just had my own weekend bender covering my first live event for a journalism class. I was MANIC. Jazzed. Couldn’t sleep for two days plotting out all the content I was going to create. Day three: collapsed in a heap and watched Mad Men while I gently rocked in my bed. Managing my creativity is new to me, and it feels so affirming to know that this is normal and I’m not alone.
Thank you all for sharing!
Fantastic post Kris! I felt so overwhelmed today that I had to go lie on my bed and look at the ceiling just ‘coz I didn’t know what to do next! Rather than feeling unimportant, I think I like the notion that I’m NOT indispensable, as you wisely pointed out. Thank you so much for the tips too – am going to do the last one write after I post this comment 🙂
I can deeply relate to this post, as I am smack dab in a “taking some time for myself” session. For about a week, I have felt the strong need to slow down and to take some time to just read and to focus on upgrading my skills in an area that I am passionate about.
For the most part, this has been okay with those in my life, but I have had one or two, who always seem to have some type of “breakdown” as soon as I put up the do-not-disturb sign. And the “breakdowns” are the most petty things–and I realized that I need to evaluate those relationships that are draining me.
As I move in this new direction in my life, I am trying to find the balance between holding on and letting go. Some of those close to me are apparently seeking more of an “outside-in” life experience, while I am seeking an “inside-out” experience, where my focus steams from my inner world, my soul…and not from the external.
Kris, thank you “as usual”….for being the one who seems to peak into my world and thrill me with these wonderful blog posts that are as timely as they are sweet.
As an extrovert I have naturally sought an “outside-in” experience. I am now cultivating an “inside-out” one. One of my challenges is to still use “teachers” of any kind as a sort of crutch to facilitate this. Thus, when any of my tech fails and I can’t access my sermons, or guided meditations, or talks/classes from teachers/coaches I get anxious. I look forward to evolving to a more balanced and peaceful existence whether I am accessing inner or outer guidance. Thank you for the forum Kris et al to discover my next steps to enlightenment.
Amazing post and I wholeheartedly agree! Keep being that awesome you that lights up the world one day at a time 🙂
This is totally me. I try to please EVERYONE. It’s so annoying because I know I do it and I try to stop but I can’t!!! I’m in my last year of university in Australia and have SO much to do and SO much to juggle. I have people around me that can help me out, but I feel like they don’t do it as well as me. Example- household chores, dishes, vacuuming etc. I live with my brother and even though he is more than capable of doing these things, he just doesn’t do it to my “standards”. It’s so annoying and I wish I could let these silly things go, I’d have so much time for myself!
Way to go Kris! I’ve been a wellness coach for almost sixteen years and I have learned many of the same lessons. My business is changing and growing and I really needed this reminder. I love the idea of “just deleting an email.” Did your finger hover over the delete button for a few seconds the first time or did you just hit and not look back? One of the greatest lessons I learned as a coach came from Cheryl Richardson, learning to say no to grace. It is an art unto itself. And my favorite Danielle Laporteism “If it isn’t a hell YES then it’s a hell NO!” As someone living and shooting to thrive with a cancer diagnosis you inspire me every day Kris. Off to rebound and whip up some green juice. Thanks for your always honest and real sharing. Rock on Wellness Warrior!
And to think I also deleted this without reading it 🙂 I stay pretty true to what my soul needs. I’m an introvert (but most don’t believe it) and it’s even more critical for me to say ‘NO’ to participating in every event or party invitation; read every blog I subscribe to; read every email sent and/or respond to ‘lengthy’ emails from friends. It took me quite some time to be OK with saying ‘YES’ to me more as it felt selfish at times. I’m sure I have friends that think, “Shelley rarely shows up to the parties/Shelley rarely emails me. Maybe she’s having problems/depressed/anti-social.” I’m ok with that. At the end of the day, my true friends know I care about them (as I tell them), and if people have a problem with it; THEY have a problem with it. Thanks Kris; you Rock!
I thought this was absolutely spot on! Life doesn’t end when we stop to take care of ourselves. If we don’t stop to refuel we will burn out. I’m learning this right now as well.
Since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 7 months ago, I realized that if I don’t slow down and allow my body to rest I could kill myself. The stress and anxiety is not worth being ill or death. It’s sad when it takes a life threatening illness or encounter to make us realize we need to let to, calm down, and relax.
Thank you for sharing this blog post. It just validates that making sure #1 is taken care of is the best medicine. We must value ourselves as much as we value the everyday tasks in our lives.
Thank you so much for your blog. I look forward to reading every one. This one is very timely as I am going through a very tough divorce, and am moving next week and have to look after a 4 year old as well! It’s absolutely full on (I related to your previous post about adrenal exhaustion too – I suffer from it) but I manage to get through each day.
The biggest point for me in this post is “Let them Judge”… because I left my ex-husband and it is in the courts and it hasn’t been a pretty journey but it has been an awesome one as I feel more empowered as time goes on. Anyway I do feel people’s judgements and criticism behind my back but I also feel that a lot of it is ‘in my head’ too as you explained. They all have their own problems to deal with. I am learning to get a thick skin and continue on – it is my journey and I know I’m on the right path.
Peace and love (and green juices! haha)
This is a great reminder. It is calming to know that I can step in and out of the chaos world without feeling like I’m going to be needed.
Kris, you are totally right. I loved this post a lot. Love you.
Thank you!! Just what I needed confirmed. Somehow I am arriving at just this concept but it really helps to hear it from outside myself!!
Love this! I’ve taken on too much lately, and despite eating very “clean”, I got really sick a few days ago. At first I was pretty annoyed, but my body was giving me a sign! Food is a very important part of the puzzle but does not give us a free ticket….
I also wanted to say that this is also a really important message for parents. We live in this world where on top of our work and our family obligations, parents are driving their kids from activity to activity. I see so many kids in our neighborhood whose schedules are filled to the brim with no downtime. I had a moment a few years ago with my three little kids, that I new I had to make a choice. That soccer in the yard is perfect for a 5 year old and mama lead art projects have to do the trick. And I hope I by giving them the gift of time, they get the space to dream up their passions…
Wow, straight to the heart. I’m going to be pondering this entire article as I make some wrenching decisions about my work this week. Thank you for bringing me just the right message at just the right time, exactly as it should have been. 🙂
Kris – Thank you for this post! I just returned from a wonderful 3 week (!) vacation with my family, and immediately upon arriving home, went into hyper-active mode – resuming all of the activities I had previously needed a break from, with even more fervor. Your last reminder about sitting still then, was especially poignant. I had wound myself up so much in my 3 days home, that by yesterday afternoon I needed to just ‘do nothing’ for a little bit. I had to repeat several times that I am worthy of that…We all are : )
Just what i needed to hear today, Kris! Here’s to laughing at my own delusions of grandure! xoxo
I cannot count the many ways in which you inspire me!!!! But I must say that my biggest inspiration has been seeing the homeless animals that you spotlight on your page. I am a nutritionist that is just launching my business (in B School so watch out world here I come lol!) & I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving me permission to do what I want, or rather for reminding me that I can do whatever I want! I LOVE animals & always rescue & am now a foster mama too & I cannot wait until I write my first newletter & showcase a dog that needs a home 🙂 Sending you more love than you can imagine!