Simplifying Your Time: How To Know Which Passions To Prioritize
You can do anything, but not everything - David Allen
If you're anything like me, picking ONE thing to work on is nearly impossible. I'm passionate about a lot of things- writing, playing the piano, starting my own business, making things, decorating my home, raising my girls, cooking healthy meals, being a good wife- and while all of these things are great, I often find myself trying to do everything at once and subsequently giving into a Netflix induced coma of anti-productivity.
I don't think I'm alone here.
If you fancy yourself a Jack (or Jill) of all passions, you're probably met with the same dilemma. The problem lies in the thought that we can somehow manage everything at once and still do an adequate job at it all. Usually, the opposite is true. We end up burning ourselves out and doing a sub-par job at each and every thing we thought we were so passionate about.
So how can we stop the madness?
Learning how to prioritize your passions is hard, but it's not impossible. Here are some questions to ask when you aren't sure how to narrow it down:
1. Learn How To Say No:
When you're focused on multiple things at once, you'll inevitably spread yourself too thin. Take care of the essentials- self care, your spiritual life, your kiddo's and spouse (if you have them), eating- and then see what you realistically have time for.
If adding another activity, no matter how excited you are about it, will cause you to pursue your other priorities half-heartedly, then it's best to say no.
2. Learn When To Work:
My friend Lilah from The Higgins Creative often talks about the importance of "working in the margins" of your day. If I'm being totally honest, having an entire hour to spend working on my passion (writing) would be a luxury in this phase of my life. Lilah talks about learning how to utilize your free time as a tool to work on what your most passionate about that you might not otherwise get to.
For example, the times when I can get the most work done is during nap time and after the girls go to bed. Those are my "big margins". Throughout the day though, there are smaller margins. Sometimes I'll answer e-mails or network on Instagram (yes, that's a real part of my job) during my two year old's bath time, or brainstorm post ideas during small moments of downtime.
3. Focus On The Passion At Hand:
One of my huge dreams is to open my own coffee shop one day. I'm passionate about making and serving traditional coffee and fostering community. But, unfortunately, now isn't the time for that passion. While I'll continue to look for open doors to pursue it, I'm learning what passions to pursue now and which ones to put on hold.
Though the thought of not achieving all of your dreams at once can be discouraging, remember that quote from the top of the page. Trying to do everything at once will only spread you too thin.
4. Remember, There's Always Tomorrow:
If you don't make time to work on your passion today, tomorrow is a blank slate, ready for you to claim. Start by making a list of the most important things to you, then the secondary ones. And watch as your focus narrows and your time aligns itself better to fit your priorities.