On never feeling accomplished. It's hard to feel like you've accomplished anything if there are still so many things left undone. No matter how many things you have done.

On never feeling accomplished.

I took the last week off of work. My office was already going to be closed for two and a half days for the Thanksgiving holiday so, really, I was just taking 2.5 more. I have about a bazillion unused vacation days so I’m on that year-end scramble to use it or lose it that’s also buying me an extra week off in December.

I had no plans for my week off other than to snuggle with my cats and to get shit done. Because, really, that’s my plan for every moment of free time I have: snuggle with my cats and get shit done.

Because my cats are adorable. And because I always have a lot of shit to get done.

I’ve written before about my to do list. My impossibly long, never ending, massive to-do list. There are the five or so blogs that I write and maintain, the freelance work to tackle, the apartment to clean, the laundry to do, the cats to feed, etc. etc. I just always have so many things to do. And so many more things that I want to do whenever I get more time.

And when you have so many things to do and so many more that you want to do, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

Earlier this year, I decided to cut back, a little, and to focus. I decided to concentrate, for now, on my two main blogs. This one and my roadside attractions blog. I put aside all of the other projects that were swimming in my mind and dividing my attention and refused to let myself launch anything new until I felt caught up on the side projects I already had in my queue. Things like optimizing SEO, adding Pinterest-ready images, updating featured images. Etc. Etc.

I broke down all of my big projects into manageable chunks that I’ve been chipping away at in bite-sized pieces each week.

And it’s been working well for me. I’ve been making progress. I’ve been getting closer and closer to actually completing some of those things I’ve been meaning to finish for a while.

I figured that having that extra week off would be the perfect opportunity to take some bigger bites. To try to get closer to actually finishing some of these projects.

And, so, I sat down and made a list of everything I want to accomplish by the end of the year. It ended up being 38 items long.

Most of those things were the bigger projects I’d already been working on. Plus there were a few other smaller things like my annual deep clean, ordering Christmas cards, getting a haircut.

For nearly all of my nine days off, I worked nonstop. I woke up early, opened my laptop, and didn’t close it again until I fell asleep that night. I worked, constantly, through my entire vacation.

At the end of the week, I felt like I’d gotten nothing done.

I knocked nine complete things off my to do list. Nine. And made big strides on quite a few more, making it possible to actually finish some of my big picture projects by the end of the year. And I finished a couple of those small things that had been nagging at me for a while. And I finished some random chores. And I completely finished one of the big projects I’d been working on all year.

And yet, I didn’t feel accomplished. Not in the least. Because there were still twenty-nine other things left incomplete on my list. Twenty nine things that I didn’t yet finish.

It’s hard to feel like you’ve accomplished anything if there are still so many things left undone. No matter how many things you have done.

And that’s my life, in a nutshell. Where I constantly feel like I’m getting nothing done even though I’m constantly working. Where I constantly feel like I’m not successful because I’m not where I want to be.

Where I’m never feeling accomplished.

And when you’re never feeling like you’re accomplishing anything, it’s hard to want to do anything else that’s not on your to do list. It’s hard to want to take time out to go to dinner with friends, or go to the grocery store, or see a movie, or take a real vacation, or go to the gym, or even shower. Because all of those things take time away from what you should be working on.

Even if, at the end of the day, nothing you should be working on really, in actuality, needs to be worked on.


Rooney is never feeling accomplished either but that is because he is a cat and doesn't actually know how to use the computer.

Rooney is never feeling accomplished either but that is because he is a cat and doesn’t actually know how to use the computer.


I have to step back, sometimes, and remind myself of all the things I actually did accomplish. Like all of these things that I did over my Thanksgiving break.

  • I wrote my annual gift guide.
  • I made an Autumn bucket list page and a landing page for all my bucket list idea pages.
  • I wrote most of this post.
  • I cleaned my apartment.
  • I did all my laundry. Twice.
  • I completely finished adding map coordinates and hotel affiliate links to every single post on Silly America (crossing off a major project I’ve been working on all year).
  • I wrote a post for Silly America.
  • I SEO optimized 12 old blog posts.
  • I designed and added Pinterest images to 100 posts.
  • I created and wrote all the December social media for a freelance client.
  • I watched La La Land. Twice. And a bunch of other things on Netflix and Hulu and Amazon.
  • I went to four different coffee shops.
  • I made a meme for my cats.
  • I had lunch at a restaurant I’d been meaning try.
  • I went to a Friendsgiving party.
  • I went to Thanksgiving dinner and ate five plates of food at the buffet.
  • I bought an Instagram growth class on Black Friday, set up my account, and watched the introductory video.
  • I ordered and picked up Christmas cards and started compiling addresses to send them to.
  • I re-hung a frame that had fallen down over the summer.
  • I pet my cats. A lot.

I did all of those things over my nine day break. All of them. And yet, I still feel like I got nothing done. I still feel like I accomplished nothing.

I keep telling myself that when everything on my to-do list is done, I will feel accomplished. I will feel free. I will stop feeling guilty if I spend a day in bed watching Netflix. I will stop feeling anxious if I go out to a bar with friends.

But will I? Will I really? Or will I just make up more projects, more to-do list items to take up my time? Will I still just feel like there are a million more things to do?

Will I ever feel accomplished? Or will I never feel accomplished?

I guess I don’t know.

But I do have another 18 days off in a row in December, so we’ll see what I can accomplish then.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Elizabeth
    November 26, 2018at5:59 pm

    Umm… you accomplished a lot of stuff. Sorry.

  • Ali
    November 27, 2018at1:49 pm

    First of all, that is a TON of stuff you accomplished! I can’t even imagine doing that much blog work in 9 days. I mean, blogging is my full time job & I don’t do that much in 9 days! (Maybe I should, but I don’t.)

    But second, I totally get it. I totally understand that feeling of having a million things to do & not feeling good about the dozen things you did finish. Probably something we should work on, because it’s really awesome to cross things off the to do list, but the to do list will always be there.

    You’re doing plenty!

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