Just because you can - blog Marloes De Vries

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

The other day, someone on Instagram asked where that quote above my computer comes from.
It says ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should’. I don’t remember where I heard the quote first, but it stuck with me. To remind me that I can’t always do everything, I wrote it down and hung it on the wall where I can see it.

Nowadays, life seems limitless. We can do almost anything we want, when we want it. Opportunities are endless, the sky is the limit.
That can also mean you get overwhelmed by all the choices you have. It might even stress you out.

For me, it was always exciting to see all the possibilities: I would not just do graphic design, I would take on photography too. I was spreading my chances by taking on multiple  jobs so I would generate a proper income. But it was stressing me out. I was heading towards a burn-out.
I asked myself: ‘what do I really want to do?’ It was scary to pick just one thing, but you can’t do it all.
Sometimes I still fall into old habits. I see something online and think ‘I can do that too!’. When I really shouldn’t, because I already have plenty to do.

Personal opportunities

Not only with your career you can take on too much. Your personal life can also be affected by the possibilities you have. You can find the ‘perfect’ partner through online dating, we can make the perfect dish because the recipes are online, we should have a breathtaking interior because you can order the furniture through websites… The list is endless.
As long as you’re happy with what you have, it’s fine. But when you come to the point that you are exhausted, maybe it’s time to make choices.

Spreading yourself thin

There is nothing wrong with doing a lot of things at the same time, but you have to be careful you’re not spreading yourself too thin. Taking on multiple things will mean you’ll have less time per task to spend on it. For example: you can bake 15 cookies within an hour that are kind of messy and undercooked, or you can bake just 5 which are perfect. Do you really need 15 cookies, or will 5 do?
The more serious consequence is feeling stressed and tired, and maybe even heading towards a burnout.

Post-it’s will do the trick

So what do you do when you have too much on your plate?
It really helped me to look inside myself and pick a few things that made me happy. I did the following:

  • I grabbed a post-it pad and wrote all the things that I currently do and would like to do on it, using a green coloured post-it’s for career-things and a yellow coloured ones for personal things.
  • Then I put all the post-it’s on the wall and took a good look at it.
  • Deciding which things are most important to me, I set myself the task to just leave 3 post-it’s for my career and 3 post-it’s for my personal life on the wall.
  • The rest of the post-it’s I stored away out of sight.

This brought me to the core of what I really wanted to do. If I complete a task/post-it, I am allowed to add a new one. This way, I am much more focused. I’m giving three tasks my absolute devotion instead of spreading it thin over ten or more tasks.

Free download

If you want to have the reminder on your wall too, download the PDF with the text and print it out.

The size is A5, which is half of a regular A4 sized paper. Best way is to cut an A4 paper in half, and set your printer to printing on A5 size.

Please note that this PDF is only for personal use. It’s not allowed to reproduce or sell.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should - Marloes De Vries

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