Having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to this overcommiter. It meant I had to let go of all the illusions I had that I was going to get to those 117 projects, commitments, opportunities, dreams, and distractions.
When you have a baby, it quickly becomes obvious that you can really only do two things if you’re the 9-5 breadwinner: 1. Do your job and 2. Be with your family. If we sort that list by priority, instead of time, it’s 1. Be with your family and 2. Do your job. Either way you slice it, that’s about all you have time to care about effectively.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to do a third thing. What’s your #3? It took me some time to let go of the illusion that I was going to be able to do more. I barely have time to 1 and 2.
So there’s only one choice left for me in life: What’s my #3 going to be?
My #3 is music. It was my #1 for a long time, but I’m much happier with it as my #3. Because I love it so much, and am so attached to the dream of making it, I let go of everything after it.
My #4, was a dream I nursed of making a name and business for myself doing Web work. And I do keep a very small bit of freelance Web work going, but knowing that it’s not my #3 means I don’t torture myself about not doing more speaking, writing the book, and starting the business.
I still have my 4, 5, 6, 7, 8… and I get to them when I can. But I don’t fret over not getting to them anymore. And having a baby is the best excuse in the world to turn things down, guilt-free. It’s so easy now to say, “I would love to, but I can’t”. As Bob says,
Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well
If I want to stay up a little later, I don’t wonder what I should do. I do my music. And I love it. It’s what I want to be doing and my time is scarce, so I’m more strategic about it now that I ever was when it was my #1 and I didn’t have any deadlines or need to be efficient and resourceful.
So even if you don’t have a baby, I bet you have a job and a family. And if you’re wondering how many other things you can be truly effective at, it’s 1, not 3, not 7, not 34 or 117. So stop expecting that of yourself and enjoy saying no because it means you get to do what you must do, to be who you want to be.
Cut the agonizing and the chaos from your life by answering this: If ou can only do one thing with your hour of free time a day (when you’re lucky) what is it? Because everything else is distraction.