The Optimization Trap

Blank Canvas • Issue 003

The Optimization Trap

I recently learned (and finally adopted) one of the most freeing mindsets I’ve ever come across: you don’t have to optimize everything.

Discovering the world of self-help has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I was young and eager to create a “great” life for myself, so I jumped in with everything I had. If there was anything to know about sleep, routines, productivity, planning, goals, mindset, health, exercise, etc.. I was there, ready to take notes.

In the age of pocket-sized computers it's almost impossible to stay away from the overabundance of questionably reliant information, and even harder to refrain from the rabbit hole of redesigning your entire existence according to the latest trends of the internet, specially when so much of your identity is still up for grabs.

So I restlessly tried it all and, before I knew it, optimization had become my vice. As much as it was the thing that kept me going, it was the thing that kept me stuck - paralyzed by performance, never satisfied and constantly disappointed.

I couldn’t go about my day in peace. No matter what I did, I was always falling short in some area of my life. “I ate the wrong thing...This isn’t the best for sleep…It would have been better to get my deep work done in the morning…It’s too late to workout now…I shouldn’t do email first thing in the morning…That’s one too many cups of coffee…So, am I supposed to fast or not?”

I had lost sight of why I did anything in the first place. The point of working out wasn’t to feel good or stronger but to have the perfect workout week. Deep work wasn’t a fruitful, immersive practice anymore but a chore I had to adhere to because “that’s what the experts say.”

The optimal diet, the optimal schedule, the optimal workout split, the optimal morning routine, the optimal bedtime routine, the optimal way to spend your leisure time…the optimal life. HOW EXHAUSTING.

It’s draining to spend every second of the day trying to live up to the standard instead of the moment, trying to check every little box you so eagerly piled on to the list, molding instead of embracing yourself.

I don’t think we were meant to live like that, to “know” this much.

Anyways, one random morning, at the edge of burnout, I woke up with a crystal clear conviction: I quit. I’m done trying to be perfect at every little aspect of life.

The New Normal

You don’t have be the hero of your story. God is the hero and you get to just live and delight. You don’t have to optimize everything.

Instead, dedicate your energy to the things that truly matter to you in this season of your life. Let the rest go. It’s okay for something to be just okay, just at maintenance. It’s okay to let go of something that doesn’t really serve you. More than okay, it’s necessary. Because, in the end, having the optimal whatever doesn’t guarantee the optimal life. I’d much rather have a life well lived, full of ebbs and flows and tons of different seasons than a monotonous routine that looks good on paper but robs you of your joy and peace. Don’t be so busy optimizing your life that you miss out on the beautiful spontaneity of it.

Remember, it’s never too late to change your life. Any week, any day, any minute is a blank canvas. Let’s paint your next masterpiece.



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Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed this week's newsletter! As always, happy to hear your thoughts on the topic - all you gotta do is reply! ☺

Until next time,

Andrea ♡

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Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas is the Sunday newsletter in which I share my thoughts on whatever I am learning about at the moment - from productivity and self development to the meaning of life. Always followed, of course, by actionable advice and my favorite tools to make your life easier.

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