Quote of the day: "I AM MY BEST PERSON WHEN I HAVE LESS ON MY PLATE", by…um, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Somebody sent me this image the other day of my own quote, and the reason I'm posting it is because I'm having one of those weeks when I seem to have utterly forgotten my own good advice.

Thus, I post this quote today as a reminder to me, more than anything.

I woke up this morning with that racing nervous heart, that awful and all-too-familiar sense of having too much to do and not nearly enough hours in the day. A mind swimming with competing obligations (some real; some imagined; some simply ridiculous.)

I don't like it when a day begins with the racing heart. If it STARTS there, my god — where will I be by 4pm?

So I remembered this quote, which some wiser version of myself once said. (WHO WAS THAT PERSON? I marveled. SHE MUST HAVE REALLY HAD IT TOGETHER!) Then I got out of bed, grabbed a piece of paper, drew a line down the middle and made two columns.

One column said, "ON THE PLATE."

The other column said, "OFF THE PLATE."

Then I did an honest accounting of everything that has me worried today, and asked myself truly and soberly, "Does that item really need to be on your plate?"

If it needed to be on the plate, I wrote it down in the ON THE PLATE column.

If it didn't need to be on the plate, it went in the OFF THE PLATE column.

Once I wrote it all down, I could plainly see that about half the items I'm worrying over really this morning actually DO need to be on my plate right now. For instance, I have a book coming out in nineteen days (19 DAYS!) which I've been working on for four years: I really want to show up for it, and for all its obligations. I have family members whom I need to check in with today, and a strained friendship that needs some tender care. And I need to make sure today that I am taking care of my health.

But the other half of stuff that's on my plate? Half the stuff that I woke up stressed about first thing in the morning? HALF OF IT TRULY DOES NOT NEED TO BE THERE. Half the stuff that I woke up obsessing over is just a question of me taking on concerns that are none of my business, or holding anxiety about other people's problems, or worrying over troubles which which cannot be fixed, or which do not need to be addressed today.

Just looking at that piece of paper with its two columns immediately made me feel better. Half as stressed, twice as relaxed. I have cleared my plate JUST ENOUGH that this day has now gone from crazy to manageable.

So you know my question now….what is on your plate today that does not need to be there?


Be good to you.

You are very loved,


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall

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