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the secret to doing it all

Times are weird. Some of us have more time than they used to. Others are busier than ever. And no matter where you land in that spectrum, you may be feeling like you you're not sure what you should be doing. Or even what you can do. Someone reminded me of the embroidery pattern in this post, and it felt appropriate for me to do a quick update here and help folks find it again. So enjoy this post and free embroidery pattern from 2014. Do what you can do.

Waiting to be stitched

The Internet is full of examples of people who appear to be "doing it all," and perhaps they are. You may have even looked at me and asked, "how do you do so much?" Well, today I'm here to share the secret.

Every day there are dozens, hundreds, even thousands of things that call for your attention. Do you tackle all of them? Probably not. Spam filters and caller ID are examples of how we choose to weed out some of the things that we don't need to handle. Once those things are filtered out, we're left with the bigger stuff, and this is where it gets tricky.

In the latest Uppercase magazine newsletter, editor Janine writes about how she does so much: "My day is always a juggle of what is imperative and what I want to be doing, with the must-do always winning out." If you have a job outside the home, that's a must-do. If you're a stay-at-home mom, feeding little ones throughout the day is a must-do. If you freelance craft (like me), meeting deadlines is a must-do.

Everything else falls under things that would be good to do, or that you simply want to do. These are extras.

Squeezing in extras whenever you can is how they happen. Yes, you can try to schedule things with the best organizational strategies, and that may work for some, but Janine from Uppercase has this insight: "What I have learned, though, is that time cannot be controlled. It is basically unmanageable." Another way to say this is "life happens."

And so here's the big secret to doing it all: don't.

Rather, I offer this alternative...



Say yes to fewer things. So no to more things. Choose what's really important for your life...for your soul. Do what you can do, and don't feel bad that you're not doing it all.

I spend a ton of time making things, and I can do that because there's a lot that I don't do. I don't go out with friends often (maybe one Saturday morning a month...if that!). Crafting is now my primary job, but it doesn't pay a huge amount. I don't live in my own apartment, because I choose this work (and time with my family) over that independence. I'm also single, so I have less family responsibilities. I also don't release nearly as many patterns and projects as I would like to.

But it's a lesson I'm still working on. I'd like to think that this post is progress. You see, I had hoped to embroider the design above. I have a hoop with fabric and floss all picked out. I'd like this hanging on my wall as a reminder to do what I can do.

I opted to share my thoughts and not worry about the stitching just yet.

This might not have been the big secret you were looking for, but I hope it gives some hope. It's okay to let some things go. Doing everything, or even just doing more, may not be what you need. You may just need some grace in your days. Do what you can do.

28 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Well said!

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  2. This is great!!!! I love it! Thanks!

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  3. beautifully said. thank you!

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  4. This great blog post couldn't have come at a better timing. I've been feeling so very overwhelmed lately, with so many tasks on the to-do list and it just seems to get longer and longer. This post makes me want to look at said list again and see it with different eyes. Extras. No more, no less. :) Thank you, Mollie!!!

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  5. This is such a timely post for me. I have a full time job, and all I can think of some days are the projects I would rather be doing, the blog posts I could be writing, etc. When I get home, I just try to do my best to finish all the things I feel passionate about. I just wish I could put those things first, but I'm not brave enough for freelancing. :( i wish I had your courage!

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  6. Great post. I always feel like an underachiever when I read blogs and it seems the person gets so much accomplished in a day.

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  7. Excellent post! I have printed your design out to stitch up and keep in my sewing space ... though I think one in each room would be a good idea! I've been reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown, about doing less too, so this is another timely reminder. Have a lovely weekend. Cat

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  8. Great post and design.
    Thank you.

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  9. antigone2:35 AM

    how encouraging for all of us who struggle with daily chores and routines while trying to fit in room for our crafting needs. Thank you Mollie.....lots of love from Greece

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  10. Beautifully written, so enjoyed reading the post, sometimes we just need reminding of these points.

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  11. Such a great post! This is a lesson I'm working on myself right now. Your work and your words mean a lot. I hope you know that.

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  12. thank you for sharing these thoughts - be blessed

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  13. I was just sitting here debating whether to take a nap, mow the yard or do some sewing. Still can't decide but I sure appreciate the words you put here. Great advice!

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  14. Just what I needed to hear! Thank you.

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  15. Well done, Mollie! Wise, wise, words - thank you for sharing them with all of us :-)

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  16. Great post! I totally agree and it's nice to have such a well written reminder. I love the way you worked those quotes into your theme. Good luck with your stitching!

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  17. I like this post very much! Thank you!

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  18. I like this. Thank you.

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  19. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Ótimo post! Também preciso seguir seu conselho "faça o que pode fazer". Beijos

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  20. Wonderful post. More and more I am coming around to the same mindset. My time is finite, especially as someone with health difficulties, and I have a real tendency to work, work, work and never take any sort of time out (it makes me feel terribly guilty to do so). Lately, though, I have decided that my family has to come first, so if there is something I need to do around the house or the garden or there are veggies screaming to be put up on the counter, then that is what I need to do, and something else has to go! The guilt is really the hardest thing to deal with, but...well, I do feel a bit better having decided that family is first and everything after that is gravy (or icing...I suppose it depends upon what one is in the mood for!).

    Thanks again. :)

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  21. Thank you great reminder that we are NOT super heroes with never ending energy.

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  22. Yeah, I'm with you on that. People fool themselves too much about how busy busy busy they are. Really? Come on. You have down time from the job, a forced vacation, so to speak. Self isolating here in the States.
    Frankly, I am loving the slow pace, time to think, time to cook, time to reflect on how I have lived life. How nice it is to not have to run out the door being crazy! How nice it is to have less stress, and to sleep well! I am making the best of being home. Change can be a good thing.

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  23. I really needed this right now. Thanks so much! I keep reading about all the things people are doing with their downtime: sewing dozens of masks, baking, reading, projects. I have less time now trying to school 3 children and taking care of 9 people in my household. I homeschooled my older kids for 20 years until my health went completely south. I have one 14 yr old left plus helping raise my 2 grandkids because my son and DIL have Aspergers and need help + 2 more adult sons with Aspergers who live with us. my Hubby is still working full time driving public bus and my married son is working overtime making frozen dinners at Stouffers. This was the 1st week I didn't work. My music students are on hold so less money. Trying to have things ready for Easter tomorrow. Coloring eggs with the kiddos. No time for any of the handmade projects I wanted to do. Not everyone gets a "forced vacation'. I am so thankful for Tender Mercies from god like your lovely post.

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    Replies
    1. You are doing SO MUCH. And taking care of your family is so valuable right now and always. Pausing to pray for you that you will have continued endurance!

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