A Lackluster Life

Why You Shouldn’t Halfway Try to Do Things

Written by Angela Silva

If advances in technology are supposed to simplify our lives, why do we seem busier than ever? Perhaps we subconsciously fill in the gaps of time and energy when they appear with more activities, work, projects, or hobbies, keeping us ever in the throes of busy-ness. Does this sound familiar to you?

Most people, regardless of their success or background, are taking on too much and not giving their best effort. And do you know what you get when you give a half effort? Half the reward.

Being busy vs. Giving effort

The problem most of us face is we think that because our to-do lists are long and we stay busy all day that we’re giving our best effort. But there is a difference between productivity and effort. We can stay busy and give a little bit of effort toward a lot of things, but when the sun comes up each morning we still only have so much to give. If you divide yourself between 30 different tasks, those 30 tasks are each only getting a small portion of your energy and attention. If you instead divide your tasks into days, taking only a few tasks or projects each day, you can give better effort, time, and attention to each task. This results in a higher quality end-result, a better sense of completion, and less stress of deadlines.

The “Pick Three” Rule

Each morning, pick three things you want to accomplish that day. Don’t get lost in other commitments until those three things are accomplished. This rule helps keep the mind focused, and makes decision-making easier on a minute-to-minute level. And watch, those three things will turn out great.

The Poison of Comparison

Unfortunately, many of us are now even more in-touch with the Joneses, getting peeks through social media of their life’s every aspect. We see their perfectly staged breakfasts and seemingly always happy children. We see their lavish beach vacations and their adorable offices and think, “I can do that, I should be able to do that.” And thus the poison of comparison enters our lives.

The thing is – you’re not a morning person, or maybe you don’t like to cook. You prefer adventuring through ancient cities over lounging on a beach, but suddenly you’re questioning your life and preferences, and may start feeling insecure over your decisions. Suddenly you’re adding new tasks to your to-do list that you’ve never had interest in before. But the truth is – your life was just fine before. And now that it’s filled with tasks and hobbies that, if you think about it, you’re not really passionate about, you’re simply not going to find the joy and fulfillment in doing these tasks. This leads to halfhearted effort, and the burial of those things that you’re actually passionate about.

The Rise of Anxiety and Depression

It is no surprise, then, that anxiety and depression have plagued our homes as we are constantly trying to maintain an image that fits in with the “mold.” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.. Over 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder, and women are twice as likely as men to be affected.

We lose ourselves, our true selves, in the hustle and forget how to be happy. We don’t feel accomplished no matter how long our lists are, and even though we make those lists ourselves we don’t really feel happy as we complete the tasks that we added. 

(This is not to say that anxiety is caused by these controllable factors, but there are many factors including personality, lifestyle, and choices that can lead and contribute to anxiety and depression). 

Time to Change

So what do we do about this?

First of all, do an assessment of yourself. What do you really like to do? Compare this with your life and daily activities. From cooking, exercising, working, decorating your home and even the car you drive, ask yourself, “why?”

Live your life with your whole heart. Decorate with your favorite colors. Drive the car in which you are the most comfortable and feel the safest. Engage in activities in which you actually like and make you feel accomplished, and if you decide to learn a new skill, do it with your whole heart. If you find yourself going after something you don’t really want, have the humility to walk away and let someone else take over who will do a better job. Have the self-control to delete your Facebook or Instagram account if they are letting in anxiety and insecurity.

As you start adapting your life to fulfill your true self, you will find it easier to give your best effort at your tasks. You will feel happier, more secure, and more accomplished. You will never feel better than when you’re being the best version of yourself all the time.

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