12 RULES for OVER COMMITTERS

A lot of people comment on my energy, on how much I have. They ask me things like, “What do you eat?” “What vitamins do you take?” They look at me and they see this boundless ball of energy who goes about doing, and doing and doing. What they don’t see is how crammed my schedule always is or the social events that I shy away from. The things I do are all connected to the things that hold eternal importance to me. If I discover that what I’m doing isn’t, in some way, a part of the bigger picture, I’ll quit doing it. 

Still, it’s easy for me to overcommit, to forget that I’m only one person with only so many hours in the day. So, I’ve been doing some thinking and I’ve come up with twelve rules that I live by, for the most part. Some of them, I’m still working on.

Maybe you’re an over committer, too. If so, maybe my ponderings will help you as well.

 

  1. If something can be done in less than a minute, do it. For example, go ahead; put the sweater in the closet. Go ahead; put your shoes on the rack. Go ahead, file that paper right now. That way the “little” things won’t pile up on you. I’ve been bad about letting the little things pile up on me and now I have a lot of piles.

  2. If you don’t REALLY need it, don’t buy it. It will just be one more thing to keep up with and have to take precious time cleaning. And if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, just get rid of it.

  3. Prepare your week’s wardrobe on Sunday afternoon or at least lay the outfit you plan to wear to work out the night before.

  4. Go for a short walk every day, even if it’s only five or ten minutes. It will clear your head and help you get back on track.

  5. A ringing phone doesn’t have to be answered every time. If it’s an emergency, somebody will come get you. If I’m in the middle of a parent teacher conference and my phone is ringing, I probably won’t answer it. If I’m teaching reading group and my phone is ringing, I probably won’t answer it. Just leave a message and when I have a break, I’ll return the call. IT’S OKAY TO IGNORE RINGING PHONES!

  6. Make a list of things to do and prioritize them. Don’t confuse the immediate for the important. Put things in quadrants based on their immediacy.

  7. Don’t neglect your health. Make it a priority EVERYDAY to turn off the phones, ignore the computer and do something healthy like practice Tai Chi or Yoga or go for a walk (in my case, it’s Bagua). You only have one body while you’re on this planet. Make it last as long as you can.

  8. Make time for spiritual growth.

  9. Make a weekly trip to Goodwill or some other charity and drop off the excess that you accumulate.

  10. Don’t worry so much about being “perfect” when “good enough” will do. 99% of the things we “fuss” about don’t matter to a hill of beans anyway and 99% of the people won’t notice and the 1% who do, well more power to them. Maybe they just have a lot more “free” time and if it’s something that really bothers them, just volunteer them to head up the effort to fix it.

  11. Turn OFF the phone sometimes. Turn OFF the computer sometimes. A lot of people around me have smart phones and they are constantly in contact with EVERYBODY about EVERYTHING, but my brain can’t handle that overload. So, sometimes, for the sake of my sanity, I turn the phone off so I can hear the sound of my own thoughts. But then again, I’m an introvert by nature (regardless of WHAT you may think you know about me). The truth is that there are times when I just want absolute silence so that I can renew my bearings, find my center. Gandhi withdrew every evening, away from the crowds, to sit quietly at a spinning wheel and “center” himself. Mother Teresa found her quiet times by waking before dawn and Jesus is recorded numerous times as escaping the crowds so he could hear his Father’s voice.

12. Realize that no matter what you say, what you do or where your heart is, that somebody, somewhere won’t agree, but they don’t have to live your life. You do. Not every decision is going to make everybody happy. Their happiness is their responsibility, not yours.

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