Work Less, but More Meaningfully

Have you ever considered that working less might open you up to working more meaningfully?

work less kate northrup

In our culture where busyness is the marker of success, it can be hard to see things that way.

I recently shared this post on my Instagram:

I wouldn’t call myself an anxious person by nature, but I’m starting to realize that God dished me out a hefty helping of the impatience gene.
Here’s the cycle: I want things. I work for things. Then I expect results.

Like, now. More specifically, I expect them like yesterday.
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But I’m wearing out on that way of life. That cycle is exhausting, and moreover, it’s counterproductive, getting you stuck energetically in a draining work/reward cycle.
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So I’m taking a breather. And today I want to give you what it took me years to learn—the permission to enjoy your Now.
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Your evolution isn’t complete, but it also doesn’t need your 24/7, nonstop anxiety, worry and game of comparison.
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That abundance of tomorrow will indeed flower as a result of today’s work—but it also needs your patience and presence. Love and soak up your Now, so that you can equally love your tomorrow. ❤️

Since starting my blog and then my podcast and taking on all sorts of other projects and commitments–both professional and personal–in between, my weeks have started to feel like one big blur of stress, and of feeling like I’m never quite doing enough.

And while small parts of my routine, like my workouts, mindfulness and time with loved ones helps to alleviate that stress, they can’t solve the underlying issue I’ve been feeling lately, which is–simply put–feeling like a failure sometimes.

My podcast isn’t getting the downloads I want? Failure. The photos for my latest project didn’t turn out exactly how I’d pictured? Failure. My growth on my social channels isn’t what that other woman’s is? Failure.

As someone who prides herself on defining herself not by accomplishments, but instead by a sense of self, I felt disappointed in myself. Why do I care so much? When did I become the person who lived by “the numbers,” and not by the heart?

It took one simple but sweet moment with my son during bedtime last week to get me to snap out of it. I realized right then that I could very well be missing life’s small moments by constantly worrying about the future.

It’s a simple solution: Live presently. (Cue a scene from one of my favorite movies of all time.)

Anyhow, all of this to say, I’m snapping out of it. I’m forcing myself to breathe, slow down, and be present.

And because the universe has a way of solidifying our intuition, I recently came across an interview with author and coach Kate Northrup that not only validated what I was already feeling, but also encouraged me to take things a step further and actually reassess how I’m doing things.

In the podcast interview with Marie Forleo, Kate talks all about breaking the myth that constant busyness automatically equates to success, and instead encourages us to focus our energies on the things only we can do for our business, and to seek help in the areas that might not be our strengths. Or at the very least, slow down.

In the interview, she outlines three questions that can help us streamline our To Do list, and help us focus on the things that will not only ultimately bring us the most business success, but also the most fulfillment. Here they are:

1 – Does this need to be done?
2 – Does this need to be done now?
3 – Does this need to be done by me?

These three questions are a simple way to reframe what you’re doing with your days, and help you to put your precious energy to the places that most need it.

And for those of us who are running our own businesses or starting our own ventures, it’s a powerful way to reconnect with the things that you do best.

A pretty simple, but powerful, way of looking at things, right? I hope this reminder can help you start your week right. Let’s all focus our energy on the things that only we can do–and do best–and watch the rest fall into place.

And by the way, I’m definitely planning on reading Kate’s latest book, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time Management for Busy Moms. Anyone else out there read it, or have any book recommendations on a similar topic? Let me know in Comments below!

The world doesn’t need you busy; the world needs you here. And that’s enough. —Kate Northrup

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