This is your brain.
This is your brain on over commitment.
Me: “Come on kids. We have to go to the grocery store.”
Kids: “Um mom? Don’t you want to change out of your pajamas first?”
Me: “Oh, right. Good call.”
If you ever have so much going on you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, you can relate. In a time when we are spread way too thin, have more to do in a day than can possibly be done, and have competing priorities and responsibilities, how in the world do you keep up with it all?
Whether it’s because we don’t want to let people down, feel like we’re “dropping the ball”, or have the distorted belief that we can be all things to all people, many of us have gotten into the habit of over committing.
Try some of the following tips if you’re starting to feel fried:
1. Just say no. And don’t feel bad about it. While it’s hard for many people to do, it is totally acceptable to say no. Your sanity is more important than the PTA fundraiser, the fourth coffee meeting of the week, or planning the office holiday party. Simply explain that you have too much on your plate and don’t want to take something on that you won’t be able to give your full attention.
2. Yes, and. If it’s too uncomfortable for you to say no, say yes, and give a realistic timeline of when you’ll be able to get to it.
3. Be kind and rewind. Take a step back and re-evaluate all of the things on your plate. Make a list of all of your current projects, responsibilities, deadlines, etc. What can you simplify and break down into smaller more manageable steps, delegate to someone else, or eliminate all together?
4. Ask for help. So many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness when in reality, it’s a sign of strength. You have people in your life who care for you and want to support you. Let them.
5. Focus on your high payoff activities. It’s easy to get caught up in activity, but being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. What are the top 5 or 6 activities both personally and professionally that bring you the biggest results? Do those first.
6. Stop prioritizing your schedule and start scheduling your priorities. We have become very reactive and spend a large majority of our time doing things that just aren’t that important. What is most important in your life? You should be spending a large chunk of time on activities that support it.
7. Recharge your batteries. You are no good to anyone if you’re burnt out. Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know when we’ve pushed our limits just a little too far. We get sick, exhausted, and we fizzle out. Try to be proactive by taking small chunks of time throughout the week to breathe and relax.