Life is crazy, right? We live in a society that pushes the go-go-go mentality. This “do more” and “be all” way cements our place on the podium of great achievers. And if you aren’t on that podium, well…where and what are you? But this way is neither sustainable nor productive, and if we really think about it and our lives, we can totally admit that out loud.
What can we do about it? We’re up against societal standards. Can we really stop the go-go-go cycle? The answer is YES. And we all have the one tool we need to do just that.
They’re pretty awesome at letting us know what’s going to help or harm us. Call it intuition, or maybe it’s just biology at work. Either way, our team is over here giving that some serious thought.
We recently picked up Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women by Kate Northrup. She writes that our “addiction to busyness makes us more stressed, overtired, and less productive” and then argues the need to revolutionize the way we work. Not by leaning in, but by listening to the system within us.
Translation: By listening to our bodies.
What does that mean? It means that we’re not built for 8AM-5PM productivity. It means we’re biological systems that ebb and flow on pathways only WE can determine. Northrup’s research tells us that so few of us can really be productive for more than four or five hours in a day, and even within those hours, there will be internal and external forces at play. So, she tells us to focus on quality over quantity, and makes a strong case for doing so:
And while we could certainly go on and on about Northrup’s approach to doing less, we’ll say this: It’s somewhat mind-blowing when you stop and think about the fact that work is NOT and can’t ever really be separate from life. These are not two separate components we must learn to juggle—they’re really congruent parts of a whole, which is us. Our selves.
Identifying that, or rather—admitting to that—is something all of us need to do, and it’s something our team is working on this year. In order to be good at our jobs, in order to find a harmonious relationship between work and life, we have to understand our own selves. And we do that by listening to our bodies, which will ultimately lead us to what we need to be and do our very best.
And, as we’ve discussed, doing MORE isn’t the solution. Pulling back and finding breathing room is. Here’s how our team intends to do just that in 2023:
“Self care is going to be a huge priority for me this year. No matter how big or small the activity, I need to give myself more time for myself so I can harness that restored energy for all the aspects of my life.” — Lynzee
“Quality over quantity is going to drive me toward better balance. I want to place more emphasis on the things that matter to me personally, versus professionally, ultimately saying YES to more of those things.” — Kayla
“Being present in my personal life is something I need to work on. I need to set boundaries that will create more time for me, and for spending time with my husband, family and my friends.” — Harleigh
“Recognizing elements of my life that are low joy and moving to eliminate or change them is something I will continue to focus on. I find that doing so creates internal and external balance, as it removes stressors, which ultimately helps me find high joy.” — Tara
“I want to change my perspective on time from scarce to abundant, and look at time in a more opportunistic way. I am granted time each day; how do I spend it in my happiest and most productive state?” — Jen
“Focusing on time is going to be important for me this year. I need to remember that I can control time, and that it’s not just an AM to PM block I have to live within. I can honor the moments that I’m in, but I can also take breaks when I need them.” — Nikki
And now it’s your turn. Stop for a second and listen to your body. Start to build this practice into your daily existence and see where you might possibly need to do less. Perhaps our intentions will help you form your own. And of course, we highly suggest you dive into Northrup’s book.