I’m sure that most people are busy.
Everyone seems to be these days.
You have kids you have to get off to school.
You might have a job that requires you to commute and you have to spend hours in traffic.
You may have laundry piled up to the sky, and dishes overflowing the sinks.
You may been bombarded with homework from evil teachers that have no idea how they are crimping your social life.
You may be running back and forth, day in and day out for longer than you can remember.
There seems to be no stopping it either. Once you are busy, you keep being busy. There are always things that need to be done.
The lawn has to be cut before the fall frost, and the leaves need to be raked and bagged as well.
Some people are already making lists for Christmas presents long before there is even snow on the ground.
The do to list just keeps growing and growing.
And no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get ahead.
That’s where I found and continue to find myself.
I work a full time job.
I’m co-pastoring a church.
I’m co-leading a youth group with my wife.
I’m part of the worship team at church.
I’m part of the leadership/prayer group.
And I want to be writing and reading a whole lot more than I am now.
All these things, and then silly things like eating and sleeping, take up my time and my energy.
I find myself exhausted and not sleeping well all the time.
Then my wife reminded me of two things I had learned years before, things that I needed to relearn.
1. Sometimes 80% effort equals 100% success.
I understand that 80 does not equal 100.
I was bad at math in school, but i wasn’t that bad.
The principle behind 80 equals 100 is simple.
As much as we may like to give everything we have to all the things that are demanding our time, the truth is we can’t.
You can’t do everything.
It is impossible for the human body to be stretched out so much, to be doing all the times that our calenders demand.
It is impossible for you to keep your sanity and your health while trying to be a supermom or superdad, when you aren’t supermom or superdad.
Giving 100% to a bunch of different things is going to wear you down.
Down to the point that there is nothing left and you are a puddle of skin, exhausted beyond all belief.
Sometimes, we have to be okay with just doing a good job instead of a fabulous job.
Sometimes, we need to be alright with giving something an honest try rather than flinging our whole body, heart and soul at it.
Sometimes our 80% effort is exactly what needs to be given.
And it may surprise you how 80% effort still does a good job.
When I was in school, 80% was an A.
That is still a great mark.
I know it isn’t an A+, but A is nothing to be upset about.
Especially when you have more than one subject you are working on.
Especially when you have a million other things demanding your time.
Like every grown up does.
We need to learn to be okay with some A’s, and not all A+’s.
We need to learn that 80% effort is still a solid try.
2. Perfection can be a Four Letter Word
The idea of “do your best, that’s all we are asking” from childhood seems to get lost in the mind of an adult. It is traded out for “we demand perfection in all areas of life, so don’t screw it up.”
It is this notion of needed perfection that ends up destroying us.
The thought, “I have to have this done just right” drives us to madness, coffee addictions and frantic behavior that is fit for the loony bin.
The truth is, we will never be perfect. And not everything we do will be perfect.
That is just a fact of human existence.
We screw up. We don’t do things right. We fail. We get A’s when we wanted an A+.
Driving ourselves to drinking over not getting something right is not a healthy attitude to have. Whether you are wanting to perfect a craft, have a perfect credit rating or the hundreds of other things we want just right, being upset about not being perfect doesn’t make things better.
It makes things worse.
What we need to learn is that perfect, while it is the ideal we strive for, it cannot always be obtained.
Again, that doesn’t mean we don’t try to do our best, but we have to be able to accept that sometimes 100% is not within our grasp.
And that isn’t a bad thing.
These may sound like simple things. These two lessons may sound like ridiculous ideas that a child could figure out.
But I learned a while ago that the simple truths are often forgotten quickly.
They need to be brought to the surface more often so that we remember.
So we don’t run ourselves ragged with all the things that are going on in our lives.
So we don’t wear ourselves out trying to get everything done on the to do list.
So we don’t collapse from trying to give 100% to every little task.
So we don’t crush ourselves under the weight of perfection.
So share this, share it with someone that is stressing out, that is overloaded. Share this with someone that needs to be okay with an A.
After you’ve shared this with someone, let me know what you think.
What else do we need to learn or relearn when it comes to working too hard or working on too much?
Let me know in the comments.