A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Don’t Tell Me You Don’t Have Time about keeping the commitments we make, being accountable to others, and about being good time managers able to prioritize the demands on our time.
Today I want to talk about time commitment, or more correctly, time over-commitment.
Sometimes we really don’t have time because we’re over-scheduled, over-committed, over-taxed, and generally, overwhelmed. We make too many commitments, we fail to plan, and we overestimate our abilities and underestimate the requirements of the projects we take on. The result is that we run from one thing that demands our attention to the next.
We suffer from Oh No, Not Another Shiny Object Syndrome.
Ado Annie knew the problem very well, as she sang it out in Oklahoma
I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,
I’m in a turrible fix
I always say “come on, le’s go”
Jist when I orta say nix!.
Of course, Ado Annie is actually speaking about something else entirely; not our overly busy lives, but the idea is the same. We can’t stop ourselves from saying “yes” when a part of us deep inside is shouting, “no!”
We cannot be at our best when we’re constantly parceling ourselves out. Being over-committed leads to all the rest of the ‘overs’; it’s only a matter of time before we’re at our worst and feeling crummy both inside and out.
Are you rested and relaxed from the Independence Day holiday weekend? Did you recharge, or did you spend the time desperately trying to catch up with your regular obligations? Or did you pile on additional things like a short trip or an extended time with family, friends or neighbors? So that now, the return of a regular work week means you’re more tired and further behind that you were a week ago?
If so, you already know what you need to do. What is stopping you from any or all of these options that will put time and sanity back into your life? Is it fear that is stopping you because:
- It might mean giving up some things that you enjoy so that you have enough time to take care of your responsibilities?
- It might mean keeping your seat in the seat until a project is all-the-way done? Not good-enough done or done for now, done, but truly and completely done.
- It might mean making some hard choices between following a certain career track and keeping track of the kids you fathered, or mothered?
- It might mean less Facebook so there’s more time for a workout, meditation or yoga.
- It might mean telling your kids they are limited to being involved in only a certain number of extra activities.
- It might mean less TV time or nights with friends so there’s more time for sleep.
We all have the same amount of time; it’s how we choose to use it. Have you taken on too much because you think no one else can do it as well? Have you considered what growth opportunities you might be giving others by allowing them to take on some responsibility? What would you gain if you chose to give up some things?
We can say ‘no’ to personally taking on a responsibility while fully supporting the organization or person making the request. We do our best job of saying “no” when we say “yes” to making choices.
We prepare our children to be adults when we let them set their priorities and make choices for themselves. What kind of example are you setting?
Life Is Honest, Open and True: As parents, leaders, colleagues, friends, as you go through your week, consider what activities reflect your highest priorities and commitments to others. Have you been honest about your capacity for giving your time? What will it take for you to be okay with saying No?