It’s quitting time

It's quitting time


“Quitters never win and winners never quit.”

This romanticized idea, combined with a zealous dedication to keep my word and people pleasing tendencies, make it very hard for me to quit.

Winners quit all the time. Freakonomics Radio, the show that explores the hidden side of everything, recently did a show called “The Upside of Quitting,” which said as much.

The episode explored why it’s hard for us to call it quits, even when we should, and refreshed me on an economic principle that applies to our lives everyday: opportunity cost. Every dollar and hour we spend doing one thing cannot be spent elsewhere.

While we understand that our time and resources are finite, it often doesn’t stop us from saying yes to everything.

Fear of letting people down, fear of missing out, and fear of conflict keep us overbooked and overcommitted.

Here’s the thing: I don’t have time to live a life I’m not called to just to meet someone else’s expectations. 

There is no shortage of wonderful, worthwhile ways to fill our time, but opportunity cost dictates that we choose wisely. Otherwise, life will decide for us. We wake up with a To Do list a mile long, full of obligations and wonder how we got so busy.

When I am tempted to feel burdened by my calendar, I try to remind myself: you chose everything on here. If you aren’t happy with how it looks, choose differently next time.

A couple years ago, we had a refreshing chance to hit the reset button when we moved. I remember thinking during my first week here about how no one knew me in Charleston.

No one expected me to be anywhere or do anything: no employer, no friends, no church, just Mike and I. It wasn’t a place I wanted to stay, but it was freeing to realize that my days were wide open, and whatever I filled them with would be mine to choose.

It’s true for all of us, even when we’re overcommitted and people are counting on us. We’re still choosing every day to fulfill our obligations and to take on new ones.

The stakes are higher, but the choices are ours to make nonetheless. Just knowing that can be freeing.

That thing that’s draining your energy? It’s okay to quit. Maybe it’s a book you are slogging through, or an exhausting friendship. It could be a failing business, a networking group, a gym membership, or an unreasonable client.

Maybe it’s a good thing that needs to be set aside to make room for something better.

Whatever that thing is, lay it down, because you can’t do it all.

What have you quit or do you need to quit?

This post is part of a 31 day series on “doing less to build more.” To read other posts from this series, click here.

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6 thoughts on “It’s quitting time

  1. Years ago, I developed a prayer asking God to help me know the difference between what I needed to do that day versus what could be put aside for another day. And you know what I’ve discovered in praying this over the years? There’s much that can wait. And you’re right, it is okay to quit if I’m staying in something for the sake of others’ expectations. I’m still trying to be okay with that. As imperfect as it may be, I am making progress in this area. Thanks for this today.

  2. This is such an important message. I quit several of my commitments when I was getting ready to start maternity leave with my first child (who is now 3) and I’ve never picked back up several of them. They were all good things to do — civic organizations, volunteering, etc — but for this season of my life it’s just not the best use of my extremely limited free time. Sometimes I strain against that notion, because being involved with volunteering, church stuff, civic orgs, etc is something that is a value of mine, but I just have to keep reminding myself that I have a lot of years to do all those things, and my kids won’t be little forever.

  3. Just this fall I made the decision to not do tax preparation in January. I’ve been doing it for 4 years as a part-time job. However, it’s a lot of hours and takes away from time spent in community with family and friends and even just time to relax. Ultimately- doing taxes is not part of my future plan to own a coffee shop and do volunteer/non-profit work. I think focusing on what your long-term goals are and whether or not individual activities fit, is really important. Also, you need room for spontaneity! :)

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