If I took a survey of the working population of the Western world — including, of course, all the incredibly hard-working stay-at-home parents out there — I'm fairly certain the majority would agree with the following statement: "I have more work than I can handle."
Why is having an overfull plate the norm? Right now, I myself have a decent excuse: I'm a new freelancer, and I'm still in the process of learning and deciding what Red Pencil should contain. But the sad fact is that this isn't a new problem for me. Except during the blissful decade I spent as a competently multi-tasking and oddly content pub or restaurant waitress — years in which I felt rather miraculously like I had time for well nigh everything — I've often taken on more than I could handle. When something falls outside my skillset, that's a different story: I'm quick to raise my hand and find the right help. Apparently, however, I have a small but nagging need to be a hero when it comes to anything I *should* be able to do.
During my time training or managing others, I gave exemplary advice: "Raise your hand when you've got too much work on your plate. Push back when people ask for unreasonable things in unreasonable timeframes. Don't be a superhero. Remember the importance of preserving your own sanity. Defend your right to your own time." I was even good at helping them to push back, reset expectations, and find a better way forward. So why can't I take my own damn advice?
This blog is not intended to answer that question. Instead, it's intended as a helpful reminder to me myself, as well as anyone else who suffers from a similar malaise, that sometimes it's best to simply acknowledge your limitations. It's not a weakness to say, "I'm full up." In fact, it's a strength, because acknowledging our limitations is yet another way we grow both personally and professionally. Be humbled, be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can't do, and move on.
I hereby humbly acknowledge that this lesson is going to be a hard one for me to implement. Like Popeye, sometimes, "I YAM WHAT I YAM." So are you. But the truth remains: who you are, and what you can do, is more than enough.
I'll get better, inch by inch. For example, instead of beating myself up over not having something amazing to write about for this week's blog, I'm just writing about what's on my mind... which just so happens to be the increasingly pressing need to acknowledge my own damn limitations. ;)