I Can’t Do Everything

by | Productivity Advice | 3 comments

While I was reading through my blogs today, I came across a post about a quote from David Allen of Getting Things Done fame.

You can do anything, but not everything. – David Allen

Immediately, the quote spoke to me. So often, we focus on how we can get the most done. What can I do to be the most productive? How can I efficiently multitask? Is there anything I can do to get more done? I know I’ve spent countless hours reading on this, writing about it, and thinking about it. In today’s world, I am sure we’ve all thought about how we can get more done in less time at least once.

So when I saw this quote, I stopped. While so basic, it’s almost mind blowing to me – I can’t do everything, but I can be successful at anything. After trying so hard to figure out how to get it all done, the idea that I can’t do everything and that that’s ok, is like a breath of fresh air. Reading this quote made me stop and think, if I was just able to admit that I can’t do everything then the world is at my fingertips. If I take some time to slow down, it might just be better.

And this can’t come at a better time. As fall approaches, I’ll enter the busy back to school rush and will spend most of my free time shuttling kids to soccer games and practices. Bedtime will come earlier, and lesson plans will be calling my name. So this year, instead of trying to figure out how I can make it all work – all of the facets of my life – I would instead start stepping back. I can’t do everything, and it’s time to start letting some of those things go. It’s not easy, in fact, it makes me a little sick to my stomach. Behind all that is a little bit of a good feeling, a little sigh of relief that I may not drive myself crazy in the next few weeks, and that I like.

So I challenge you to think about this quote, too. Maybe it’s time to stop trying to do everything, so that you can do anything. Are you trying to do everything, but not succeeding at anything? Are you making yourself crazy trying to fit it all in? Leave a comment below sharing your own perspective.

Each month Aaron Morris shares his first-person perspective on time management as a dad, teacher and scrapbooker.

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  1. Irma P.

    This post coincindentally came at the day I needed it. Today was the last day before school starts for my kids and I put out a marathon effort to get EVERYTHING done on a never-ending list; normally this would have been a week’s worth of chores, but I just had to do it all today to feel a sense of accomplishment. Of course I didn’t get to the end of the list and was disappointed with myself. I stopped myself before I totally berated my efforts, and changed my perspective to appreciate the chores that DID get done. I didn’t do it all, but I managed to do that which mattered the most.

  2. Sue

    Great perspective. Do what you can do, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. This helps me keep on keeping on.

  3. Arielle Gordon

    WOW – isn’t that the truth? I really need to plaster that quote somewhere so that I will read it everyday…


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