Future Shock! Why You Over-commit

shock You’re backed up with work. There’s no time to spare. You’re busy, busy, busy. You eat your lunch at your desk and keep plugging away. An hour passes, then another. It looks like another late night at the office. And it’s Friday. Guess you’ll be working this weekend. As evening approaches, you get a call from a friend who is chairing the fundraising committee this year for his favorite charity. He asks if you’d help raise money this year. The campaign kicks off in a month. Oh, what the heck you say – it’s over a month away. No problem!

You don’t think anymore about it. The weeks turn into a month. You get an e-mail reminding you of the first committee meeting. You’re just as busy now as you were when you committed to it. But now you have yet another obligation – you have to serve on this committee.

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The future becomes the present

A study done a while back showed that we do have a tendency to think we will miraculously be less busy in the future than we are today. So we say “yes” to requests for our time in the future. Then we’re shocked when the future becomes the present and we have even less time than we had before.

We’ve overcommitted ourselves … again!

5 questions to ask before committing yourself

The first question is simply a check. It may be obvious, but we didn’t feel we could leave it out.

  • How will this request advance me toward my goals? If it doesn’t, why say yes.

The next four questions aren’t sequential. They should be answered simultaneously.

  • If you had to do this tomorrow or next week, would you still say yes? If you can’t say yes to this question without hesitation, why commit yourself? But consider the next question before saying “no”.

  • How significant would the impact be on your life if you say yes? You may be willing to pay the price of overextending yourself if the pay off is high enough. If that’s the case, look at the next question.

  • How much time will it realistically take? You can only operate in a state of hyper-activity for a short period of time. If it will take a year, you can’t push yourself that hard. So if it’s a long-term project you may have to say no. If it’s short-term you may be able to say yes. In either case, consider the next question.

  • What am I willing to say “no” to or put “on hold” in order to do this? You only have 24 hours in your day just like any human. Will you sleep less? Spend less time with your family? Skip your next vacation? Be realistic about what you have to give up. Is it worth the price? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to commit (or not commit) your time in the future. You understand that you won’t have more time then. So you’ll be careful to only commit to those things which will make you a bigg success!

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We greatly appreciate you reading our post today. Join us next time as we look at the difference between being battle-scarred and battle-scared. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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  1. […] said in the past, when you commit to something new, you’re also saying no to something else in your life. Yes I’ll serve on this board, no I […]

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