It’s no secret that I’ve done a lot of living this year. I travelled to Squamish (multiple times), Whistler, Tofino, Toronto, New York, and 18 other states on my road trip. I made Adventure Tuesday a priority, and explored many new trails on Vancouver Island. I started running again. I fell in love with snowshoeing. And I went on my very first (and certainly not my last) solo writing retreat.
My friends in Victoria often tease and ask how I’m enjoying my retirement. I laugh it off, but sometimes feel like it’s true. While in previous years I did a lot more working than living, I intentionally chose to do the opposite in 2016. As each month passed, I worked a little less and lived a little more, and it’s been wonderful. However, I’m ready to shift back into work mode – and have realized I can’t “do it all”.
That hasn’t been an easy realization to come to. When I came home from my road trip, I brought back with me a long list of ideas, to-dos and new projects to work on. The list includes another season of Budgets and Cents, a new podcast, more print products and a course. Some projects will be done solo, others with partners (Carrie and Garrett), and the new podcast will include many voices.
I also want to make some changes to the blog, namely around the design. I want to do a content audit and clean up some of my old stuff. I plan to switch my email list from MailChimp over to ConvertKit. I have ideas for check-ins and new challenges for the Mindful Budgeting community. I’ve promised Carrie I’ll finally start using Asana. And I would like to start working with a business/creative coach.
As you can see, the list of things I want to work on is long… and doesn’t include any of the travel plans I want to make! But I can’t do any of it yet, because there’s one big thing I need to finish first: my book.
For the past few months, I’ve been trying to manage multiple things – this blog, my freelance work, social media, interviews/press and more – all while writing my book. I’ve gotten a good start, and like what I’ve written so far, but I’ll never be able to finish it if I keep my hands in so many different things. It’s been especially difficult to switch between blog writing and book writing.
When I look back at all that I’ve done this year, there’s a lot to be proud of. I launched and produced two seasons of a podcast with Carrie, taught one month of A Simple Year, curated (your) amazing content for Rockstar Finance and created solid systems for my business. I also underwent and recovered from hip surgery, finished my second yearlong shopping ban, travelled and read 22 books (so far).
However, the one thing I’m most proud of is finishing and having my agent sell my book proposal. It was a dream turned into a goal turned into a reality; my first book deal signed on my last day of being 30. When I look at the long list of things I want to work on next, it all excites me. But when I ask myself what’s still going to be fantastic five years from now, the first thing that stands out is my book.
In an email course I’m currently taking, Laura Jane Williams (also the author of a memoir I just finished reading) prompted us to answer two questions: What do you need? And when are you gonna say it? My answers were obvious: I need a break – one month off from everything, including this blog, so I can focus on my book – and I’m saying so now.
I know there are people who can manage to do a little bit of everything at all times. I used to be one of those people myself – but I’m not anymore. I prefer to work on one thing at a time, and believe single-tasking helps you do your best work. So all those things I want to work on next? I have moved them to my 2017 to-do list. And as for the blog, this will be my last post in 2016.
I was nervous to press pause on things, but then I remembered to take my own advice and learn how to say no. Sometimes saying no to one thing is simply saying yes to another. You could say no to plans so you can say yes to downtime this holiday season. I’m saying no to keeping up with everything for a month so I can say yes to finishing my book. And it’s ok. We don’t have to do it all right now.
In fact, trying to do it all can cause more harm than good. If you try to tackle all the projects you want to do at the same time, you might not put your best effort into a single one of them. The same can be said for trying to do an amazing job of juggling work, family, friends, hobbies and your health/sanity. I’m not saying you can’t do it all – but that you don’t have to. It’s ok to scale back or ask for help or just say no.
Now is a great time to slow down, pick just one or two more goals you want to tackle this year, and let that be good enough. Then take some time to relax and reflect on what 2016 meant to you.
After today, I’ll be hibernating for a month. That’s what us Canadians do up here in the winter, eh! Only this year I’ll be getting away from most everything: the blog, freelance work, interviews and even social activities. I’ll pop onto social media, and will still check email (albeit less frequently). And I can answer any questions you have about the Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner. Other than that, I’m in book mode.
Along with the weather, one thing I’ve learned this year is that there are also seasons of life. I’ve had a season of healing, a season of work, a season of travel, and now I’m entering a season of creativity – and I can’t thank you enough for supporting me through all of them. I truly appreciate your online friendship, and am so excited bring a refreshed energy back to our community in January.
Have a happy holiday season, friends. Until next year! xo
- I’m Returning to Single-Tasking – Zen Habits
- The Art of Doing One Thing at a Time – A Life of Productivity
- The Science of Single-Tasking – Buffer
- The Secret to Productivity No One is Talking About – Be More With Less
- Turns Out, You Can’t Do It All – The Middle Finger Project