When I was preparing for my interview with Jen Louden, I stumbled onto her “Conditions of Enoughness.” Based on Jen’s principles, I made a few tweaks to my daily planning that have transformed the way I approach my days. I’ve recommended them to my students and clients as well, and everyone is feeling more productive and less anxious.
Rather than ask how much you can accomplish in a day — which leads to exhausting to-do lists that never get done — ask yourself, what would be enough.
At night, set yourself one or two reasonable tasks for the following day. At the end of that day, even if you weren’t able to accomplish as much as you hoped, say to yourself, “I’ve done enough.” Then feel your shoulders drop and your mood improve.
Most of us are walking around with so much obligation and expect so much out of ourselves, it never feels like we’ve done enough. But if we flip expectation on its head and acknowledge our effort, we can relax a bit and reduce our stress load. Stress consumes our precious energy, not to mention our enthusiasm.
LESS IS ALMOST ALWAYS MORE. IT PREVENTS BURNOUT, WHICH IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO OUR GOALS.
Of course we all have to-do lists — errands to run, emails to answer — but even those can be relegated to the “enough” category. Maybe at the end of the day, you clear two emails out of your inbox and say that is enough. Then you’re free to relax and read a book or watch t.v.
During out last Creative Mix Meet-up, before discussing Jen’s “Conditions of Enoughness,” I asked each person to name an area of their life where they felt they were not enough. I was gobsmacked by the amount of responsibility and guilt that plague us. No wonder we have trouble getting our work done.
Mothers feel they are not doing enough for their children.
Wives and partners feel like they aren’t doing enough for their relationships.
More experienced artists feel guilty that they can’t mentor as many younger artists as they’d like to.
Almost everyone feels like they haven’t accomplished enough in their creative work.
Women are pulled in so many directions, we’re bound to feel like we’re coming up short. I believe that if we apply the “Conditions of Enoughness” to our daily tasks, it will ripple out into the broader arena of our lives.
When we honestly feel like we are doing enough, we’ll have more energy and in the long run probably get more done.
Where do you feel like you’re always coming up short? What would be enough for you to accomplish in a single day?