Jo’s Journal: How to Avoid Over-Committing Yourself and Getting Stressed
Four steps to help you find balance in life
by Joanne Troppello
“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” — Anthony Robbins
Commitment is important. However, over-committing yourself can lead to a stressed out life and decline in your overall health and well-being.
Little children have mastered the art of saying “no.” However, as we become adults, we lose the ability to say no. Many times, we take on too many responsibilities and overcommit ourselves.
Maybe we’d feel like an underachiever if we said no to another commitment.
No is not a bad word.
This article will discuss ways that we can avoid the over-commitment roller coaster and try to bring some sanity back into our lives.
Get a new perspective
Get over your fear of saying no—especially if you have been feeling guilty when saying it. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.
You can’t always decline a new assignment at work when your manager assigns you to that new team project. In some instances you’ll have to say yes to that new commitment. That may mean removing something from your life to balance things out.
When you find that work life balance and learn how to say no to too many activities in your life that are actually stressing you out, you’ll start to feel better and have more energy. Renewed energy can help you give more to the people and things that matter in your life like family and doing things that you are passionate about.
1. Hone in on your goals
One important way to stand up for yourself and say no when you need to, is to focus on your goals. That process begins with knowing who you are and where you want to go.
Understand your professional goals and make an action plan on how to achieve them. Consider writing out a career development plan or work life balance action strategy.
You need to understand how you can plan out what tasks to complete first and which ones can wait. If your end goals are always at the forefront of your mind, you can more easily put projects on the backburner.
Then you can say no to things that will not add any value to your life. You don’t want to waste time doing projects that don’t have a purpose, when you have more important things to do.
2. Create a more efficient schedule
Become more efficient at guarding what tasks you add to your to do list. Yes, you read that correctly. You must guard your to do list and understand how valuable it is in your life. Don’t add too many things so you feel like a failure at the end of the day when more things are left undone than done.
The more efficient you can be at tracking your daily activities, responsibilities, and appointments, will enable you to say no when necessary and only add the right things to your to do list.
Of course, many people are dealing with quarantine life due to COVID-19, so you’re likely not out and about going to various appointments and meetings. However, dealing with working from home, helping your children with school work, and participating in Zoom meetings can quickly fill up your daily schedule.
Create a to do list that is functional and visible. Consider using some of the following to do list apps like TickTick, Google Tasks, Nozbe, and Todoist.
3. Own your limitations
There have been times when I have taken on tasks without thinking through all that would be involved in completing them. You need to know your own limitations before you decide to take on a new project or other family responsibility.
For example, if you want to take on more responsibilities in the workplace, think through your strengths and weaknesses first so that you won’t end up over-committing yourself to a project that you weren’t suited for.
You can balance your skillset and stay current in your career by checking through the tips in this article from The Balance Careers. Keep track of leaders in your field on social media and make a professional development plan to help keep your career goals on track.
Know your own limitations when it comes to your family responsibilities. When you do that, you can ensure that you won’t take on more tasks that will cause you undue stress.
Sure, life is stressful at times—especially now with the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty when things will (or if they will) get back to normal. Right now, many people cannot stop the stressors in their lives due to unemployment, financial struggles, and living in quarantine life.
However, we should not cause ourselves undue stress by taking on additional responsibility—like scheduling too many activities for your kids to participate in each week—even if those activities are simply too many Zoom classes like gymnastics or story time. Of course, many of those are needed to help keep your children busy while you’re working from home.
Just remember to schedule in some family time when you’re free of work commitments and can focus on your family and find balance in your life.
4. Take steps to find balance
Now, you won’t be able to say no all the time. However, there are likely more times than not, that you can say no to things. Become your own biggest fan and start looking out for yourself.
Of course, you need to look out for the needs of your spouse and kids—but if you are not paying attention to your needs as well, you won’t find that necessary balance in life.
Commit today to stop overcommitting yourself
Focus on your goals and create a more efficient schedule that can help you stay on track with your current commitments. Own your limitations and take the necessary steps to find balance in your life.
Soon, we hope life will return to normal. However, it will likely be a new normal. You can use these tips to help yourself avoid over-committing to things now and when this coronavirus pandemic is over.
Previously published in Medium.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.