Quotable Mondays: You Can’t Do Everything

Today’s quote is: 

“You can do anything, but not everything.” -David Allen

This idea has been on my mind a lot lately. I think it is because I have a fourth child and anytime you add a child to your life, you add another responsibility that takes up a lot of time. Any time you add a responsibility that takes up a lot of time, you have to find that time from somewhere. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time I spent idle, so that time has to come from something I was doing that I wanted to be doing and felt I needed to be doing.

Where do you take it? What has to give? Do you drop something all together or do you give a little less to multiple things and hope they all work out?

I don’t have the answers. I have the basics–the “whys”–and that is an important place to start. Here are some posts I have written on the whys of this dilemma:

I think an important first step is accepting that you cannot do everything. And that is so hard! The problem is, like this quote says, you can do anything. You can! Anything you want to do, you can do it. And because of that, you can want to do everything! You can want to be an excellent cook, impressive cleaner, fun mom, wise mom, gardener extraordinaire, fitness guru, on-time scrapbooker, splendid seamstress, PTA president, queen of service, and one of those people who actually does 1% of what she pins on Pinterest…But you can’t do everything. You can’t do it all. You just don’t have time for it. 

And so you have to figure out what the best things are for you to be doing and start there. You can add in other things if there is time after the best and most important things (but of course it seems like there isn’t!). And so I love this quote. 

You can do anything.

But you can’t do everything.

So pick what your anythings are and sit back and enjoy those who choose the other anythings to focus on. 

And as a side note, this quote also applies nicely to the activities our children participate in. We all have talented children who have a whole future ahead of them. They have the ability to do anything! They have so many options and opportunities! But they can’t do everything, either. 

8 thoughts on “Quotable Mondays: You Can’t Do Everything”

  1. This is a great quote and your advice is perfect! Something we all need to be reminded of, especially the part about appreciating the talents and accomplishments of others without feeling guilt or jealousy.

  2. Such an insightful quote. I really need to bear this one in mind! I wonder if it's more a woman thing to want to do everything because we multitask so often that we feel like we ought to be able to do everything. I guess the other aspect to think about is how to allow others to do some of the anythings for us that we think we can do so well but don't let go of easily (perhaps I'm talking to myself only here). Thanks for this meaningful post! 🙂

  3. I struggle with this all the time. I can't cook healthy homemade meals for my family AND exercise on a schedule AND volunteer in the classroom AND sew AND keep a clean house AND keep on top of all the daily household stuff. It's so hard to admit that.

  4. LeighSabey, so true. I think it is a great ability to be able to just look at the accomplishments of others and just be happy for them.

  5. thisislemonade I think you are right–I think it is more of a woman issue. I also have a hard time of letting go of things I do. For example, I typically make our bread. Yesterday, my husband went to the store and bought bread. It kills me because it is the expensive stuff because we are bread snobs and I can make better bread way cheaper. But he told me I needed a little less to do this week 🙂 It is good to have people watching out for us 🙂

  6. Angelle I agree–very hard to admit the things you can't do! First to yourself. It seems like no one else really cares 🙂

  7. this reminds me of this passage from Luke in the Bible: "Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  8. Very true Renee! And it is interesting that Martha wasn't doing anything bad. She just wasn't doing what was best at that moment.


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