Clean your plate
Did you ever hear these words growing up? I can remember hearing how we were always required to always eat everything on our plates. Other friends have told me the same thing. I’m sure we’ve all heard such statements as, “I paid good money for that, now you’re going to eat it” or “There are starving children in China/Africa (or some other country)” or “Don’t be so wasteful” or “Make sure you finish everything on your plate” or “You’re not getting up from that chair until you’re finished.” All these statements were made to ensure that we always cleaned our plates, even if we weren’t the ones who decided how much to put on our plates in the first place.
As an adult, that attitude can easily linger and even spill over into other areas of one’s life. People tend to still dish out too much and then expect to be able to finish it all… this goes for food as well as other things such as work, chores, etc. Sometimes we dish it out to ourselves, and other times we allow someone else to determine how much take on. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we keep taking on more and more and expecting to finish it all. Often, people can end up feeling like they’re so busy yet just don’t really accomplish anything.
So, it’s time to put that attitude in the past. Here are some thoughts around taking charge of what’s on your list:
- Learn how much to serve yourself – to ensure it’s not too much to consume.
- Practice saying “no” – to ensure others aren’t overfilling your plate.
- Take small bites – whether it’s food or some project, take it in reasonably sized proportions.
- Stop when you’re full – don’t keep eating or taking on new projects when you’re already full.
- Eliminate those items (foods, work, chores) which are just “fillers” occupying space/time and aren’t providing value.
Perhaps it’s time to consider some more useful sayings, such as “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” In a nutshell, the trick may be in learning just how much to serve, how much to bite at one time, and when to stop.
“Clean your plate” can take on a new meaning. Perhaps it’s no longer about getting served too much and having to finish it all. I suggest that it now means you can take charge, only take on what is relevant and valuable, and eliminate anything that is unnecessary or undesirable. If you’re unsure where to start, working with a Priority Mind Management coach can help with prioritization and help get you on the right track.
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