Or, learning the importance of putting first things first
The last year of my life dropped me at a crossroads. This has been a special crossroads—one that launched me to chase my dreams and jump into the unknown.
From an outsider’s perspective, the past year of my life looked comfortable: I was working at a great company, plugging away at my Master’s degree, living in an adorable little studio near downtown Denver and fitting in fun-time with family and friends. But what I was grappling with behind the scenes was less than comfortable.
I have a hard time saying “no.” To that end, I was working far too much. I was taking on extra responsibilities and making commitments I had no business making.
My inability to say “no” gradually turned into falling behind in classes, earning mediocre grades, functioning like a drone at work, failing to deliver good work at my volunteer position, and flaking on plans with friends and family. I began to have minor health issues. My anxiety was unmanageable. Sometimes I was driven by an adrenaline high and other times I was cranky and moody.
So, I quit my job.
You should probably quit your job.
Yes, I quit my stable/good pay/great benefits/excellent coworkers/in-line-with-my-career job. I didn’t have any regular, long-term work to fall back on. My apartment lease ended on the last day I was at my job. I didn’t have another apartment lined up. Why, oh why, would I be so imprudent?
I quit the work that was consuming a rather hefty portion of my time. What I really did in making this decision, though, was reprioritize my life-projects. I realized that graduate school was my passion and my chief priority…and I was de-prioritizing school by saying “yes” to everything else.
So, I think you should quit your job, too. And by “job” I mean whatever commitments that are hedging in your time and keeping you away from what you really want to be doing.
“Blah, blah, blah…” you say?
I know it seems much easier said than done. But think about what you do each day. Is there something—one thing—that could either be relinquished or put on hold?
Could you go to happy hour once instead of three times per week? Could you consolidate your errands into one evening? Could you turn off the intertubes/Facebook/Twitter for one hour? [*clears throat*…I wouldn’t know anything about that…] Even one reshuffling act could allow you more time to work on your bigger goals.
I bit the bullet: I quit my job so I could take on less work; I put dance lessons on hold [oof—that was hard]; I paused my volunteer work. It wasn’t easy to backburner any of these activities. I’ll be able to pick these things back up in the near future–when it’s okay to say “yes” again.
Now, as my momentum increases, I know I did right by putting first things first. I’m pouring myself into graduate school and loving every book, paper, project, and late-night-cramming session that it offers. I’m also working on other priorities that will launch me into my future even while I’m reveling in the present.
I quit so I could start. What can you start, today?