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Guest Blogger: How to Avoid 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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How to Avoid Over-Commitment

by Dr. Melanie Wilson

 
 

If you agree that there’s a high cost to over-commitment, you should be motivated to avoid it if at all possible. Before I share what I think are good methods for preventing the madness, let’s discuss why we over-commit in the first place.

 
Why Do We Over-commit?

 If over-commitment is so bad for us (and believe me, it is!), why do we do it? I’ve been asking myself that question. For as long as I can remember, people have told me that I need to learn to say “no.” I honestly don’t struggle with saying no to others as much as saying no to me.

  • I think I over-commit because I like being busy more than being bored.
  • I do it because I get an adrenaline rush from doing a lot of fun things (yes, some of my commitments were very fun!).
  • I worry that I won’t have another chance at some of the opportunities.

 

I could dig deeper in psychoanalytic fashion, but honestly, I think there’s a simple error at work when I agree to do too much: I focus on what I can do rather than on what I should do. When I get the email asking if I can speak for a women’s event, I look at the calendar and think, “Hey, that night’s open. I’ll do it.” That kind of time management is a little like asking how many people you can possibly stuff into your car clown-style. Even though it might be record-breaking, it’s crazy. If I took what I was considering to the Lord, I know He would veto it, so sadly I often don’t.

 

How Can We Avoid Over-commitment?

 

Really pray first.

By “really pray” I don’t mean to prayerfully think, “Should I do this? Ok! It’s a go!” Instead, refuse to agree to a major time commitment before you’ve been quiet before the Lord and waited to hear from Him. If I had taken my long potential list to God, I’m pretty sure I would have heard a holy ha ha ha.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

 

Seek loving counsel.

My husband is very protective of my time. He knows from experience what his life, our marriage, and our children’s lives will be like when I’m in over my head. If I had asked him whether to take on all of these opportunities, he would have been very clear about it. That’s why I didn’t ask him. But I will next time.

 

Recognize that life isn’t musical chairs.

God has a chair set aside for me and you and no one else can sit in it—even if we say no to something great for now. We don’t have to rush to accomplish His purpose for us. Jesus was never in a hurry and neither was the Apostle Paul. I don’t think I’m more important than they were.

 

Look at your calendar using a worst-case scenario.

I always think that I’m going to have things done ahead of schedule and invariably, I’m running around frantically at the last minute. Instead of assuming that you’ll be all ready for Event A so Event B will fit on the calendar, estimate how much time it will take if you leave everything to the last minute. If you can’t prepare adequately for both events at the last minute without staying up all night, pass on one of them. I can’t tell you how much I wish I had taken this advice.

 

Why do you over-commit? Do you have any other ideas for avoiding it?

 

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