5 Hacks For the Over-Committed

If there’s one way to describe my schedule, it’s over-committed. My friends, family, and interviewers all know it as my biggest weakness. I have trouble saying no, which has resulted in some great opportunities... and also some not so great experiences. 

If you’re anything like me, you know it’s easy to overcommit, but extremely difficult to balance such a full schedule. 

Though I haven’t quite learned how to say no yet, I have learned how to manage all of my responsibilities, which can be summarized in 5 tips below:

1. Commit to causes you actually like.

At the moment, I have five jobs. Yes, five. This wasn’t unplanned, nor do I work 100 hour weeks. I absolutely love each job and have been learning completely different skills at each one. Though having one, full-time job is more customary, it’s just not for me. I enjoy exploring different areas and learning more about myself through things that I am passionate about. Curt Rosengren summarizes the benefits of loving your work, citing increased energy and confidence as benefits of being passionate about your job.

2. Be transparent about busyness.

A heavy workload can work - if you are upfront with friends, family, and people you work with. 

By letting others know you have a lot on your plate, you can best allocate the time you do have to work on a specific task. Those around you will be able to understand the type of efficiency you work with, and you will be able to be more productive during the time you allot for each task. 

3. Don’t allow other commitments to be distractions.

It is very tempting to work on several things at the same time. Your day at job #1 could be going a little slow, so you pull up a project you have been working on for job #2. Not a good idea. 

A heavy workload can work - if you are upfront with friends, family, and people you work with.

This distraction puts you at a lower focus for job #1, and your coworkers can start to view you as a slacker. Whenever doing any type of work, focus 100% on that task. The work you produce will be higher quality and result in higher satisfaction from others. 

4. Quality always trumps quantity.

The only thing worse than having 143 things to do is having someone on your team who is always late or missing deadlines. If your involvement is starting to take a toll on the quality of your work or your commitment to a team, take a step back. 

It is always better to be delivering your best self to a project or task, rather than a flustered and busy you. Those around you will notice when there is too much on your plate. Maintain the self awareness to know when it’s too much.

5. Organization, serious organization.

When you have multiple deadlines or several places to be, it can be difficult to remember where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to be doing. 

Help your busy self out and put events and deadlines on a calendar (and set alerts!), make to do lists, and schedule things like grocery shopping, seeing friends, and going to the gym. You may have a lot of commitments, but there’s no reason to sacrifice your quality of life. Planning and being organized will allow you to maintain productivity while also avoiding copious amounts of stress.

The over-committed life is not for everyone. Having a lot of responsibilities is often stressful and can leave little you-time. If you’re luckier than I am, you’ve probably figured out how to successfully say no. 

If you’re in the same boat as me, take a deep breath and remember that having so many responsibilities is a blessing that most don’t have, and people like us might just be taking advantage of this wonderful world that we live in.

This piece by Kelsey Bishop originally appeared on Shine Text.

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Priscilla Castro

Director of Social Media at Create & Cultivate