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Are You Committed to your Commitments - or Just Over-Committed?

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I'm busy -- and I'm sure you're busy too.

There is always someone else asking for your time, something else you could/should be doing, and somewhere else you need to be. Right?

Whether it's family commitments, work obligations, new business opportunities, community organization, volunteer requests, etc. etc. It's always something!

If you're feeling over-committed, here are five things to think about.

1. Know your own strengths.

Only say yes to those activities and responsibilities that fit your strengths and are worth your time and effort. Also, learn to recognize when a request or commitment is the wrong fit and allow yourself to say no.

2. Do one thing at a time.

Don't take on anything new until your current project/task is finished.

I'm usually a fan of multi-tasking, but when I'm really busy, I find that doing one thing at a time is usually the best way to quickly cross of my list. I get overwhelmed when I have too many projects "in the works" so by finishing the first task before I start another one allows me to be more focused and actually do better quality work. This is also a great way to reduce procrastination because you don't get distracted by everything else on your list! 

3. Stay focused with a daily to-do list.

Create a daily to-do list to keep yourself on track and focused on whatever is currently the most important commitments in your life right now.

And if you're someone who works from home, works for different clients, or just has multiple jobs, I'd suggest keeping a separate to-do list for each job, each client, and for your personal/home life. This will make it easy to stay focused even while you move from one job to the next or when you come home at the end of the day.

4. Regularly review your big-picture goals.

It's very important to continually review your big-picture goals and make sure your commitments are moving you closer to reaching those goals.

For example, if one of your goals is to hire another staff member to reduce your work load, it would NOT be a good idea to take on any additional responsibilities or commitments before you hire that new staff person. Similarly, if one of your goals is to spend more time with family, it would NOT be a good idea to take on another time-consuming project or a handful of new clients. There's a difference between being busy and being productive... and it's your job to recognize when a request for your time will help your big-picture goals or when it's just busywork.

5. Realize that you can't be everything to everyone.

Understand your role and what’s expected of you and stick closely to those parameters. There will always be people who will disagree with you, but you can't worry about them.

There will also always be people who try to take advantage of your time and services and continually ask you to do "one more thing". And while I'm always a fan of generosity, there comes a time when you just have to realize that you will never be able to please everyone... and then move on!

Trying to balance home, family, work, volunteer work, community organizations, meetings, and all your other commitments can get pretty crazy. However, if you follow a few of these tips, you'll hopefully be able to evaluate what your top priorities are as well as what commitments you might be able to let go.

What do you when you feel over-committed?

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