Many of us are pretty busy people. But not only do we have a lot of things to do, but we also constantly add new tasks to ourselves. We’ve been doing this since university, when our best friend asks, “Can you help me edit my essay or finish my notes?” And we graciously agree to help others while finishing our own work as well. But often this only adds more work and brings us no pleasure.
Why are we so overwhelmed? And how do we solve this eternal problem?
If you and I are similar, are you familiar with the habit of taking on new projects, new challenges, new books, new programs… and then halfway through realizing that you have too much to do, and what were you even thinking at first?
At this stage I usually started to simplify things – I realized that I had dumped too much on myself and canceled the arrangements. I’d say that I couldn’t deliver what I had promised. Of course, it is very bad to let people down, but what a relief it is to be able to let go of an impossible burden.
I soon realized that it was becoming a habit. And it doesn’t make me look good at all.
Taking on too much, and then abandoning my words and projects… it inevitably leads to the following:
Distrust of others because people can’t count on you.
An inability to see things through to the end.
Fleeing from problems when something becomes difficult and uncomfortable-just when it would have been worthwhile to take a decisive step.
So I decided to try a different approach.
Now I don’t run away. I stay in this state of discomfort.
Now I don’t look for excuses why I won’t do it. I get over myself and make ironclad promises. And I keep them.
I can give up something else, but not my word. I can renegotiate deadlines so that I can finish what I started. But not quit everything.
I have now learned to pause before I make a new promise. I hesitate and assess whether I really have the time. I need to wait and “chill” for a while before making an important move.
Now I have learned not to apologize because I am too busy for an important thing. If it is important to me, I can accomplish it. If I have many other tasks to do, I just need to make a plan to make time for something meaningful. And discard things that aren’t really necessary.
If I have to excuse myself, I listen to myself.
If I overload myself, it’s only for fear of saying “no” to a given promise.
If I feel overworked, I allow myself to feel tired. And then I make time for the most important mission.
So my approach boils down to six points:
1.Identify when I’m giving up something important – and stop just apologizing for it. Allocate time, create a plan, and implement it.
2.Determine when I’m ready to give up something important and already promised because I’m feeling tired. Allocate time and structure everything.
3.Determine when I want to give up because of internal discomfort. To dive into that discomfort.
4.Take pause before doing new things. I don’t have time for something new right now.
5.Instead, bring things to a close.
6.Fight the feeling of overwhelm with moments of silence, meditation, and awareness of your own freedom.
Become a person who has the iron will to keep promises made. Life is too short for hesitation.