I’ve tried my best, but I’ve come to realise that you really can't do it all.
You really can’t do it all.
Every few days, we’re greeted with a new online article telling us how successful women be successful. We’re led to believe that it’s possible to do it all. That you can be running a brilliant start up alongside a second ‘side hustle’, whilst dating, going for drinks with the girls, yoga-ing to your hearts content and going for long walks with your family for some ‘time out’.
I’d really like to know where these women get all of their time from. Because recently, I’ve extended my day by a few hours by getting up earlier, and doing my workouts for the day in the morning, so that my evenings can be spent doing something else. And I STILL don’t feel like I have enough time to do everything that I need to.
To explain a little better, here’s a little insight into my daily routines, and I say ‘routines’ because I feel very lucky at the moment that my job is pretty varied, and I’m very rarely sat at the same desk two days in a row. I have a ‘base office’, which is where my actual desk is (complete with a drawer full of snacks, obviously), but then I work in our London office once or twice a week, with a day or two working from home, too. Because of this, I don’t really have a single, ‘daily’ routine, of sorts - I have many! However, my main two routines are my office days, and my London days.
If I’m in the office, my day goes like this:
4.30am - **alarm goes off**
5.00am - gym session or 10k run
6.30am - I get in my car and set off on my hour long drive to the office.
7.30am - COFFEE
7.45am - roughly the time I get to my desk. I check for any urgent emails and write out my to-do list before cracking on with the day.
7.00pm - I’ve just about got back to my flat, and it’s time for a quick snack and a freshen up.
7.30pm - I try and keep one or two evenings free for me to recharge, but on the other days, it’s time to head back out for dinner, events, podcast recordings or general catch ups with friends.
If it’s one of my London days, then it goes like this:
4.30am - **alarm goes off**
5.00am - gym session or 10k run
6.30am - time to head to the train station to grab a coffee, and get myself on the 7am train to London!
9am - I arrive in Euston and walk to our office in Soho.
7pm - after a full day of meetings, it’s finally time to get back on the train and head north, back home to Liverpool.
10pm - I finally get back to my flat, and it’s immediately time for bed before my alarm goes back off again in 6 hours!
Obviously, your girl needs her rest days from the gym / running around the docks like a lunatic, so the 5am slot isn’t always there. However, as a rule of thumb, my weekdays start at 4.30am and end around 10pm and guess what? There is still so, so much that I’d love to be able to fit in that I’m not able to prioritise right now. I mean, I’m even considering hiring a cleaner so that I can spend that time doing something else, too!
Don’t get my wrong, I LOVE my life. It feels full and exciting and there is not a single thing that I would change about it. However, it really has got me thinking a lot recently that you really, really can’t do it all, no matter how early you get up or how hard you try.
Here are few of the ‘little projects’ that have been on the back burner for a while:
We have been talking about relaunching Girls in Work for months, and yet we’ve still not gotten properly round to it. We need to change the site, write content, reply to the back log of emails and we really want to start planning another event.
I’d love to be able to spend lots more time on this blog and my Instagram, but I don’t have as much time to devote to them as I used to.
I’d also love to be able to spend more time helping a friend with her new business, because I love everything that it is and that it stands for, but again, there are just other things that I need to prioritise for myself at the moment, and the fact that I can’t give much time right now, makes me feel a little guilty.
I need to sort my finances out: I need to switch half of my bank accounts so they’re getting the best interest rates. I need to open new savings accounts. I need to set up new standing orders. If you’ve ever started trying to do this before, you’ll know how long this takes.
My wardrobes are overflowing because I keep buying new clothes but haven’t had a good clear out in months. I’m hesitant to start this, because I know it’s one of those 2 hour jobs that will turn into a whole weekend of not only clearing out my wardrobe, but probably feng shui-ing the whole flat.
Obviously, I do have a few hours here and there that I get completely to myself, but I’m fully aware that I need to keep those hours for me, and use them to chill out for a little while. I’ve experienced burn out more than once before, and I know that it’s just not pretty.
So, what have I learned in trying to do it all?
Well, I’ve learned that I can’t do everything, and that’s okay. I’m not willing to sacrifice any of my goals and there’s no way I’ll be ticking anything off before it’s done, but I just have to prioritise. I need to focus on one or two things at a time, so that I can really give each one as much time and energy as I can. Then, I can start on the next thing.
There’s no one else watching and tracking my life as closely as I am, because everyone’s out doing their own thing and smashing their own goals, so what does it matter? I am, by far, my own biggest critic and I’ll be the first to beat myself up over something unnecessarily. But the chances are, no one else knows that there was something else I was meant to do today. No one else knows if I skip a gym session one day so that I can have an extra two hours in bed. No one else needs to know if, god forbid, I decide to shut myself away on a Saturday afternoon because I just need to recharge for a little while.
So, I’m just going to carry on doing my best and finding times and routines that suit me. I know myself well enough to know that I’m capable of building my own successes when I really put my mind to it. So I just need to ensure that I have that time and energy to put into each project, rather than trying to squeeze it in alongside everything else.