You Can't Do Everything And That's OK

September 06, 2014

I like saying "yes" to things; I like saying "yes" so much that I often take on too much. Last year I said "yes" to a lot, I agreed to selling at more markets than I could physically handle alongside wholesale and shop orders, and it ended up being a huge struggle. For the longest time ever I said "yes" to working two full time jobs and most recently I said "yes" to a lot of side projects because I feared the question: "what if I don't?" What if I don't take this great opportunity? What if I say "no" and I regret it?

I don't like failing and I don't like saying "no." I fear the regret of turning down opportunities that may not come up again. But what I've realised is, you can't do everything and that's OK. If you say "yes" to everything that comes along, you're also saying "yes" to compromising your time and energy.

When I said "yes" to working two full time jobs; when I said "yes" to all those markets last year; when I said "yes" to working side projects and copy-writing for other people, I was saying "no" to investing my time and energy in my own business. I was saying "no" to taking proper breaks and enjoying personal downtime. Every moment I spent doing someone else's work I was neglecting my own.

Sometimes it's worth working that little bit harder for a period of time; it's exciting to do new things and experience challenges but over-committing yourself runs the risk of spreading yourself too thin and doing a less than adequate job. There will always be exciting new opportunities in the future, when you have more time to say "yes."

You can't do everything all the time and that's OK.

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  1. So true! I have had a hard time before for the sheer lack of courage to say "NO" The fear of displeasing someone or to look incompetent takes over all my sensibility at times. I have gotten slightly better at this especially in terms of blogging, ever since I decided to think before jumping at something and taking tie to analyse before I blurted my answer!

  2. You gotta walk the line between taking opportunities and taking care of yourself. It's hard to get right and varies with each person but it's super important! I love these kinds of posts because self improvement and figuring out the best way to live and relax and be adventurous are like, the best things to thing about all the time. I constantly reevaluate everything and it serves me so well. :-)

  3. Lara de Mercy9/06/2014

    Wow this post is like taken straight from my mind- I swear I have felt the same in so many ways over the past year. And by the end of it I found myself more exhausted than ever and unhappy. What is more- I was not contend with the way I had handled those many things I took on and so I will be telling myself that it is okay to do fewer things in the future. After all I came to the realisation that taking on fewer things that I actually finish to a standard I like, is a lot more satisfactory :) xx

  4. Jessica Johansen9/06/2014

    This post is absolutely spot on, and exactly what I needed to read at this point in my life. I suffer from epic business/work FOMO and take on so many different projects - mostly related to my own blog, which makes me feel justified in doing it, you know? - that trying to keep up with everything is not only ridiculously unrealistic, but also a huge source of stress for me.

    I recently made the decision to reevaluate my priorities and make a proper, REALISTIC plan to cater for these priorities. Instead of running around like a headless chicken, trying to get everything done, I'm going to set my Most Important Tasks every day and make sure I complete them; everything else is just a bonus. The tricky part is going to be to stick to this!

    Thanks again for such a great article!

  5. Alyssa Wible9/07/2014

    How are you liking that book so far? I just got mine in the mail (along with Steal Like An Artist which has been super inspiring) and I'm dying to dive in.

  6. I read 'Manage Your Day-to-Day' a while back and I really enjoyed it :)) I'd recommend 'Ignore Everybody' too, it's fantastic.

  7. When you try to do everything, you don't do anything properly; I really believe that in order to be successful and productive, we need to work on one thing and that becomes our main focus. That doesn't mean we can't do other things, but one task/goal has to take priority over all others.

    I think a lot of people make themselves unhappy because they try to do too much; people feel pressured into always saying "yes" because what if the opportunity never comes up again? But they always will; there will always be new opportunities in the future.

  8. It's more important to do one thing exceptionally well than a dozen things in a mediocre manner. We all try to do too much all at once because of the fear that those opportunities will never come up again - but they will. New opportunities will always become available to us in the future and we have to focus on what's important now.

  9. I think that's very true. But I think we often try to do too much because we're told "opportunity only knocks once," which is a lie. Sure, some opportunities only come along once.. but there are new ones that follow right after. We don't always have to say "yes."

  10. Knowing what's important is the most important thing. My business comes first now and I have to carefully consider whether saying "yes" to an opportunity will have a positive or negative effect on my workload. It's not that I will always say "no" now, it's just before I was ALWAYS saying "yes" without considering the consequences.

  11. Daniella9/07/2014

    I agree, it's horrible feeling like you have no time for yourself or what you want to do. I often feel I'm neglecting my blog and personal projects over my full time job :(
    Daniella x

  12. I try to say yes to things I wouldn't do but have access to easily, really trying to break out the comfort zone!

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography -

  13. I completely agree with everything you say! I'm the kind of person that hates to disappoint and let others down so I would often say 'yes' to things that may be a little more inconvenient for me. I think it's good to strike a balance between helping others and yourself!

    Yuen @ The Craziest Paradigm - fashion, beauty + lifestyle

  14. Definitely! The world is filled with opportunities!

  15. This was very inspiring. It's so easy to spread yourself too thin and not take care of yourself. I'm sometimes such a people pleaser that I don't realize that some things aren't worth all that! Thanks for the reminder :)

  16. Oh gosh, how how how true!!! Sometimes my problem is I create the opportunities in forcing myself to say yes to add in continually experimenting in the early stages of business owning! ♥ this post!!

  17. Ah, thanks for the reminder! Sometimes I have a hard time saying 'no', too. I put it down to 'FOMO' - fear of missing out. I'm still trying to find the balance - down time is so important x


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