The Overwhelming Aspects of Being Overscheduled

The Overwhelming Aspects of Being Overscheduled

Posted on: January 30th, 2018 by Justin Tobin

Written by: Lindsey Rogers, LCPC

Is your calendar looking like a game of Tetris? Do you have a hard time recalling the last time you said “no” to something? Do you feel stressed, frustrated, and/or on edge? Are you thinking about all the things you should be doing instead of reading this blog post? If the answers to these questions are a resounding yes, then it may be time to admit you have overscheduled yourself. We live in a culture that values productivity and being active. However, the downside is that self-care and relaxation get pushed to the wayside. So for your sake, let’s figure out a way to have a more balanced lifestyle.

“No” is not part of my vocabulary
Take a hard look at that calendar of yours to determine the root cause of your hectic schedule. Oftentimes we really struggle with saying “no.” Feelings of guilt can manipulate us and force our hand to say “yes” when saying “no” is actually a healthier choice. As a parent during the holidays, it can become overwhelming if you feel like you have to attend all the holiday parties, follow through with every tradition, and make every celebration super special. Have you had one of those moments when you have tried so hard to make everything Pinterest-y and perfect and meanwhile, it feels like all the fun has disappeared and your family is hating this? Have you ever planned a huge bachelorette party for your friend and spent your entire time coming up with all the perfect details only to realize you are utterly stressed and over budget? When you are so far into planning, it can be a logistical nightmare to either reel something in or scale down. It can feel like “no” is not an option when it comes to taking on more. But in hindsight, you feel like you should have never said “yes.” Obviously being proactive is always better than being reactive. Before you bite off more than you can chew, take a realistic look at your current activities, responsibilities, etc. Can you take on this project without combusting? Often we convince ourselves that tasks are things we have to do when in reality, it is more like something we want to do or think we should do. But “shoulding on yourself” will get you nowhere fast. No one wants you to fail or cancel last minute because you overpromised and are now under-delivering. So be honest with yourself and others and try saying “no” every once and awhile. Saying “no” when you really can’t commit to something really doesn’t mean whatever your fear is…that people will be mad at you, stop asking you to do things, or judge you. Saying “no” to this one thing doesn’t mean saying “no” to everything. Look at how many people say no to you or around you? They often get passes. Give yourself one! Now let’s say your calendar is already resembling a run-away train; this is when you need to own up to the problem and ask for help or delegate. Most things take a village so lean a bit on your village. It’ll be okay.

This is just who I am
It can feel good to be a “yes man,” the person who is reliable, available, and responsible. Maybe you are that person to your family and friends. So in a lot of ways, you get something out of having that role. It makes you feel good to be wanted and needed. You might like being in charge and having control. It may feel more comfortable to just take things on yourself versus sharing responsibilities. Have group projects always broken down to just you doing the work regardless of the size of your established group? Maybe you grew up with parents who modeled a busy lifestyle and encouraged you to be a go-getter. Or conversely, maybe your parents shrugged off responsibilities and that caused a lot of chaos growing up and therefore you have grown to do the opposite. Group dynamics can reinforce whatever role we have established for ourselves. And our self-concept and how we see ourselves can dictate our behaviors. So there is a lot of pull to keep the homeostasis of being overscheduled and overwhelmed going. However, we are dynamic creatures and there is more to you than just being too busy. You have needs/wants and other parts of yourself that are important. So do yourself a favor and start to try asking others for help or sharing the load a bit. You aren’t going to become a different person, nor should you, but a more balanced you means being on the receiving end at times versus always being a giver. Ideally, you get a little and give a little. Show yourself you can still get all that positive reinforcement of being who you are while on occasion, slowing things down.

Pretty sure I am allergic to relaxation
When is the last time that you went on vacation and unplugged and really disconnected? Can’t remember? Never? You are probably uncomfortable or even unfamiliar with slowing down and taking care of yourself. But you are going to need to get yourself acquainted with the idea of self-care if you would like to continue to live in a productive state. Machines don’t run forever; they often need maintenance. You do, too! Maybe you aren’t going to jump on the mindfulness bandwagon and start doing yoga and meditation. That’s okay (although keep in mind all of those things have significant mind/body health benefits) but figure out what works for you. What feels restorative and relaxing for you? When and where are you able to tell yourself that it is okay for you to just “be” versus “do”? If you can pinpoint that or at least try on some options, self-care is going to start to feel less like a foreign concept or something you don’t have time for and more like a need. Earlier, I talked about the dynamics around you may be reinforcing this way of being. So whether it is you who has an aversion to you slowing down or it is the people around you who prevent you from doing that, you need to start communicating with your team to give you some relaxation time as well as remind you (kindly) to do it as well. You may need to find a relaxation buddy who will remind you and keep you accountable to squeeze this super important thing like a yoga class or a walk with a friend into your busy schedule. Whatever you need to do to make it stick, do it.

You really are valuable in both your most productive moments and in those moments when you merely exist. Try to remind yourself of that. Change takes some time and there can be push back to change internally and from others. But the toll that overscheduling yourself is taking on you and your relationships is not worth it. So find some time to breathe deeply and take it all in instead of having such a laser focus on the task at hand. Find some perspective. And start moving things around on that calendar so that “me time” is Is your calendar looking like a game of Tetris? Do you have a hard time recalling the last time you said “no” to something? Do you feel stressed, frustrated, and/or on edge? Are you thinking about all the things you should be doing instead of reading this blog post? If the answers to these questions are a resounding yes, then it may be time to admit you have overscheduled yourself. We live in a culture that values productivity and being active. However, the downside is that self-care and relaxation get pushed to the wayside. So for your sake, let’s figure out a way to have a more balanced lifestyle.

“No” is not part of my vocabulary
Take a hard look at that calendar of yours to determine the root cause of your hectic schedule. Oftentimes we really struggle with saying “no.” Feelings of guilt can manipulate us and force our hand to say “yes” when saying “no” is actually a healthier choice. As a parent during the holidays, it can become overwhelming if you feel like you have to attend all the holiday parties, follow through with every tradition, and make every celebration super special. Have you had one of those moments when you have tried so hard to make everything Pinterest-y and perfect and meanwhile, it feels like all the fun has disappeared and your family is hating this? Have you ever planned a huge bachelorette party for your friend and spent your entire time coming up with all the perfect details only to realize you are utterly stressed and over budget? When you are so far into planning, it can be a logistical nightmare to either reel something in or scale down. It can feel like “no” is not an option when it comes to taking on more. But in hindsight, you feel like you should have never said “yes.” Obviously being proactive is always better than being reactive. Before you bite off more than you can chew, take a realistic look at your current activities, responsibilities, etc. Can you take on this project without combusting? Often we convince ourselves that tasks are things we have to do when in reality, it is more like something we want to do or think we should do. But “shoulding on yourself” will get you nowhere fast. No one wants you to fail or cancel last minute because you overpromised and are now under-delivering. So be honest with yourself and others and try saying “no” every once and awhile. Saying “no” when you really can’t commit to something really doesn’t mean whatever your fear is…that people will be mad at you, stop asking you to do things, or judge you. Saying “no” to this one thing doesn’t mean saying “no” to everything. Look at how many people say no to you or around you? They often get passes. Give yourself one! Now let’s say your calendar is already resembling a run-away train; this is when you need to own up to the problem and ask for help or delegate. Most things take a village so lean a bit on your village. It’ll be okay.

This is just who I am
It can feel good to be a “yes man,” the person who is reliable, available, and responsible. Maybe you are that person to your family and friends. So in a lot of ways, you get something out of having that role. It makes you feel good to be wanted and needed. You might like being in charge and having control. It may feel more comfortable to just take things on yourself versus sharing responsibilities. Have group projects always broken down to just you doing the work regardless of the size of your established group? Maybe you grew up with parents who modeled a busy lifestyle and encouraged you to be a go-getter. Or conversely, maybe your parents shrugged off responsibilities and that caused a lot of chaos growing up and therefore you have grown to do the opposite. Group dynamics can reinforce whatever role we have established for ourselves. And our self-concept and how we see ourselves can dictate our behaviors. So there is a lot of pull to keep the homeostasis of being overscheduled and overwhelmed going. However, we are dynamic creatures and there is more to you than just being too busy. You have needs/wants and other parts of yourself that are important. So do yourself a favor and start to try asking others for help or sharing the load a bit. You aren’t going to become a different person, nor should you, but a more balanced you means being on the receiving end at times versus always being a giver. Ideally, you get a little and give a little. Show yourself you can still get all that positive reinforcement of being who you are while on occasion, slowing things down.

Pretty sure I am allergic to relaxation
When is the last time that you went on vacation and unplugged and really disconnected? Can’t remember? Never? You are probably uncomfortable or even unfamiliar with slowing down and taking care of yourself. But you are going to need to get yourself acquainted with the idea of self-care if you would like to continue to live in a productive state. Machines don’t run forever; they often need maintenance. You do, too! Maybe you aren’t going to jump on the mindfulness bandwagon and start doing yoga and meditation. That’s okay (although keep in mind all of those things have significant mind/body health benefits) but figure out what works for you. What feels restorative and relaxing for you? When and where are you able to tell yourself that it is okay for you to just “be” versus “do”? If you can pinpoint that or at least try on some options, self-care is going to start to feel less like a foreign concept or something you don’t have time for and more like a need. Earlier, I talked about the dynamics around you may be reinforcing this way of being. So whether it is you who has an aversion to you slowing down or it is the people around you who prevent you from doing that, you need to start communicating with your team to give you some relaxation time as well as remind you (kindly) to do it as well. You may need to find a relaxation buddy who will remind you and keep you accountable to squeeze this super important thing like a yoga class or a walk with a friend into your busy schedule. Whatever you need to do to make it stick, do it.

You really are valuable in both your most productive moments and in those moments when you merely exist. Try to remind yourself of that. Change takes some time and there can be push back to change internally and from others. But the toll that overscheduling yourself is taking on you and your relationships is not worth it. So find some time to breathe deeply and take it all in instead of having such a laser focus on the task at hand. Find some perspective. And start moving things around on that calendar so that “me time” is a regular date that you keep!

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