Stop trying to do it all

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about how to stop trying to do it all…

Are you the type of writer who does too much and then ends up hating your work…and your life?

Many decades ago, back in my university days, one of my profs called me a “compulsive over-achiever.” Yup. Guilty. Since then, however, I’ve been working hard to reduce my expectations of myself and to scale back, a little bit more each year.

A recent post by Lisa Frühbeis on Jessica Abel’s website explored this theme under the headline, “How to stop trying to do it all.”

Here are the five steps that Lisa recommends:

1) Prioritize your offers and potential projects:  To accomplish this objective, Lisa put all her potential and unfinished projects on a decision matrix (like Stephen Covey’s four-box Urgent/Important matrix) and was shocked to discover all her most important “passion” projects ranked dead last.

2) Get clear on your values, and reprioritize: Giving higher priority to her “passion” projects helped Lisa move them up the list so that was an improvement But they still weren’t at the top.

3) No, seriously, get clear on your values. And reprioritize. I love the way Lisa presents point 2, all over again, as if it were a new point . This indicates how seriously she took it — and how seriously she thinks you should take it, too.

4) Say “no” more quickly. The secret to having the time to schedule your passion projects means saying no to stuff that doesn’t interest you as much. Lisa recommends having pre-written responses.

 5) Negotiate before you say yes. Before accepting a big new project, Lisa negotiated with the client to ensure the work would include the kinds of activities she found most rewarding and allow her to pursue her passion projects. It worked.

As a writer, you want to make sure you have enough time to do the work that’s most rewarding and engaging to you. Don’t sell yourself short by looking at the work as nothing more than a money-making venture.




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