On Not Doing It All

How are you doing this week? Like some of you, I’m trying to find the best balance in-between action and self-care. We’re in a new era, and there’s a lot coming at us. I go in-between feeling overwhelmed and feeling totally pumped to just get stuff done. My friend Mikki, shared a few habit shifting tips that I’m following already. I thought they may help you too…

Listen to me. You can’t do it all. You can’t. You will burn out and you will not be effective in the long run. Think about whether you are performing, or actually doing work that will make a difference.

Here is how I would suggest you take a step back and think about how you are going to be a change maker now and in the years to come.

Think about all of the things swirling around you, all the opportunities you have to do things and act on your values and choose these three things:
One thing to be a leader on. It helps you make decisions and conserve energy as things come up. It doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t do other things, but these are your three things.

Here is a little more detail.

One thing to be a leader on. This is something where you take charge of or are part of the leadership group for. Maybe it’s a movement to make your city a sanctuary city, or to sustain an abortion fund in an anti-choice state, or to support a local shelter, or to get someone you believe in elected to attorney general or some other office. Maybe you want to lead your local chapter of Emily’s List or something.

One thing to be a follower on. This is a group or a cause that you join, and participate in actively, but let others take the lead on. This may be a preexisting group, like a BLM group, or a group working to support DAPL, or something a friend is doing. It could be joining an Indivisible group that you like and going along with what they plan. This takes a little less topline energy from you, but you are still working to make something happen. You participate, you contribute ideas, you do outreach, but you have less responsibility that you would if you were a leader. You help with the fundraiser but you aren’t in charge of it.

One thing to make a habit of. This is something you just do, every week or every day or every month, whether it’s being a clinic escort twice a month, or donating to a certain cause every month, or working at a soup kitchen every week, doing cop watch twice a week, or making the daily phone call scripts that we all get. Maybe, to start with, it’s the Women’s March 10 Actions/100 Days InitiativeIt’s something you are committed to, and you do, but you are bearing the fruits of someone else making an opportunity for you to participate with some ease.

Thanks for the tips, Mikki! Any tips you’d like to share?

Image via Carissa Gallo

7 thoughts on “On Not Doing It All

  • Reply Kathleen January 26, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I've found that I need to take one day a week off from news and social media. I tried it this week on Wednesday and found that if I turned off NPR, didn't check NYT, WP, and the other news outlets that I normally devour every morning, and stayed far, far away from Facebook and Twitter, I was much more prepared to face it all again today and start taking action. Just one day a week of unplugging from the insanity makes me better able to address it the other 6 days.

  • Reply Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts January 27, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I think one thing to add to not being able to do it all that in life, movments or changes you have to have a scense of being and being all over the place is what you are doing.You are not being very involved beause you are not putting enough time in one thing to give it your full attention. Slow down and plan. You will feel better. Doesnt mean that you do not support or have the drive for other things but you cant do it all.

  • Reply Sheriden | The Indie Byline January 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Like another commentor said above, unplugging has done wonders for me when it comes to maintaining my sanity. I often wonder what I can do as far as action and using my voice and efforts to make a stand, and this presented some really great ideas. Thank you for sharing this.


  • Reply brooke January 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    This is amazing and necessary — thank you! I'm looking for ways to balance activism, parenthood and creative work. I have the work I do for cash — and I have my son, who is 6 — and then, only so much time left in the day. I want to balance activism (protests, making calls and writing letters, etc) with inner work so that my actions come from a place of peace and power. It's a lot. I'll try unplugging once a week. I'm also going to make sure to find some quiet time during the day. "Slow down and plan" is a good one too.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Hey Kathleen, I love that. I've recently adopted your routine and it totally helps. Thank you!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm


  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    You're welcome, I'm so happy you found it helpful.

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