If you’ve ever found yourself with too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it, you are not alone.
Did you know the number one cause of burnout isn’t that we have too much to do? It’s the feeling that the things we’re doing aren’t meaningful and don’t represent who we really are. (Drop the ball by Tiffany Dufu)
But here’s the problem:
When we feel like the work we’re doing doesn’t have purpose, the tendency is to do what?
ADD MORE STUFF.
Cue the violins.
Once again, you find yourself:
And so the cycle continues.
This is not sustainable.
But both women and men have been working hard for centuries. It wasn’t until Henry Ford introduced the 40-hour work week in 1926 that a rhythm of work, play, and rest were introduced into the mainstream. And he didn’t do this so that he could give people a break. He did it so that people would be more productive during the hours they were at work and also have more time to spend their increasing disposable income!
Economy under the guise of efficiency.
Theoretically, employees working an eight-hour day could spend more time with their families, catch up on sleep, and even cultivate a habit of physical exercise.
But that’s not what happened.
In addition to the car, Americans began purchasing luxuries like dishwashers and washing machines. Philosophers predicted that soon Americans would have so much time for leisure they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.
Turns out, they were wrong.
Like the basements in our houses, we find ways to fill the calendars in our day planners.
We brandish our busy books like badges of honor. They are the consummate symbol of our success and popularity. A vague memory from high school reminds us that success and popularity are the hallmarks of the good life.
But popularity and success do not come without consequences. There is pressure to keep up the charade by adding even more to our running resumes.
Money is extremely elastic, in that you can theoretically accumulate an infinite amount of it, and your income fluctuates at different points in your life. Time, by contrast, is intrinsically inelastic: You cannot accumulate more of it, and you’ve never had any less of it. You get the same amount of minutes and hours in every day of your life.
By that reasoning, an hour should be much more valuable than a dollar — yet we consistently behave as if the opposite were true.
An abundance of money is considered a status symbol, while an abundance of time is considered shameful. That’s why, in America, there’s a premium on busyness — on having a deficit of time. --Adam Sternbergh
Tiffany Dufu says that to accomplish more, we actually need to do less.
Did you know that multi-tasking can actually reduce productivity by up to 40%?
Here’s what you need to remember:
What you do is less important
than the difference you make.
Mission driven women know that their legacy matters. And you are a mission driven woman. You want to do all the things, but in your heart you know that ALL THE THINGS isn’t the highest and best use of your time.
Try, for a moment, to imagine the life you want. This might be difficult. It’s so much easier to remember the past than to imagine the future. But try. Really try. You must let go of the past—even while learning from it—so you can embrace the future that awaits.
What matters most to you?
What’s the highest and best use of your time toward achieving it?
Do the things you’re currently doing make you feel strong, alert, courageous, and creative?
Is there anything you can let go of right now?
Who will help you?
Your unique gifts coupled with the time you’ve devoted to cultivating them determines the legacy you’ll one day leave.
Want to learn more?
Download our free infographic/worksheet, "From Hot Mess to Less Stressed."