Don’t Try To Do It All

 In Blog

Did I mention that I’m a homeschooling mama? Yep, that’s right…it’s awesome, super fun, hectic, chaotic – what was I thinking?! – All of it – it’s great. It really is. Anyway, a few years back I stumbled upon THE BEST yard sale ever! It was chalked full of teacher supplies and school stuff. I left with arm loads of materials. It felt a little like Christmas to me that day…and for months afterwards too. I didn’t know it at the time but would soon find that this teacher had taken immaculate notes of every activity and left them inside each box/folder/binder – what worked, what didn’t, suggestions to do for next time.

Have you seen or read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? Where Harry finds an old text book with tons of notes and things to do. Amazingly he starts to excel in that class just by following those notes someone else had scribbled in the margins? That’s kind of how I was feeling. Each time I’d open a new folder, box, or book there was some handwritten goodness inside and I loved it.

One afternoon while I was reaching for this binder a few binder pages fell out of more notes. I stopped to glance at the papers and I read one line that said:
“You’re going to want to do everything. There’s always way more content that you can get through. Don’t try to do it all. Pick ONE concept and teach it REALLY, REALLY WELL. This is what the kids will remember.” -annonymous amazing-est teacher of the year

Love that and very applicable in just about every area of our lives. I taught relief Society for years and it was one of the best callings ever. But when I first started I was floundering a bit. I hadn’t found my voice or style yet and I thought that I needed to get through all the materials in one lesson. It was a disaster. I felt rushed to get through all the concepts in the chapter and then if people had a comment – whoa…It wasn’t working. Insert teacher advise: Pick ONE concept and teach it really, really well. Just one. I could expound on that one and add to it which I did of course but it made all the difference. It opened up abundance and freedom for all of us. We weren’t rushing anymore to beat the clock. There was time for raised hands and comments -which was always the highlight of the lesson, hearing others raw insights and testimonies. And at the end of the hour we all left with one common, hammered in deep concept and lesson learned.

Our lives are bombarded with SO MUCH STUFF. Theres many things that keep us busy, things to think about, to apply, activities to reschedule, to take out, to add in, etc. It’s exhausting. Don’t try to do it all! You’ll just run yourself ragged and it won’t do as much good in your life as it would to limit what you choose to do with your time. What’s that age old saying? Jack of all trades, master of none?

Pick ONE area of your life right now and really, really, really go to town with it. This doesn’t mean skip out on all the rest – it just means to hone in as much time and energy as you can on this one thing for a time. See how much growth you can achieve during that time. Then ask yourself how that feels? I guarantee that it’ll be memorable for a long time afterwards too instead of spreading yourself thin and all over the place.

About four or five years or so ago I had this brilliant idea to do a “daily dozen” as my New Year’s focus. I was going to excel in a dozen areas of my life every day….like big things…every day. This lasted, mmm…not very long. The first day was great. Second, okay. Third, -when the vacation was over and back to the norms it was harder. By day fifteen, what was I thinking? By the end of the third week – I give up. This is too much. So instead of ditching it altogether I narrowed it down a lot to focus a bit more on ONE area at a time.

Think back to high school or college days and you’re gearing up for a big test. What do you do? You go to town studying, making flashcards, quizzing yourself, setting up study groups, etc. You narrow in and spend all your extra energy and time to focus on that class so you can get the best score possible. And it feels really good too, right? Seeing that A on your paper and knowing what it cost you. It’s fulfilling because you earned it. You worked hard for it.

What about today? What can you narrow in on today? What do you want? There are so many good things out there that are going to want to lure you over and distract you from what you really want NOW. Don’t let that happen. Because time is going to pass and you’ve dabbled in many things but here you are, the master of none.

Give yourself some relief. Don’t feel like you have to do it all now. Don’t even try to – it’s exhausting and overwhelming! Pick one or two areas of your personal development and go to town. Put all your extra time, focus, and energy into making that area rock.

You can become a master at any trade you want – if you’re willing to work for it, if you’re willing to narrow your time and energy to spend working towards it. What do you want to tackle first?


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