When You’ve Over-Committed

The new year presents a symbolic “fresh start”, encouraging you to gain a new perspective and refocus your energy on what’s really important to you. A good place to start is by being more purposeful about how you spend you time.

Too often, we schedule so many activities into one day or one week that before it’s half over, we are exhausted and stressed.  Many of these activities may not be that important to us, but for one reason or another, we committed to them, and now we’re obliged to follow through.

When you find yourself over-committed, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few strategies that might help:

  • Delegate. Go through your calendar and where possible, assign tasks to others. This will give you some breathing room.
  • Negotiate. If you know you cannot meet a deadline or complete a task, ask for an extension or explain what you can do.
  • Prioritize. Don’t dwell on the long list of “to-dos” in front of you. Instead, pick the most important, and tackle it first. Then move on to the next important task.
  • Breathe. Remind yourself that the situation is short-term. Tell yourself that you will get through it.
  • Rest. You can’t dig out in one day, so don’t try. Don’t pull an all-nighter to try to get it all done. Instead, get a good night’s sleep so you can be focused and energized the next day. You’ll be more productive and have a positive attitude.
  • Set boundaries for the future. Decide what activities are most important based on what you want to accomplish – more time at home with family, more career opportunities, more time for yourself – and then consider each potential commitment in light of these goals. If the specific activity doesn’t measure up, then politely decline.

My challenge to you for January is to take time to really look at your calendar and consider how you want and need to spend your time. Bring more order and calmness into your life by simplifying your calendar and making time to do the things that are really important to you.

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