Anyone over a certain age likely remembers some version of the clean-your-plate club. It’s a simple as it sounds:

Eat everything on your plate and then you get to belong to our club. Eat your broccoli, those mashed potatoes, your potato roll, and that gravy-covered meat there, too, even though you’re not even sure what it is.

In other words, you get approval for cleaning your plate, and maybe even a lollipop.

While I do not argue the virtue of eating your vegetables and I certainly don’t want anyone wasting food, I take issue with the psychological implications of feeling like everything on your plate must be consumed before you can do anything else.

Cleaning your plate in a metaphorical sense implies that you must finish your projects – no matter how many you’ve got going, before you can go out and play. In other words, there will be no fun till the work gets done.

Although I always hold the secret hope that the “Clean Your Plate Club” approach to life is dying out like so many outmoded bad ideas, I am repeatedly dismayed when I see it in my younger clients.

I seldom see this approach with food, but I do see it often, however, when it comes to the plethora of projects I see my clients try to juggle day-in-and-day-out. They expect themselves to robotically respond to competing demands and somehow balancing it all perfectly. They expect to Clean Their Plates – to finish everything with the promise of a distant, perfunctory and by then, probably meaningless reward.

If you’re feeling stressed because you have too much to do, consider this question: Are you one of those Clean Your Plate people?

If you suffer from an obligation disorder, let’s consider talking. If you are too busy to enjoy your life, let’s definitely set up an appointment.

Projects can be completed in a non-overwhelming way without too much overthinking. It takes tranquility, strategy, and a willingness to abandon the need for approval. There is no need, at any moment, to clean your plate. You can eat a little bit at a time, eat only a little, or abandon the plate altogether.

If you want to talk more about how to complete your projects without suffering from indigestion, book a free 15 minute consultation with me and we’ll talk about more ways to blast through excuses and get stuff done. Click here and let’s arrange a meeting!

Sift Through the Noise.
Make a Plan.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. How do you let go of the things on your To Do list so you can give yourself some time to enjoy yourself? Post your insights in the comments below. I read every one.