Have you ever started your day and looked at your schedule and said “Wow, I seriously have way too much to do, how am I ever going to get this stuff done?”
If you have, you’re not alone, as most of us have way too much on our plate.
But there’s one way to take charge of your schedule once and for all – and if you do this one thing it will change your life.
Sure, there are certain responsibilities you have to do each day – but they might not be as many as you think.
To start, here are a few things you can do – before implementing our 30 day “Just Say No” challenge.
Fully Audit Your Schedule
The first way to gain control of your life is to look at all the activities you are actually committed to.
Don’t just think about them in your head, actually write them down on paper.
You can segment this out into different categories like “work” and “volunteer” to get a grasp on your responsibilities.
Chances are, you are on the hook for more than you realize.
Excluding work, I looked at my schedule and realized I was committed to multiple things in the same night (yeah and clearly that’s not working out so great).
I loved all three of the activities, but I had to pick one.
Before you choose what to let go of, you need to see the full picture of your current responsibilities
Figure Out What You Can Cut
Now that you have a full picture of your responsibilities– it’s time to hack the excess.
Are there activities you are committed to that you don’t really enjoy, but you just keep doing them?
Ask yourself if it is really important you keep signing up every year for the ladies’ softball team, just because you “always have.”
Or think in terms of what realistically works for your schedule. If you work at the office till 5pm, and have a Bible study meeting 1 hour away (not counting traffic) that you always struggle to get to on time, should you really keep doing it?
Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is finding a Bible study closer to your home that is more manageable to attend.
For other activities, you might also realize that all the meetings on your schedule you don’t always have to attend personally.
Sometimes a friend in the same club or activity can attend and brief you later.
Prioritize Your List
Now that you’ve figured out your commitments and cut the ones that weren’t working– it’s time to prioritize.
This also includes staying organized!
Incorporate organizational tips from experts such as if you can answer an email within 5 minutes and resolve it, do it right then instead of putting it off.
Organize your digital email into folders, so you can easily keep track of your projects.
Automate things that can be automated like paying bills or receiving alerts for upcoming appointments.
Do your best to maintain a clean and organized home, so you can find things easily without stress.
These small changes will help make your load a little more bearable.
Saying “NO” Is Okay
To those of us with servant hearts, we like to help people out.
Our church is short one person for a Vacation Bible School? We sign up.
A friend needs a ride to the airport? We offer to take her.
Work has a new project? We sign up to take the lead.
And the list goes on and on.
But before we know it, our schedules are so full and because we are responsible we feel obligated to keep taking on more.
Instead, learn to say no!
If you are already committed to other activities, and a group needs a volunteer, you can say something kind like “Hey, thanks for thinking of me. I’m really sorry, I have other commitments I won’t be able to make it.”
And then – stand firm!
Organizations are always short volunteers – but hold your ground if you truly are overcommitted and don’t have the time.
Try Our 30 Day Experiment!
It’s time to break the cycle.
Being overcommitted can actually keep you in a constant state of “flight or fight” and seriously drain your energy.
Psych Central reported on the negative effects not being able to say no has on the body:
“Being unable to say no can make you exhausted, stressed and irritable. It could be undermining any efforts you make to improve your quality of life if you spend hours worrying over how to get out of an already-promised commitment. If your spare time is taken up with committee meetings and myriad other engagements, your family may be suffering.”
So for the next 30 days – try saying no to every request you receive.
If you’re used to saying yes, this will be very difficult, but you’ll strengthen your “no muscle”, and are bound to be empowered by taking control of your life again.
Remember – either you manage and own your time and schedule – or somebody else will be happy to do it for you.
(h/t Better Change Project)