There has been an ongoing debate for years about the ability of men and particularly women to do-it-all or have-it-all. The question is usually posed and answered as an impossibility. Of course no one can do everything, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. So we continue to push ourselves to do more. Unfortunately, we often fail to take into account the costs of this high achievement way of life. In our efforts to do-it-all, we may end up doing nothing instead. Here are three ways we can lose when we do more.
1. Doing it all but none of it well.
First, we may be able to push ourselves to keep up with the bare minimums at work, at home, at school, or in our community, but the quality of our work often suffers. We do enough to get by but lose out on the satisfaction of excellence. There is a special pride in attaining a level of excellence. Doing it all often makes us a “Jack of all trades and master of none,” as the saying goes.
2. Doing it all but not the right things.
Second, we may be meeting the deadlines and making the grade in areas that are pressing or vital, but less critical tasks or activities are abandoned or postponed. Our families often get the leftover time instead of the best and we may give up on dreams for the future because we are too busy doing it all in the moment.
3. Doing it all but losing a life.
Third, we have all heard the phrase “human beings” with the catchy quip adding that we are not “human doings.” It’s a fun reminder of a common problem: the compulsion to “do” all the time. We no longer allow ourselves time to be, to rest, to stop doing. We move from one project, task, or activity without pausing to savor life or plan life events into the constant commotion of doing it all.
In our quest to do it all, we may actually be doing nothing, or at least nothing with lasting importance. Although we have more productivity tools than ever before, we must ask ourselves what price we pay for doing, doing, and doing more. What are we losing in the process? Most importantly, are we doing what matters most? Maybe in doing less we could do more.
Please share your ideas in the comments. Are you trying to do it all? How can you do more of what matters?