Before I started high school, I had to choose what language I’d study. Our school offered French, Latin and Spanish. I’d already taken one year of Latin and wanted to continue learning it. But I also really wanted to try Spanish. So what did I do? How did I pick between the two?
I didn’t. I chose both. That year I attempted to take two language classes. My grades suffered, I felt overwhelmed and I eventually quit Spanish at the end of the year. Burned out, I felt like a complete failure for thinking I could do what almost no one else in my class was doing.
I’m an overloader. I love to overwhelm myself with projects, emotions and to-do lists so long they make my chest hurt with anxiety. This overloading makes me feel bad for not accomplishing anything. I go to bed feeling like I wasted the day and wake up unsure how I’ll tackle anything.
Recently I was talking to my business coach about all these things I want to do. She suggested that I pare down my to-do list and eliminate some of them. Instantly I felt relief. My chest seemed to expand as I realized that I didn’t have to do everything I told myself I would.
As I crafted my 2017 goal list, I felt better eliminating the superfluous and focusing on the important. That’s the only resolution I have this year: simplify.
Whether you’re attempting to get your debt in order or grow your business, there’s nothing wrong with simplifying.
Here’s what I mean:
Instead of trying to sell my clothes on Poshmark, I’m going to take them to a consignment store. If the store doesn’t want them, then I’ll send them to Thredup. I could try to sell them individually, but it wouldn’t be worth my time or anxiety.
Instead of returning things to the store, I’m going to be more careful when I buy items. Returning something is usually an hour-round trip, and that’s not how I want to spend my time.
Instead of spending hours categorizing each purchase on my budget, I’m going to simplify our finances. Are we saving enough? Are we spending within our means? Great.
A lot of people want to complicate your finances. You should download this app to save on your groceries and this app to save on gas and this app to save on the air you breathe. It’s a lot to take in.
Sometimes it’s worth it. When I was only making $30,000 a year trying to pay off my student loans, I did everything I could to save and earn money. I’d sell used makeup, buy clothes from Goodwill and shop at the scratch-and-dent grocery store. [Tweet “When you don’t have a lot of money, time is everything.”]
Time can save you money by doing your own car repairs, fixing your own meals or even making your own clothes. But now that I have more money and I work for myself, my time is everything. It makes more sense for me to work on my business than do everything myself.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to simplify it. Stressed about money? Open up a Digit account and use it for an emergency fund. Not saving for retirement? Choose a Vanguard index fund and deposit 10% of your income every month.
It’s ok if you’re not saving money every minute of every day or if you sometimes eat from the Dollar Menu instead of bringing in your own lunch. It’s better to do the easy version of something than to do nothing at all.
Don’t feel bad for what you aren’t doing and celebrate what you are. Do less, focus on one or two things and don’t worry about the rest.