How many times in the last month have you driven home from work, wishing that you could cancel on an evening commitment because you’re exhausted and need some downtime?
How many times in the last month have you skipped a workout because you were too busy with other causes to focus on your own health?
How many times in the last month have you attended an event only to spend most of your time watching the clock because you couldn’t wait to be home with your family?
How many times in the last month have you gone to a meeting (outside of work) and thought: What am I even contributing here?
Was the number higher than you would have expected? We thought so.
Being overcommitted is an American tale as old as time. In modern culture, we love to brag about being busy. Men and women alike are pressured to work like they don’t have a family, spend time with their family like they don’t have a job, and extend themselves to causes and organizations like they have an extra 50 hours in their week. It’s unrealistic and it’s exhausting.
If you are finding yourself in a season where you might be overcommitted or overextended, it’s time to prioritize and cut down on commitments and obligations. There may be one or two things on your calendar that are easy to cut, but chances are…you do actually care about most of your commitments. But the hard truth is…if you only commit to causes, events, people, or organizations that you care about…you’ll always be overcommitted. This is why you need to look at your calendar and commitments objectively.
A simple equation.
1. Determine and write down these numbers:
- How many hours do you want to ideally be spending on work?
- How many hours do you want to ideally be spending with family?
- How many hours do you want to ideally be spending on yourself (gym, reading, etc.)?
- How many hours do you want to ideally be spending in recreation (friends, mental breaks, etc.)?
2. Add up all of your ideal numbers.
3. Subtract your ideal numbers from the hours you have available each month.
- You can choose to do this as a Monday – Friday equation, or the entire 30 days.
4. Based on the time you have left, look at your extra commitments.
- For example, if you find that you only have 8 hours of free time each month, but being a member of your local chamber of commerce eats up 25 hours…it has to go.
5. Lay everything on the table and determine what needs to go.
Remember, excusing yourself from commitments is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s up to you to prioritize the things that matter most in your life.