How Does She Do It All?

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I have a full-time job as well as this blog and a podcast.  Not only that, but I’ve been traveling most weeks from CT to NC for business.  Add on my music ministry at church and the normal responsibilities of a homeowner and just… well…life, and it’s quite a juggling act.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

You may be judging yourself by comparison.  You may be asking yourself, “How does she do it all?”

I don’t. 

Every day I choose what my priorities are and do only those.  And sometimes even one of my priorities has to wait for another day.

It’s just life, isn’t it?  There’s only so much time in a day.  I spent years trying to cram more in.  And all it got me was exhausted and sick.  I wasn’t happy or fulfilled.  I didn’t even feel that good about all I had accomplished.  I just felt tired.  No matter how much I got done, it never felt like enough.

When I got sick, I couldn’t do anything.  Just getting breakfast was a major accomplishment.  Surviving through two meetings in a row.  It was then I realized that I will live every day with undone items on my To-Do List.  And I’d better get used to it.

I don’t do it all.  There’s so much left undone.  Like:

  • My garden hasn’t been weeded in about 2 years
  • I have a pile of stuff I plan to donate or sell in the middle of my basement floor
  • My grass grows a lot taller than most of my neighbors’ before I mow it
  • There’s a lot of dust on my living room coffee table
  • Papers are accumulating in my office…again.
(c) Kathleen Thompson

(c) Kathleen Thompson

All because every day I choose.  What’s most important to me.  To my future.  In the service of others.

In podcast episode 071, I said that Action + Intention = Powerful.  Action without intention is aimless.  Well, if you only have 24 hours in a day, and many of them are already accounted for, it’s important to make sure that you spend the rest of the time with intention. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of aimless actions that won’t get you where you want to go.

As I was mowing my lawn this afternoon, I was thinking about the choice Jerry and I made to buy this house.  We loved the land and the location in the woods.  There’s about an acre of grass, and several garden plots.

That made sense when it was the two of us here. It was the right decision when we moved in.  We split the tasks.  Jerry did the mowing and I did the gardening.  Now it’s just me.  And every so often I revisit that decision.  I question whether this is still the right place for me to live.  If my time could be better spent on something else.

There are other reasons why I’ve chosen to stay….so far.  But the next time I might come to a different conclusion.  And I’m making a conscious choice to stay or not to stay.  To do one thing and not another.

You know what?  You can’t do it all either.  No one can.  You have to choose every day too.  Just make sure you actually DO choose.  That you don’t let others choose for you.  You know they’ll try.  Not out of malice.  Just because they want something you can give.  And if you keep giving, they’ll keep asking.

How are you feeling as you read this post?  Did you barely even have time to read it?  Is life so crazy that you don’t have time to stop for 5 minutes and breathe?  If so, it’s time to take stock.  And since you don’t have an hour to assess your schedule, just pay attention to what you do today as you go about your life.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the intention behind what I’m doing? Does what I’m doing further that intention?
  2. Is this something I choose to do, or must do? And if I said “must do”, is that actually true, or am I just believing it to be true?

There are so many things we feel like we have to do.  We’re the only one who can do them.  The buck stops with us.  Well, as often as we may feel that way, it’s actually less true than we believe it to be.  Sometimes love actually lets others try and fail, rather than swoop in and save the day.  Our loved ones build confidence, grit, resilience when we back off a little.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it

As you ask yourself the questions about intention and choice, you will likely see things you do that either aren’t necessary or aren’t furthering your mission.

  • Pick one and choose to not do it.
  • Write it down as a reminder that you’re not doing it today.

You might not do it tomorrow.  And you might not ever do it again.

Once you have your thing, all you have to do is not do it.  Then leave a comment and let me know what you didn't do, and how it felt to not do the thing.  To acknowledge that you can’t do it all, and commit to doing what’s most important to you.  Today and every day.

You can do this.  Once you acknowledge you’re not Superman or Wonder Woman, you’ll see that you can’t have it all or do it all.  You have to choose.  What’s it going to be?

Groovemaker Coaching Link – if you want some help

You-Tube Link – to follow my adventure as I make these choices every day

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Paul Potter

    I’ve wondered many a time how you do it. Now I know a little more about it. Thanks for the help on making wise choices with my time and my life.

    • It’s all about choices. Back to Essentialism, isn’t it, Paul?

  • Great points Kathleen. Especially in our modern world with so many options and things we can potentially do. I need to continually remind myself that although I can potentially do almost anything given enough time, I can’t do everything with all the limitations I have. Having said that we tend to over-estimate what we can achieve in say a year and under-estimate what we can do in say five years. The key is to keep a list of potential interests and keep reviewing them to see if this is now the right time or season. As you say it is important to accept you will always have some things undone. I am somewhat of a perfectionist and it has been a revelation and source of liberation to me to realise that I am must not attach my inner happiness to outer accomplishment, especially perfectionism – life is never perfect!!!! I didn’t realise that for many years and it caused me much unnecessary frustration!

    • “…I must not attach my inner happiness to outer accomplishment…” Boy, Sunil. Those words are so true and yet so often I’ve done just that. I’m still a work in progress there, just like you. How do you stop yourself?

  • I love that you prioritize with such heartfelt intention, Kathleen, “in the service of others.” It’s an inspiration. As are you. Thank you for this post amid the many pressing demands of your life. You’re a gift.

    • As are you, Laurie. Your art, your poetry, your beautiful spirit are such an encouragement to me. Even when I sit at the piano and sing your song, I feel the spirit with which you wrote it. Your love shines through in everything you do.

      • Reading your words this morning brings me deep encouragement. Thank you, friend. May we both keep finding our way forward, in love, with that wondrous shine infusing all