One second your schedule is totally open, and the next you’re so booked up that you actually have to pencil in time for sleep. Instead of getting stressed, take a breath: There’s a solution that will allow you to stick to the plans you’ve made and feel happy and fulfilled in the process. Because, sometimes doing it all can be a little much.
According to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, over-scheduling can quickly turn your life into one big blur, preventing you from experiencing the most memorable moments to the fullest. “One of the reasons people feel they don’t have time for adventures in their lives is that their schedules are booked up with things that they don’t wish to do and various commitments they’ve taken on. They don’t have space for the fun stuff because their calendar is full of not-fun stuff,” she tells Today.
While learning how to say no to unnecessary obligations is important, it’s also pivotal to really assess what you’re agreeing to in the first place. It’s easy to say yes to things weeks and months in advance because your schedule is so open, but that’s exactly why it winds up becoming so overwhelming. Instead, Vanderkam says it’s important to think about your future self and ask yourself one question before making any commitments: “Would I do it tomorrow?”
It’s important to think about your future self and ask yourself one question before making any commitments: “Would I do it tomorrow?”
After thinking about your answer, how you fill up your schedule becomes a lot easier. If it’s a yes, you’ll feel the same way about the commitment in the future and it will still be something you’d want to do. But if it’s already a no, there’s a solid chance it’s not something you’ll want to do down the line, either—and will most definitely regret agreeing to.
After taking the time to decide just how excited—or not-at-all excited—you are about something, it makes your decision clear as day. Sure, you might have to turn down a lot more people, but that’s ok: your future self will thank you.
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