You Don’t Have to Do It All Right Now

You Don't Have to Do It All Right Now

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

Hay House Author Cait Flanders

Extra Reading

  • Thank you for being a role model in simplifying life! Have a wonderful “break” and I can’t wait to read your book! Merry Christmas!

  • I have a quote I keep on my to-do list that says, “You can do anything, but not everything.” Pretty much sums it up.

    Eager to see what you accomplish in 2017. Enjoy the creative and quiet time!

  • I will miss your writing for the rest of the year, but totally understand and support the decision. I used to be all about trying to do everything at once and ended up never finishing anything. I was writing songs (and recording every instrument), writing a book, working, teaching myself new subjects, diving deeply into politics and policy research, and pursuing deeper relationships. After years of this I realized that I was barely finishing anything and what I was finishing was not the best that I could do. I fully support picking a couple things off of a list and going full speed at those.

    Good luck with the book writing and I look forward to reading it!

    • Yes, that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling… like I’m just working on a lot but not finishing much of anything. I’ve never taken a month off anything before – should be an interesting test! :)

  • Good luck with the writing and enjoy the time off. Who knows you may come back with even better ideas. I’ve found when I’m not thinking about something I often determine the best solutions.

  • Awww I’ll miss your blog this month! But I totally understand – I am also not a person who is good at juggling a little bit of a lot of things, and this is a great time of year to take some time off and simplify. I hope you have a great book-focused month and come back refreshed for 2017. Catch you next year!

    • Yes, December seems like the perfect time to step away! I’m looking forward to it. Talk to you next year, Hanna! :)

  • Merry Christmas, my friend Cait! You have accomplished a lot this year, as well as in the years gone by. You are making the right decision. In fact, you should probably continue with this strategy going forward into the future, especially after your book gets finished and takes off in sales – and that strategy is simply two things: time management and priority setting. They both go hand in hand to achieve highly efficient productive living – for all of us. So, hope Santa is good to you and that all your New Years resolutions get fulfilled (that is, if you bother to make any New Years resolutions)! :-)

    • I’m not sure about resolutions yet, friend, except to continue doing what feels right! I imagine I *will* continue taking short breaks throughout 2017 and beyond, as I’m wrapping up the book and working on other projects… so this first break will be a good test that hopefully teaches me a few things! Thanks for always looking out for me. Merry Christmas, Rob!

  • Thank you. When I read the title of this post, the first thing that came to mind was a silent “thank you”.

    It’s great you are taking the time to focus on your book and I hope the writing goes great. I wish you the very best for the remainder of 2016!

    • Well I’m certainly glad the title alone was helpful, Amanda. Look forward to talking more in 2017!

  • I am not great at juggling too many different things. I will just telling the hubby this morning that I feel like we have too many balls in the air. I promised him I would take 2 weeks off of blogging over Christmas, so we can wrap up a bunch of things and get ready for 2017. I have it on my blog post to do list, but we start our year goal planning by talking about all the things we won’t do the next year. We have to cut, before we can add. Or at least pause certain activites. I hope you have a great month of book writing. =)

    • I like the idea of hitting pause rather than cutting – if you’re not ready to make the cut, that is. Hitting pause gives you some space to figure out what you really want to do. I know I’ll come back to the blog and continue to write weekly! But I just need a little break. Take the two weeks. :)

  • I’ll miss your blog! I already can’t wait until you’re back!

    But I am proud and honoured to call you a friend, and I fully support all of your decisions. You set such a great example for all of us.

    All the best with finishing your book, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year — looking forward to seeing you back here in 2017!


    • I’m so grateful for all of your support throughout the past few years, Dayle! I appreciate you more than you probably know. Merry Christmas + Happy New Year to you, friend! xo

  • Good for you Cait for being able to push pause on some things in order to focus on a bigger goal. Wishing you lots of writing success in December. Hope you enjoy the holidays!

  • I’ve been amazed at all the things you work on. Giving more attention to the book sounds exciting. You get to test more out and have more control over your writing routine, which is good!

    I’ve been experimenting more and more with single tasking over the past several months. It’s something that’s hard to practice when sometimes when there is so many distractions. Thanks for all the extra reading links! I love Life of Productivity!

    • I can imagine it’s especially difficult to practice when you’re overseas/don’t have much of a routine, Colin! Which will be good practice for me, as I want to go on a couple extended trips next year. And yes, Chris is the best! <3

  • Happy that you are doing what feels best… fits perfectly with where I am at and made me feel like I also am on the right path! Happy Holidays! :-)

  • Good luck, Cait! I came across your blog about a year ago and have enjoyed reading this year’s posts and many from the archives. Looking forward to reading the book and will be getting a copy for my sister, too. I suppose I’ll be following you on Instagram to stayed updated :)

    • Thanks for the support and encouragement, Mark! I appreciate it. And yes, I should’ve mentioned that I’ll still be on Instagram! :)

  • Good for you. I have pushed all networking meetings off to 2017 and actually turned down work which would have filled my bank account but did not fit my business model. Plan to spend December finishing off all client work in progress so that when my boy’s come home for Christmas I can close the office and enjoy my time with them.

    • That’s wonderful, Louise! You won’t be sorry you’ve pushed things off – it’s only a few weeks, after all. Merry Christmas!

  • Good for you :) In the words of Ron Swanson, “Never half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.” Enjoy your blogging break!

  • Enjoy your time away from the blog. You will be missed, but I’m sure that everyone here will agree that we are excited to see your book, so please take the time you need to focus on that and enjoy the holiday season.

    See you in the new year!

  • Happy book writing, Cait! Look forward to seeing you back here in January. :-) Glad you’re taking the time you need to really focus on this big milestone in your life.

    • Thanks, friend! I’m so excited for the break… but also equally excited to come back refreshed! I’ll see you then ;)

  • Another thing you could add to your “Extra Reading” list at the end is the book Essentialism, which is exactly about this concept of focusing on just one thing at a time. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t given it a go yet, it would be a great one to pick up when you’ve got some time!

    • It’s on my list! I’ve been trying to only read memoirs while writing my own, so I stay in that narrative… but I have a stack of other books ready for January! :)

  • The holidays and new year are a perfect time to hit pause. I am so happy to have gotten acquainted with your blog over the past few months and still have plenty left to read so you feel free to take all the time you need! ;) We will be here when you get back. Good luck with the book, happy holidays, and happy new year!!

    • Thank you so much, Miss! And with the holidays coming up, I’m sure the time will fly and I’ll be back sooner than we all think. :)

  • Thanks for keeping it so real, as always, even as you say BRB. Shows how much respect you have for your readers – way to not leave us hanging. We’ll miss you!

    Happy writing and holidays

    • Of course, I couldn’t just pull a disappearing act – especially right before the holidays! But I’ll be back sooner than we all think :)

  • Well gosh! After all that you’ve done this year, I think you deserve a break! I am so guilty of trying to do too many things and not getting anything accomplished. I need to sit down and make a list and order things in importance. I want to start off 2017 feeling at least a little bit organized and ready to get things done. That includes being consistent with the Mindful Budgeting planner, my blog and maybe actually earning some money from my photography. I completed my #50BookPledge with my 25th book being Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Talk about dark and disturbed. I really needed to hold a kitten or puppy after reading that one. LOL But I’m also going to try and finish In The Company of Women before the end of 2016 an maybe reread Big Magic.. I hope you enjoy your holiday season and have a wonderful New Year’s!

    • It’s funny you say you want to try to finish In the Company of Women because I feel like I never want it to end! Haha. But definitely reread Big Magic! I listen to the audiobook every couple of months and it continues to inspire me. Happy holidays, Shelly!

  • What a great reminder about making priorities and not overextending ourselves. I have several projects in mind right now, but if I don’t focus on one at a time, I won’t make much progress on any. Enjoy your blog break and the holidays, and focus on what you need to do.

    • I think it’s wonderful to have so many ideas! But we also need to make the time to turn each one into a reality. :)

  • Wow you have been busy!!! Got to love snowshoeing, especially if you’re living in Squamish this winter. There are lots of great trails… Elfin Lake is a great place for snowshoeing. :D

    It’s amazing to me that you managed to do so much this year, multi-tasking so many different projects. Glad you’re taking much needed time to hibernate.

    • Yes yes yes, that’s at the top of my list! I can’t wait! Less than four weeks until I’m there :)

  • Very wise decision Cait, enjoy the process of writing your book. We’ll all look forward to your next post and will think of you in the meantime! x

  • I can’t wait to read your book when it comes out!! I’ve been listening to your podcast with Carrie and I sometimes play a few of the episodes over and over to inspire myself. In fact I’m starting a shopping ban myself and a friend of mine read about it on my blog and decided he would do one too! You are very inspiring, I want you to know. I wish I had the guts to go freelance like you have, but for now, i’m going to work on developing my skills and writing while working with animals. That’s always been a lifelong dream of mine. Have a great holiday season with your family!

  • Good on you Cait. I read your blog and have been listening to your podcasts from bonnie Scotland. Truly inspirational and yet simple. Love it! Sad you aren’t posting until the new year, however I love the sentiment and reasoning. I applaud your focus.
    Happy holiday!

  • I’ll miss my newly found blog here–but I’ll see you at Courtney Carver’s Simple Year! I will also start your Mindful budgeting book and can’t wait to start it. Good luck on your book.

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