While I was growing up, time seemed to pass by so slowly. Important events such as Christmas and summer vacation took “forever” to arrive. Now, each new year seems to pass by faster than the one before. Can you relate?
I have come to realize that the speed with which time passes is directly proportional to how busy I am. I have also learned that the degree to which I feel impatient, frustrated, and pressured is related to my level of overcommitment.
When I become overcommitted everything seems to suffer. Instead of doing a great job, I do a mediocre job. Instead of enjoying the task, I resent it. Instead of spending time with my family, I focus on those things that have specific deadlines.
To break free from over committing yourself, practice these three important rules:
Create and maintain a balance of activities in your life.
This means you will engage in reasonable amounts of work, rest, leisure, exercise and learning. There will, of course, be times when the demands of life are greater than at other times, but do your best to maintain a reasonable balance.
Prioritize your activities.
Focus first on the things that are most important, like your faith, family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff that takes your valuable time. Set some time each day to do the important things first.
Practice saying “no”.
I personally find that I respect people more when they kindly, but directly, tell me “no” instead of promising something they can’t deliver. It’s better for everyone if you decline a request or offer than to commit to something you can’t realistically do. Assess your time (including some “down” time), money, and energy and only say “yes” if it really fits into your life.
The time we have on this earth is short, but the New Year stretches before us with all of its potential and responsibilities. Make sure your limited time isn’t wasted on committing yourself to things that don’t serve you and the ones you love well.
How have you found ways to break free from overcommitment? How do you know if you are overcommitted or not? Let us know in the comments below!
Live, Work and Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.