I can’t seem to figure out how to make enough time for all of the demands on my schedule. I want to balance my time between family, work, church and community volunteer commitments, and personal time. However, I always seem to come up short and end up borrowing from one area to pay the other. Is there a way to make it all fit together?
Your question reminds me of the words of the historian, Will Durant. He wrote of the human need “to seize the value and perspective of passing things.” He observed that we “want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem forever—‘in the light of eternity.’”
Many of us believe that it would be possible to do more if we could just figure out how to fit it all in. We spend all of our time trying to fit together this unending puzzle of commitments and often end up feeling exhausted and resentful of all we have to do.
One family scholar observed that bragging rights seem to go to the individual who has their kids involved in the most activities and appears to have the most on their plate. It seems these days that the trophy goes to the busiest and most involved.
There is a myth in today’s world that says, “you can do it all” if you’re just organized or efficient enough. The problem with that myth is that you end up doing a lot of stuff really poorly. In reality, we can’t do it all, and shouldn’t do it all.
Instead of helping you fit more in, I’m going to encourage you to make cuts and not replace them with other activities or commitments.
This sifting process is difficult and takes tremendous courage, but you’ll be amazed at how much energy is instantly freed up just by saying “no” to less essential commitments.
It can be helpful to go through your list of commitments with a loved one and have them ask you questions about each one to help you sort out the most critical from the unimportant. Talking through each commitment with someone else can add perspective and make it easier to follow through on the sifting process.
One temptation is to believe that others can’t do it as well as you. While that may be true in some instances, your sanity and peace is more important than having everything turn out perfectly around you.
While this seems overly simplistic, it’s surprising how many of us go through life moving from one commitment to the other without considering the impact on our loved ones or us.
The goal is to see clearly enough to cut out the less essential and focus more depth of involvement to those relationships and commitments that matter most. I fear that we borrow too heavily on the goodwill of our most important relationships, hoping we can make it up later.
As you work to show your most important relationships and commitments how much they matter to you by saying “no” or “not now” to other less-important commitments, you will discover that the world doesn’t fall apart without you doing everything.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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