Something you might not know about me? I love projects.
By projects, I mean, new ventures and exciting new ideas that develop into side hustles. I’ve always been this way and I get a rush from thinking about the possibilities that a new idea holds. But I’m also know for taking on too many things at once. Over the past few years, saying yes to every project that sounded fun, left me creatively, mentally and physically drained. Things that I thought would bring me joy, ended up only bringing me stress and anxiety. To give you a better idea of how crazy things were, let’s go back a couple of years. At one point in my life (about 2 years ago) I was running Leap full-time (my old design business), had just launched Wandeleur, blogged 4-5 times a week here, and managed the website, email marketing and advertising for my dad’s clothing business back in Texas.
Just reading that list blows my mind and makes me tired—what was I thinking?!
I look back and wonder how the hell I had the energy or even the time to do all of those things. The answer? I didn’t, really. Technically, I was making all of them happen, but it wasn’t pretty. There were lots of late nights, early mornings, breakdowns and tears. Instead of trying to do one of those things well, I was just trying to check things off my list so I could keep my head above water. I started missing deadlines, forgetting about projects and doing a crappy job at all of them, which left me feeling defeated and like I’d failed.
My family, friends and Rob got what was left of me, if anything, until I finally hit a wall. Something had to give.
I knew it wasn’t going to be any of those three things above, so I started on my list of projects. The first project I gave up, and one of the toughest to break ties with, was Wandeleur. Emily and I had built it from the ground up! But like I said, something had to give, and that one seemed like the most logical because it was one of the most-time consuming projects and the least profitable. Not that it’s all about money, but you gotta pay the bills! The second project I gave up was Leap. This didn’t happen simultaneously (there was over a year gap in between the two), but I think that giving up one helped lead to the second. After seeing the positive benefits of having more time on my hands, it was an easier decision to make the second time.
In the moment, it’s sometimes hard to see how much time you’re devoting to something. Once it’s gone, and your schedule frees up, you realize how many hours you were actually pouring into it each week. That was a scary realization for me!
For all of you entrepreneurs out there, this post might hit home for you. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, you know that letting go of one commitment or income source can be terrifying. But, oh my gosh, it can be so worth it. After taking those two things off my plate, I finally had the time to actually think, come up with unique ideas, be more creative and do my other jobs with more passion and heart.
Somedays it feels like I have too much free-time and the busybody in me wants to add more, but it’s been amazing to see that doing “less” has really been able to allow me to do so much “more”. Making the conscience choice to say no to things leaves me feeling incredibly empowered and reminds me that I really do have control over my life and my path. This year, before I make any new decisions or start any new projects, I weigh the pros and cons and force myself to ask whether or not this project is going to be a healthy and positive addition to my life. If there’s even a sliver of doubt, I say no. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I continue to find more peace, freedom and compassion in my life and that’s been the very best gift I could ask for.
If you feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin, try saying no to just one commitment and see how it feels! It might be an adjustment, but over time, I promise that you’ll be happy you have more time to do the things you really love—like writing, baking, spending time with your family or learning a new language. Not a bad trade off, is it?!
Have you ever found yourself juggling too many commitments? What’s something you’ve said no to lately that made you feel like you were able to do more?
P.S. If you’re wondering what this look has to do with this topic, well, nothing really, other than this view of the city, that’s just slightly removed from the hustle and bustle, always reminds me to slow down and focus on what makes me happy!
photography by Jules Kennedy