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Guest Blogger: The High Cost of Over-Commitment by Dr. Melanie Wilson

I am so honored to have Dr. Melanie Wilson as my guest blogger this month.  She is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mom of six. She is the author of So You’re Not Wonder Woman, the story of psychology’s failure to change her life and how she discovered the Super Power for being fit, organized, and joyful. Melanie also authors the blogs, Not Wonder Woman and Motivated Homeschooler, where she offers tips, how to’s, and inspiration for Wonder Woman wannabes.

 

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The High Cost of Over-Commitment

by Dr. Melanie Wilson

 

When Daphne asked me to write a guest post on over-commitment, I had to laugh. I was in the midst of one of the most busy, stressful months of my life. When I tried to explain to family and friends just what was keeping me so preoccupied, I was at a loss for words. “Just trust me,” I said, “it’s been crazy.”

 

This particular period of craziness has helped me admit that over-commitment is no laughing matter. Some of the serious side effects of too many time demands include:
 

Less time with the Lord.

I list this consequence first because it can have the biggest negative impact. Giving up time in prayer means you go longer between times of confession. It means you try to succeed in your own strength. During one of the particularly stressful events I was involved in this month, a godly man reassured me that God was going to make everything go smoothly because he had been praying about it for months. Unlike this man, I was spending less time in prayer and was anxious as a result. Giving up time in God’s Word means potentially forgetting the big picture. It means you start to think of yourself as being more important than you really are. I saw this error in myself as I tried to relate what a “big deal” my time demands were to others.

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12: 3)

 

Less time with family.

The more important outside demands on your time become, the less important your family members are to you. We may try to excuse our absence and inattentiveness with the temporary nature of our schedules, but when over-commitment becomes a habit, relationships suffer. Now that my busy time is over, my son keeps asking me, “Where ya goin’, Mom?” even though I’m staying home. While I’m not the most important person in the world, I’m very important to my family. When I’m not there, physically or emotionally, there’s a difference. One key negative change has been more bickering amongst the kids.

 

Irritability.

When we have no time to relax, we can often be short with the people we love most. We can be rude to people we don’t even know. We’re bad witnesses and worst of all, we feel justified in being cranky. I have to admit that because I had so much to do this past month, I expected people to be especially nice to me. Being crabby and expecting people to be sweet in return is foolish, especially when we’ve contributed to our circumstances.

 

Break in routines.

Regular times with God and family aren’t the only habits we tend to throw out during our busy times. Exercise, sleep, eating, and work schedules may all be changed drastically as we try to get it all done. The consequence is often getting sick and getting even less done than normal.

 

Failure.

Whether it’s forgetting something or just performing poorly, the consequence of trying to keep too many plates spinning is that something’s going to crash. When we depart from Kentucky Fried Chicken’s motto and try to do more than one thing really well, we’re likely to be disappointed. Even though I didn’t feel that I failed this last month, I’m not happy with my performance. I know I could have done better if I had been doing less.

 

Exhaustion.

Just because you manage to do it all without many disasters, it doesn’t mean you’re safe at home. The stress you’ve endured can lead to days of fatigue that can lead to illness and malaise. Although my commitments are over, I would still like to lie in bed undisturbed for a week. That leads me to a final side effect of over-commitment.

 

A long re-entry period.

The consequences of doing too much aren’t limited to your busy time. While you’ve been going, going, going, your regular responsibilities have been piling up. You’ll have to expend even more energy getting back on track at a time when that’s the last thing you feel like doing. More than one woman has found a period of over-commitment to be her downfall in maintaining a healthy eating plan, exercise schedule, or other positive routine. Right now I’m feeling the full effects of over-commitment hangover and I do NOT want to feel this way again.

 

I hope you agree with me that over-commitment just isn’t worth the cost and you’d like to do something about it. In my next post, we’ll look at why we tend to over-commit and how we can avoid it.

 

Have you had the same experience with over-commitment that I have? What has it cost you?

 

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