Kill Your Darlings, Darling

in #blogtoberlast year (edited)

It’s easy to feel like being busy automatically equates to accomplishment.

Sure, when you’re in a get things done frame of mind, juggling tasks is addictive as hell. But working at a breakneck pace isn’t usually sustainable. Before long, you’ll be stressed out and overstimulated, slowing your progress and bottlenecking your potential.

Heads up! This post is syndicated from my personal blog, Aspire to Wander. You can view the original here: On Productivity and Overwhelm: Kill Your Darlings, Darling

Cited often by writers in reference to the self-editing process, kill your darlings refers to the unapologetic slicing and dicing of one’s own work. It is immolation. It’s not meant to be self-destructive. Instead, this is meant to be cleansing and strengthening; sort of like clipping away at extraneous branches and leaves to preserve a bonsai’s structural integrity.

And sometimes, these tasks on your everyday list— this busywork— they become your darlings. Then you are trying to do so much, but you end up accomplishing much less than you expect.

TL;DR – You need to cut through the extra BS, and focus on what matters.

You need to break your big, hairy, audacious vision down into clear goals and attainable objectives.

Do you know how this gorgeous living wall began? One plant at a time. This beautiful work of botanical art is from the Summer 2019 exhibit at the NYBG: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx

Break it down

How do you eat an elephant, exactly? (or the world’s biggest radish for my non-meat eaters in the audience?)

One bite at a time.

Don’t think about what you need to do yet— just visualize that outcome.

Take a mental picture of yourself at the proverbial finish line. What does that look like? How does it feel?


  • What thing can you do right now that’ll bring you closer to achieving your objective?
  • What one thing can you do tomorrow that’ll get you even closer?
  • How about next week?
  • And the week after?

The point here is to keep yourself from getting swamped. Taking a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other approach to your task list might feel oh-so-slow-going at first. But progress doesn’t always happen quickly. By being disciplined about taking your time, you’ll be more easily able to identify the unnecessary so that you can cull those tasks right off your to-do list.

There’s so much you can accomplish in a day, but I recommend committing to a single action item. Some days, you’ll finish way more than one thing. Other days, you’ll be comfortable knowing that one thing is all you need to do. Progress will appear to go slowly at first but keep at it. The satisfaction you derive from checking the impactfulthings off your list will drive you forward.

The one question to ask yourself

Got your list of action items? Go through each task and ask yourself the following straightforward question; answer with a yes or no. “Maybe” is not an option.

Does this task solve a problem that currently stands between me and my goal?

If you answered with anything other than an undeniable yes, then you need to examine if it deserves a place on your list.

Lots of tasks look pretty on paper and can make you feel good, but if completing them doesn’t actually advance your quest, you should cut it.

Kill Your Darlings

So go ahead— and kill your darling to-do lists. Quit it with the vanity metrics and the quest for perfection (though that’s a topic for another day).

Cut out the unnecessary, shut down your urge to stuff your schedule, and purge that busywork, because these are just distractions (mind-tchotchkes as I like to call them) that weigh you down.


Here’s a photo of me at the NYBG in front of the aforementioned living wall. 100% unrelated to the content of this post, but marvel at my trademark smirk, if you will. Photo credit: my husband ❤️

Blogtober 2019, Day 2

FYI! At some point in the distant past, I published a very darling version of this post to a now-defunct blog. You can see that super OG version via Wayback Machine here. I’ve revived and refreshed this post, especially for Blogtober. Thanks for reading! If you’re participating in Blogtober 2019 as well, drop your link below, or connect with me on Twitter.

Again, this post is syndicated from my personal blog, Aspire to Wander. Read the original here.

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Great you delighted me @oheyo I think I write my blogtober too make my self challenger for the Month of October.

Awesome to hear! Glad to have another Steemian on board for the challenge :-D

Great to meet you and thank you for the kind visit to our blog.
Your post here talks to me personally for the following reasons.
I have cut it all and stepped away from the hustle and bustle of empowering thousands of poor souls in our charity work.
In fact I had to cut it after two burn-outs.

We have now relocated to another province and have again started to help, but on a much slower scale than before. Still with great results, but on a smaller scale.
There is one thing on my list that has always been there and the reason why I have joined steemit. That item is survival. Not of the self, but of the charity and of course there are stress involved, but it's unavoidable.
18 years now have we struggled against the odds to keep the charity going and even if it takes another 18 years, we will get there, little by little.
But in the meantime we have to do with what we have.

Great read! I wish you success for your Blogtober challenge ^_^

Thanks, @iamraincrystal! Hey, it's not too late to join in if you're interested ;)


Command accepted!

Lovely! Tnx for the beer! ^^ Well, unofficially, I publish at least one post daily. I guess that would qualify, right? ^^


View or trade BEER at steem-engine.

Hey @iamraincrystal, here is a bit BEER for you. Enjoy it!

This post has been resteemed by @original.content.

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