Rejecting “Always Do More”

For a few years now, I’ve been struggling with more. I want to work more, write more, and do more. I want to cook more, clean more, talk to others more, listen more.

I don’t often think about where the time for such “more” comes from. I think I assume that I’m a magical efficiency machine, who keeps figuring life out so thoroughly that I am always doing things quicker and less – my laundry magically is done faster, or I can multitask my way through dinner while simultaneously washing dishes.

This is sometimes true; my tasks at work take much less time than when I first began. But I also have more tasks, and the growing mound of tasks is growing faster than efficiency can mitigate.

All I’m saying here is that I need to stop pegging success and satisfaction with myself to the feeling that I’m doing more than I was doing last year. Never mind whether these things are valuable; I was letting myself feel comforted that at least I’m operating at 110%! At least it’s a whole LOT of nothing!

I’m trying to see my life as refining instead of adding – what must come into my life because it will enrich it? At the same time, what can I lay down, now that I see I cannot or do not need to do it any more? I’m not so good at this part. I either throw a task away, furious at myself for having to admit defeat, or I just try to keep doing it, complaining all the way.

I’m working on it. There are things I need to do less of every time I try to fit more in. I cannot magically make everything hard in life take less time, and I’m starting to really plan my life to cope with that fact.


18 comments on “Rejecting “Always Do More”

  1. Cheila says:

    It’s exactly the same for me. I always want to do more, be the most productive. It’s so tiring.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Northern Hiker says:

    I feel for you. That’s why I’m glad that after 35+ years I can soon think about me and mine when I retire…or will I??!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Janet says:

    I can relate to this. My favorite part is: what must come into my life because it will enrich it? Thanks for sharing. I’m going to ask myself that question when I think I need “more” of something to do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. prior.. says:

    wonderful post – the refining part – and how it is not all about what we produce!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lisa Uncharted says:

    I struggle with the same issues. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Life is a matter of balances. More in one direction can topple the other things over. For me, it always comes down to wants and needs, then focusing on what is important. It helps me from desperately grasping for more, and maintains forward movement.
    It’s a practice, it takes time to figure it out, like yoga, or making bread. The really wonderful thing about Wants/needs and focus, it allows me time to be able to do the more that we all want to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Refining instead of adding” – that’s not only practical, but elegant. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sometimes “less” is just what we need to find joy. The busyness can distract us from what we value most. One of the most important questions a teacher asked me was, “What do you value most?” After some introspection I realized I had been wasting most of my valuable time chasing my “tail” as fast as I could when the things I value most were being ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mel & Suan says:

    There must be a time for rest and meditation for me. When you shut out all chores and thoughts. But its easier said than done. Because when one close their eyes, all kinds of thoughts stream in – ‘is the wash ready to hang dry’, ‘oh i need to mop the floor again’…sigh. Agree we need to enrich our lives rather than just keep doing more. Quality over quantity!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Lent begins tomorrow in my tradition. 40 days of slowing down and reflecting that Jesus spent the same length of time in the desert ” doing nothing” in worldly terms.
    Don’t burn out young!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you nailed it when you said you shouldn’t base success on whether you’re doing more than last year. I struggle with the same thing and I have to be intentional about quality not quantity.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nicole says:

    I struggle in a similar way. I’m prone to equating success with quantity rather than quality and it is something that I would love to change as I get older.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. runningrara says:

    Love this! I started the year with the intention of refining my training and have already slipped back into the do-more mentality. Thanks for the reminder and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I so get where you’re coming from. I wrote a piece about doing less not more last year because my constant strive to do more made me ill. Here if you’re interested
    Katherine x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Valeriya says:

    Guilty of the same thing… It’s amazing how we measure success with how much more we can do than we previously could, and this is often the road to a burnout…

    Liked by 1 person

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