How To Stop Over-Committing

October 14, 2010

How To Stop Over-Committing

At a glance…

Are your commitments pulling you out of kilter?

Learning how to stop over-committing and start prioritising requires an acknowledgement that there is a problem.

If your excuse is you’re simply too busy, then you may be over-committing in other areas of your life so as not to have to face your fears.

When the feeling of being stretched too far to focus on the things you value most is your permanent state of mind, it’s time to take stock of your commitments.

The problem is, life is so full of the urgent tasks, the important ones are continuously pushed to one side.

Everyone will, at times, feel like they simply have too much on in their lives, but it’s about how you feel most of the time.

Balance — it’s the Holy Grail of modern life. For many of us trying to live an authentic life, finding the right balance is the ultimate goal. Maintaining harmony between all areas of our lives — career, family, health, spirituality — is what most of us are striving for. But in our quest to have it all, are we over-committing ourselves? Are we simply trying to do too much? In essence, does trying to find balance in life become yet another commitment?

Most people who are over-committed in their lives are trying to pursue the perfect balance, believing that with balance comes happiness. The reality is “balance” is not something you can achieve by throwing in a yoga class once a week or trying to fit more and more into an already cramped schedule. It’s a lifetime commitment in itself. Reprioritising from the image-based and self-conscious younger years to an acceptance of yourself and your life takes a lifetime. In fact, yogis would say it takes several lifetimes.

To find true balance in our lives, we need to stop piling on the commitments and say no to extra activities that please others and add more stress to our lives. We need to shift to a new reward system and set new priorities. We need to make a commitment to ourselves. As the saying goes, less really is more.

One of the key parts to prioritising is to know the difference between important and urgent. Urgent are the things that have a deadline: the phone call you have to return by the end of the day, the work that has to be finished by the end of the week. Important, on the other hand, are the things you value but don’t necessarily have a timeframe for. Goals such as losing weight, daily exercise, family time or a much-longed-for hobby may not have a particular deadline (and if they do, they often finally get done), but are extremely important to your overall wellbeing.

The problem is, life is so full of the urgent tasks, the important ones are continuously pushed to one side, as they don’t have a timeframe. The key, therefore, is once you have looked at what is important and what is urgent in your life, you then need to put the important things first. It’s very tempting to try to tackle all the little, urgent jobs first, telling yourself you’ll focus on the big, important things later. Generally, that doesn’t work. Other things come up, it takes longer than you expected or you are too tired to do them in the end. The harsh reality of modern life is you simply have to schedule in time for yourself, a date with your partner or a family afternoon in the park. Sad but necessary.

Are you an over-committer? How do you manage to balance work-life-family-friends?

Read the whole article on Wellbeing here!

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