How Much is on Your Plate?

flickr: Overwhelmed Spork

I’ve noticed that sometimes my life seems to resemble a sitcom, in the aspect that a reoccurring theme continues to present itself. You know how on TV shows, each episode tends to have 1 theme, that all of the characters get to deal with in their own particular way? Sometimes in my life, I continue to get the same message from many different unrelated sources. When this happens I always stop to make notice, ok I am supposed to be getting this lesson this week.

This week I have heard the analogy about having too much on my plate in a few different forms. In case you are not familiar with this analogy, there is a concept of how many things you are trying to juggle in your life being compared to how much you are putting on your plate. I had someone tell me recently, if you feel like you have too much on your plate than just get a bigger plate. The whole idea is that it’s all about how you perceive your life. If you feel like you can’t handle everything you need to dothan you will just stress yourself out. If on the other hand, if you look at it from a different angle of how many things you are blessed to get to do, and are more grateful for those things, than you will expand what you are willing to take on. I spent a lot of time thinking about this but I couldn’t ever quite get this to apply to my life. Although, I love the concept behind it.

The thing I know about myself is I am not the type of person that works best under pressure. Some people love to put things off and wait until the stress level is so high that they become so empowered by the pressure to get things done. I am quite the opposite. If I get too many things going at once, or too much pressure I seem to shut down and become so overwhelmed I have to stop and breathe and figure out how to relieve some of the pressure.

Today I am taking my “me time” by watching old Oprah episodes I DVRd and I am watching the episode with Elizabeth Gilbert the author of Eat Pray Love. There was one sentence she said that really landed for me. “I am my best person when I have less on my plate.” Those were the exact words that I needed to hear. I’ve always known that I am the same way, but sometimes I’ve felt that it’s not okay to be that way. But truthfully all that matters is that you know yourself well enough to set your life up in a way that you can be most effective. I am most effective when I keep myself busy but not over committed. If I have too little or too many things to do, my life feels off balanced. Consequently I know how to make my personal and work schedule in a way that I am being the best me that I can be.

Are you more of a less on your plate kind of person or works best under pressure?

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  1. erin says:

    I am definitely someone who prefers to have less on my plate (I definitely live better that way), but I often find myself with an overflowing buffet of things to do. I think I need to find ways to simplify my life and figure out what is really important/what makes me happy.

  2. JEMi says:

    Hmm.. pressure does make me perform
    but I never like the feeling of having too much on my plate
    I like to know whats going on.. feel in control..
    and I cherish Me Time more than anyone will ever know

  3. libby says:

    oooh i’m totally a thrive/go crazy/end up producing some of the best results under pressure. if there is too little to do i totally end up slacking! but i loooove me time once in a while too. hm. i’ll stick with the too much on my plate option though.

  4. Kiraa says:

    I’m a horrible person when I’m stressed. That sentence totally resonates with me.

  5. Miriam says:

    I have to have that feeling of “I’m never going to get this done” so that I can get it done. It sucks but I run on adrenaline.

  6. Tanja says:

    I am like you, less on my plate but definitely not sparse either, and I have to say, I don’t like that I am taking on too much lately(a choice I’ve made) and therefore, I am getting less sleep and having less me time….and I sure do love my me time….hence the reason I live alone!!! haha Ah, I know things will settle down after I don’t have to get ready to be out of town and have a sub in my classroom for three days.:o)

  7. I think i’m both. Can i be both?
    i like being busy, work wise. i like learning new things, brain wise. but if i have too many things on all at once, i go into melt down!

  8. Marriage-101 says:

    I divide my life into two categories – work and everything else. I like being busy with work, but if I have too much on my plate with everything else, I cannot perform. It’s all about balance.

  9. Alexa says:

    I’m really a “more on my plate” kind of girl. But that doesn’t mean I never need time off or that I never find myself overloaded.

    The best thing I’ve learned, and am really still learning, is to say no. Because sometimes we really need that random Tuesday off, or a long weekend, or a Friday night in sweats. :)

  10. Paula Anne says:

    I’ve tried so hard to figure out what I can drop and what is undroppable from my life, but to no avail. These days, I feel like it’s always something coming up that I have to deal with and I get overwhelmed trying to make everything work! I’ve already sacrificed important things I shouldn’t sacrifice (like eating healthy, working out, Me Time) for my responsibilities (2 jobs, student loans, art projects, commuting, commuting, commuting). I know better than to sacrifice sleep. But I still get so tired.

    I’m not addicted to adrenaline, I don’t have a problem saying no. I am a good time manager, but I wish I can take back control of my life. Just trying to figure out how…

  11. JLHsquared says:

    I wish I knew how much to put on my plate before I end up stressed out, pulling my hair out, not knowing how to have fun, and just in a bad mood all of the time. Right now I am married, have a 10 year old, 23 weeks pregnant, work full time (very stressful job in accounting) and I am taking 9 credits for school this semster. I’m overworked and tired. My husband says I need help with my anxiety but I think I just need to drop some of my responsibilities. I’m so tired… I operate good under pressure…but sometimes I dont know when to stop and it gets out of control…like now!

  12. elysa says:

    wow. two words come to mind – commitment and dedication. but I’d have to agree you may want to find a way to give yourself a break.

  13. Bubblegumbrainiac says:

    Work full time (35+ hours a week). School full time (14 credit hours)- Commute time back and forth to campus is 3 hours total. Wedding to plan. Recently born puppy and young cat to take care of. Only person taking care of the home (cooking, cleaning, etc.).