It’s only Tuesday and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend most of my working hours this week on paid projects. That’s truly gratifying.

My clients know–or should know–that I give every project my complete attention. Their projects receive my dedicated focus while I’m working on them so they can be assured that they receive my best effort. That brings me to something that has puzzled me for years and which I saw again in a blog I read yesterday. The blogger mentioned that he gave 110 percent of himself to his job.

That bewilders me. Oh, I understand the implication that this person and others like him give their all, but 110 percent? Once you give all of yourself (100%), where does the other 10 percent come from? Whose energy, focus, skill, and dedication are you stealing?

I joke that my favorite horse, a tough old mare who’s turning 32 next month, is living on borrowed time and that she’s borrowing it from me. (Horses generally live 20 to 25 years.) That quip feels particularly apropros when I’m feeling especially tired and lethargic. 

Back to the subject: If you’re giving everything you have to a task, who could ask for more? You certainly can’t give more than all of yourself. To do so is called slavery. Or indentured servitude. Or teamwork. Some days I’m not entirely sure of the distinction.

Then, think on it, do you really want to give all of yourself to any project in particular? If you give everything you have, everything you are, to a single initiative, a single effort, then what’s left for anything else in your life? What’s left for your other clients? What’s left for your family and friends? Once 100 percent of your energy is gone, you’re dead. Kaput. Because there’s nothing left to give.

This ludicrous idea of giving more than all of yourself has got to go. Employers cannot reasonably demand it. Clients cannot reasonably expect it. No employer and no client is worth the totality of what you are. That doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of your best effort, but something must be left in reserve in order to sustain the mind and body performing the work.

So, my dear clients, you have my best effort. Your projects receive my dedicated focus. But you don’t get 100 percent of me. After I turn off the computer and set aside my notes, I have other obligations, not the least of which is myself so that I can dedicate my energy, concentration, and skill to your projects the next day and the days after that.