Finding a way to do it all

When you’re ambitious with stacks of things you want to achieve, it’s common to try and do everything all at once. To set big goals for multiple areas of your life at the same time, then get frustrated with yourself when you can’t nail down any of them.

This usually leads to that well-known feeling of ‘not enough time’. You blame your lack of time for not being able to achieve your goals. You believe that if you just had more time, you’d be able to achieve them.

Here’s the thing.

You can do everything that you want to do, in the time you have.

The catch?

You just can’t do it all at the same time!

I’m guessing you’ve heard this before. You may have also resisted the idea. Some of my clients have done the same. They’re concerned that if they’re not actively focusing on all areas of their life at once, what they are not focussing on will suffer.

It definitely does not have to be that way!

Here’s my secret for doing it all, in the time I have.

Treat each key area of your life as a garden with four seasons.

To continually grow and achieve my goals personally and professionally – without running myself into the ground or beating myself up – I treat each key area of my life as a garden that can be in one of four seasons:

  • Development: This season is like landscaping a garden. A lot of time, energy, and effort is spent setting up the foundations – making garden beds, planting trees, sowing seeds.
  • Maintenance: This season is the regular garden maintenance – watering, weeding, mowing. Enough time and energy is being spent in this life area to keep it ticking over at an acceptable level.
  • Hibernation: This season is like giving a veggie garden a break between crops. There is currently nothing in this life area to maintain and it’s not yet ready for development.
  • Neglect: We’ve all seen gardens like this, with plants being strangled by weeds and knee-high grass. Very little or no time is being spent in this life area, and the consequences are being felt.

Just like our planet can’t stay in one season forever, neither can the areas of our life. As hard as we try, we can’t have all areas of our life in development at the same time!

Instead, we can intentionally choose to develop just one or two areas of our life for one season. Once we’ve nailed our goals in those areas, their season changes to maintenance and we move on to the next area.

Here are some tips and examples to help you use this approach to start making progress on all those things you want to achieve.

  • Identify: Figure out what the key areas of your life are. These will be different for everyone. If you need some inspiration, a simple Google search for ‘life areas’ will provide plenty. Pick the ones that resonate with you most.
  • Clarify: Get clear on what ‘development’ and ‘maintenance’ looks like for each life area. What would it mean to be actively developing an area of your life, versus maintaining it?
    Here’s an example from my own life. In 2020 my health and fitness life area was in the development stage. I ramped up my workouts and tried out new activities. As a result my fitness improved, so in 2021 my fitness moved into the maintenance phase. I was no longer actively growing or focussing on it, but I was still doing what was needed to maintain a fitness level I was happy with.
  • Assess: Work out what season each area is currently in. Are you spending a lot of time and energy growing the area (development), just doing enough to keep it ticking over (maintenance), intentionally taking a break from the area (hibernation) or letting it fall into ruin and feeling the consequences (neglect)?
  • Choose: Be intentional about choosing the current season for each life area. Once you’re clear on the current seasonal state of each of your life areas, you can begin making intentional choices about where you want to focus your attention. Pick the areas you want to develop, then get to work on pursuing the to-dos, goals and dreams in that area.
  • Time management: Allocate time for maintenance FIRST to avoid life areas falling into neglect. Don’t make the mistake of going after your big goals in one area at the expense of maintaining others. When you’re clear on what maintaining each life area involves, you can allocate time for this FIRST, then allocate time for development. Back to my fitness example. I have all my workouts allocated in my calendar as non-negotiables maintenance activities. You might do the same with family time, volunteering, date night etc.
  • Discernment: If you’ve got nothing to maintain in a particular life area, and you’re not yet ready to develop it, it’s completely OK to leave it in hibernation. This is very different from neglect! Examples here include a happily single person putting ‘relationship’ into hibernation. Or a new parent putting ‘career’ into hibernation.

Remember, you can do everything that you want to do. You just can’t do it all at the same time! Give my Four Seasons approach a go and start making progress on your goals without short changing yourself or others.


Samantha Garrett’s workscape technically began in 2000, however her ‘grown up’ workscape is 16 years young. She sees life and work as one big learning adventure – one which she approaches with energy, enthusiasm and joy.

Samantha gives her time and energy to delivering technology training for Using Technology Better and to helping professionals with frantic minds and overflowing inboxes clear their mental and digital clutter via her business Cluttered To Clear.


(Amended) Photo by zero take on Unsplash