Ending over-commitment is one of the biggest obstacles people have when trying to create an ageless lifestyle after 50. But having a peaceful, ageless mind can be achieved. You can get rid of the stress of saying yes to too many things in 10 seconds.
It's possible by educating yourself on how you spend your time and how you want to spend your time in the future. It all comes down to having the ability to say no.
I wrote about this topic on LynnPierce.com and here's a reprint of that article.
In three words, ending over-commitment starts with ‘proper calendar management’. Don’t hit the delete button! It’s not an intensive process, it takes less than five minutes a day, really.
Calendar users fall into two camps, more or less. There’s the camp that lives by their calendar and has everything synched from their computer to every other device they own. These people are usually perceived as being overly analytical by the other camp.
The second camp has a calendar on their computer and uses it only for appointments. They consider themselves to be creative and don’t want to be tied down by too much structure.
I realize both of these are stereotypes, but they are based in the reality of clients I work with.
Somehow I fall into the first group because I calendar everything and I’ve seen how the more I use my calendar, the easier my life flows. At the same time I’m a creative person who fights just about every kind of structure, and yet somehow I’ve made this work for me.
Would you like to know how I made my calendar my best friend and my most important tool not only in my business but in my life?
I came to the realization about 6 or 7 years ago that I really didn’t know how I was spending my time during the day. I knew what was important to me, but was that really what I was spending the majority of my time doing?
How would I know? I could only guess.
When it came time to look at delegating, how could I delegate if I didn’t know how much time I was spending doing things someone else could do or if I didn’t even know how often I actually did those tasks.
At that time I started an experiment which quickly became a habit.
I found 3 benefits of making your calendar your best friend.
#1 You Can’t Change What You Can’t See
If you don’t know how you’re spending your time during your work day, you have no idea on a scale of 1 to 100 what percentage of time is being spent to it’s highest and best use.
If I asked you to go back and fill in your calendar with how you spent your day yesterday in half hour increments, do you feel confident you could accurately do that?
Could you go back two weeks? Definitely not if you don’t calendar everything you do during the day. Our memories just aren’t that strong.
But how can you gauge your efficiency of completing tasks that move you closer to your desired end result if you don’t have them on your calendar?
How can you tell what percentage of your time could be freed up by paying someone $10 an hour rather than you doing it? What if for $400 a month you could get someone to do tasks that would allow you to add a carefree spa weekend or a wine tasting weekend with your girlfriends to your month because you have the time now.
And you have the money because you’re focused on the creative work only you can do and now you’re getting more of that done which leads to more income producing time.
Thank your calendar for that.
#2 Stop Over-Commitment Now In One Step
The biggest way I’ve found my clients over-committing themselves is when they have no idea how much time a project they already have in process is going to take.
They don’t know because they haven’t broken down how much time each task will take. You don’t know how much time a task will take because you’ve never calendared it.
So you say yes when you really need to say no because your calendar isn’t giving you an accurate representation of how much time you really have available.
Yes, you will be doing tasks you haven’t done before. But there are only so many types of tasks that show up in your life. Once you start to ball park a time allotment for a task on your calendar, you’ll see how close you actually come to the time it really takes. Now you know. After you do similar tasks a few times, you’ll be able to estimate your timing pretty well.
Wouldn’t that help you know when you already have enough on your plate and really want to say no?
#3 Blueprint Your Top Goals
How can you put a date on the completion of a goal or project that’s important to you if you don’t have any idea how long it’s going to take you to do the pieces that go into it?
When you start a project how do you break it down into manageable steps with deadlines that are accurate if you don’t know how much time the task will take or how much time you will have available to dedicate to this project within the framework of your whole life?
When you map out what needs to take place to complete by a certain date along with the time for each piece you now know where this project will fit in your month or year or life.
This prevents you from eating up your evenings and weekends with miscalculations of your time.
Your calendar also gives you the tools to set markers to make sure you stay on track to hit your date for the completion of the project.
Setting goals and then arbitrarily giving it a 1 year time frame is meaningless if you don’t also create the blueprint for the rest of the process that’s going to make that possible.
That’s almost an impossibility to hit that deadline if you don’t have command over your time with an accurate calendar.
Take your life back and know what you’re doing and why with your calendar working for you.