I get it...
We all are...
Our calendars are crammed. Our inboxes are overflowing. And the to-do lists we carry around with us are never really done.
We're surviving (not even thriving) and we just don't have the space, time, energy, or emotional capacity to add a single thing without collapsing. We're carrying all that we can carry. And even though we want to make a bigger contribution, we just don't have anything left to give.
I'm convinced this constant State of Busy is one of the biggest barriers holding us back.
Because we're exhausted. We're overwhelmed. We don't have the capacity for optimistic innovation. Hell, we don't even have the time to sit and think quietly - forget about thinking creatively.
So our potential goes untapped. Our unique Genius gets wasted. Time continues to rush by and the problem we want to solve grows more complex and persistent.
The worst part is: There is only one way to fix this situation.
Make room on your plate.
Seriously. There is no other way. I've looked! A bigger plate simply isn't coming.
This is all we get. There are only 24 hours in a day. And there is only so much your energy can increase with nutrition, exercise, and caffeine. You cannot bio-hack your way out of this.
You can try!
And I hope you do. There is much to be gained from improving your health and vitality. But that alone is not going to get you the time and space you need to tackle this big thing.
Neither will simply making it a priority. Because it already is. You care. Deeply. You want to make a difference. You're invested already. Yet even with all that wanting - badly - to make this thing better, you still don't have the head-space you need to really get your project going.
Because there isn't any room on your plate.
And there never will be.
Until you make room.
The best part is: You already know how to do it.
Metaphors are magic. They take something abstract - like where we invest our time and energy - and make it into something tangible and easy to understand. This plate metaphor does double duty, because it also makes it easy to see what we need to do, next. Think about it...
How do you make room on a plate?
Three ways: eat some, share some, throw some away.
Not all busyness is bullshit. Sometimes we have all that we can handle because life and work and society and relationships have all thrown high-priority problems our way. The work we have in front of us is our work alone. And there is no other choice but to put our heads down and do it. When you are served that feast, the only way to make room on your plate is to eat through it. Bite by bite. Until it's gone.
Other times, when we look around the table and see that we have friends and neighbors - colleagues and collaborators - sitting at our banquet, we have another opportunity: To share the work. To spread the love. To delegate. Give someone else a chance to develop a taste for what you've got on your plate.
Last - but not least - we can make space by admitting we never liked corn in the first place. Chuck that cob in the trash! It's your plate! Re-prioritize. Say no. Be ruthless. Stop taking spinach if you hate it (you can still have dessert, anyway). Decide what doesn't belong on your plate and throw it away.
See? You've got this!
It may take longer than you'd like. Some of it might come back onto your plate in the long run - if the ones you share with don't quite know how to finish. And you might hurt a few feelings by declining to take a big helping someone's prized recipe.
You may have to keep working to keep that space clear for your project. Life has a way of expanding. As soon as you move the meatloaf, the gravy starts pooling, and the peas and carrots come rolling in. When that happens? Push them back out where they belong.
It may not be easy. And it is absolutely necessary. Overturning the status quo (you can no longer stand) will take time and space, energy and creativity.
It will take up a lot of room on your plate.
Good thing you already know how to make that space.
Let's get to it.
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