How My Need for Constant Progress Got Me Stuck

  • Come up with a list of personal to-dos outside of work tasks on my daily planner sheet, based on my monthly personal goals [mapped out on a dry erase board in my room]
  • Get 10K steps on my Fitbit, even if it means pacing quickly around my room at 11:50pm
  • Complete my “brain training” for the day using the Elevate and Peak apps
  • Keep working toward my 30 book goal for the year
  • Spend time with my boyfriend or my friends
  • Plan what activity or conversation my boyfriend and I will do
  • Daily gratitude journal
  • Pick tomorrow’s outfit
  • Sleep???

Are you exhausted yet? I am. No really, I am so tired because that last bullet point often doesn’t happen till 1am, so that I can start the cycle again at 7am the next day.

Turn down for what-I realized this week that I feel stuck. In my desperate attempt to get more productive and happier outside of my job, all those things that should feel awesome start to feel like have-tos. I’ll admit, I am very goal oriented, and slightly addicted to checking off task lists. And I am pretty darn good at doing all these things. So why do I feel stuck?

Maybe it was a recent post on The Student Affairs Collective that sparked this realization, or maybe it’s my lack of sleep. Actually, it’s probably both. As that post clearly states, balance has nothing to do with the “pie pieces” that your life breaks into. Trust me, I am great at not thinking about work once I leave the office. Balance means you have time to decompress. 

There are SO many projects I want to do, ideas I want to follow up on, things I want to experience. My need to constantly make progress has hit an almost-dangerous high after I recovered from mono over a year ago. I overcompensated for my slump by rarely staying still, until being so desperate for leisure time, I choose to do a crossword at midnight instead of going to bed.

Yesterday, after being in tears over some unrelated things, both present and future, I realized I need to unstuck myself. I need to find balance in how I balance my life. I need to find that sweet spot where I am productive for myself, without planning every detail of my life. I need to remember that my “me time” should include “because I want to, right now” activities. 

Maybe it’s okay if I don’t hit 10K steps.

Maybe it’s okay if I skip those games sometimes so they don’t feel like a chore.

Maybe it’s okay if I let my time with my boyfriend happen naturally, and continue to work with him to find the balance between comfort and becoming closer.

Maybe it’s okay if I collapse into bed and pick my outfit in the morning.

Maybe it’s okay if I don’t outline my personal goals in the same way I outline my work goals.

Maybe it’s okay if I don’t build a personal brand on my blog, and I just figure it out as I go.

Maybe it’s okay to just start somewhere, because I want to choose that project, without trying to balance out all the other things I planned that month.

Maybe those to do lists are great when I have a busy off day, not every single day.

The truth is, I am not sure exactly where that balance is. I am not sure how to accomplish goals without getting stuck in my own plans again.

I am only sure that I need some time to just breathe and to choose to do something for the sake of doing it, not because it leads to a greater outcome.


Thanks for reading that. My point to you is that the things you do to live a fulfilling life shouldn’t exhaust you in a bad way. You shouldn’t be so tired from your constantly whirring brain that you lack sleep. You should fall into bed satisfied and happy each night, knowing you did great things and had some fun, and tomorrow is a chance to have another awesome day. 

In the words of rapper Audiopush,

Turn down for what? Turn down cause you tired.


2 thoughts on “How My Need for Constant Progress Got Me Stuck

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