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Meme Time! Next up - Commitment

You comment to my post asking for five words. I will give you five words that I think of when I think of you. You will post them to your blog and post what those words make you think of, in depth.

theafaye gave me: editing, beach, cats, commitment, support

On first glance, some people might say that I struggle with making commitments, but I would have to disagree with them. I have no problem with making commitments, however I'm extremely reluctant to make commitments upon which I suspect I may not be able to follow through.

This wasn't always the case. I used to happily make promises, with every intention of keeping them, and then I would run into trouble later on down the line when I ran out of time. It resulted in the worst possible feeling - that feeling of letting others down. One of my friends gave me this book called Take Time For Your Life which had an amazing impact. I learned that with all of my commitments, I had actually been expecting myself to do approximately 30 hours worth of work (including sleep, socialization and personal care), in a 24 hour day period. No wonder I felt constantly defeated - I had zero chance of achieving this since it wasn't actually possible!

At that time, I had to immediately begin cutting things out of my life. A lot of people became very angry with me - rightly so. I had promised them things, and I was backing out of the commitment. However when you broke it all down, it became apparent that I hadn't a snowball's chance in hell of fulfilling most of those commitments anyway. The person who was losing out was me and my family, since I was sleeping less and spending less time with them. When it comes time to letting people down, the people that tend to top the list are family, since they are most likely to forgive you. This is often completely contrary to a person's priorities, since family will trump friends most of the time.

After reading the book and realizing I needed to cut a bunch of commitments out of my life, I prioritized my life in terms of "me-time"; "family-time"; "work-time"; "friends time" (and in approximately that order), and then I slotted my commitments into those categories. They got cut from the bottom up, until I was down to a less than 24 hour/day expectation of myself.

Nowadays, I am extremely reluctant to take on a project, unless I truly believe I can handle the extra workload. Knowing that I have a tendency to take on too much (it's all just 20 minutes of this, and 30 minutes of that - totally do-able, right? Not.) and that my time can get nickel-and-dimed away, I have to be very wary of my own tendencies, and really think things through.

Letting go of the commitment of being on the Condo Board earlier this week, has been another attempt to clear up some time for myself. Somehow I managed to over-commit myself again, despite my best efforts to avoid this. Except with the Condo Board, I hadn't exactly volunteered for the workload I ended up acquiring, so it was easy to let go of that particular commitment. Hopefully that one alone will be enough, because the rest are going to be much harder. Time will tell.


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