I have written before about my need to finish: finish my tennis stroke, finish reading a book, finish a project, etc. For some reason the idea of finishing never translated to the finishing of my time spent volunteering or outside responsibilities. When I would be asked if I could serve on this committee or help out with that event I generally say, "sure". I would just add that request to whatever else I was doing. It just occurred to me that I need to finish any volunteer work before I say yes to start any new endeavor.
Has that ever happened to you? You go along, being asked for this or that and you say yes because no one request requires much in the way of time or money. But at some point when all the demands start to add up, the collective investment is exhausting.
The other day, I had listed all the items that I needed to do for the various committees I am on. It turns out that I have five major responsibilities with at least four to five "to-do" check offs under each one. The check-offs require me to create or perform some type of job and they are items that take a fair amount of time.
No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed.
I remember years ago a friend shared with me that when her grandchild was at a Montessori school, part of their teaching was that the child learned not to take out another play items, puzzle or activity before putting back the one he was using.
What a concept! I need to practice that with my time requests. For some reason the requests to email individuals about a volunteer offering, schedule a rotation chart, design policies and procedures for an ongoing committee, write the curriculum and teach a five week class (among other requests) don't seem too demanding at first and don't seem to warrant a careful consideration when initially asked. These are easy things for me to do.
Yet easy or not it is the time involved that has me feeling as if every toy is out in the room and I have no way to put any of it back.
It seems as if every six months I need to reevaluate what I am doing, to finish what I started and to build in breaks from one obligation to the next. I used to practice this method of time management but over the last year, life and its demands have me scrambling around. I know that I don't want to just resign or walk away without a clean and clear break of obligations.
What about you? Do you feel the pressure of too many demands on your time? Are they things that you want to do? Are they things that have just happened? How do you manage requests for your time and talent? Do you finish what you started or do you just quit? What choices can you make that would give you some margin with your time?
How can you practice putting away one toy before getting out another?