When I’ve felt that way, it was as though I was being impacted by forces outside of me. In reality, though, the circumstances that contribute to overwhelm can be traced back to a choice that you made somewhere along the line.
Maybe you’ve made commitments to be involved with organizations or serve on the board of a worthwhile group. You may decide to help a family member. All of that gets added on top of taking the kids to after-school events. The networking groups you join want you on their leadership teams. The list can get very long, and it all adds up and stacks up on your shoulders. The resulting load becomes a load on your psyche, too.
So, how do you find your way out of the tangle of intertwining commitments? A good place to start is to uncover the vision and dreams you have for yourself. The tangled web has covered them up; now, it’s time to unearth them, dust them off and give them a spit and polish.
Once you’ve gotten clear on the vision, it becomes much easier to sort through the activities and commitments to see which ones align best. How does serving on the board fit with your vision? How much business do you get from the networking group? How much do you enjoy spending time with people you’ve developed relationships with in these organizations?
Take a look at the activities you choose to spend your time on. How many of them actually contribute directly, or have a high potential of contributing, to your vision? How many could you actually let go of and still feel on track?
Remember that the vision I’m talking about here is about more than your work. A complete vision includes your family, friends and spirituality and anything else that really matters to you.
Consider focusing your time and energy on the highest-payback activities and organizations, and see how that changes your life.
Give yourself some time this week – per the adage “pay yourself first”. Schedule a one-hour slot into your calendar. Then, take a pen and paper with your cuppa somethin’ and find a relaxing, favorite haunt. Take this time to describe, on paper, 5 to 10 aspects of your ideal life. Think about where you live, who lives with you, what your work is, who you hang out with, what your financial situation is, what your family relationships are like, and any other aspects of your life that come to mind. Write with as much detail as you can, so that you begin to create a movie of Your Awesome Life.
Now, comes the next step – look at your calendar and the activities you spent time on in the last month. Estimate the percentage of the activities that directly contributed to or advanced you toward some aspect of your vision. Surprised? Maybe, it’s time to change some things, or clear the clutter in your calendar and in your mind…
People often ask me for resources I recommend. One of my favorite books on sorting through priorities and focusing on what is most meaningful to us, is Brian Tracy’s “Focal Point”. A great read and a great resource for working through the process.
Brian Tracy’s “Focal Point” (Karen’s Amazon Store)