Clear your schedule of activities that don’t serve you

March 8, 2016
schedule, busy, overworked

schedule, busy, overworked


This post is part of a 14 ways to help rebuild self-confidence series.  We are working our way through the letters of SELF CONFIDENCE with this week’s focus being on the C in Confidence.  Previously covered are Self Compassion & Self Care, 10 Ways to Enjoy your Life, Learning, Love & Laughter, and Finding your passion & your happy place.


One thing that assists in a sense of Self-Confidence is feeling in control of your own destiny.  Have you heard the saying “the pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand”?

There are many things you can do to be in control of your own destiny but on this occasion we are talking about your day-to-day life, the sense of control you have over the activities that fill each moment of your days, and the impact of those choices on you and those you love.

Do you have a jam-packed schedule, the result of which means that your life is like being on a treadmill where you never or rarely get to hit pause let alone have time to stop, hop off, and smell the roses?  Maybe you’re always feeling stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted?

Have you ever made some time to take stock of what activities are filling the hours of each of your days, and then identify which ones really aren’t necessarily serving you and your current needs so could be eliminated or which activities could be delegated to someone else … so that you CAN find some time to pause and/or stop to smell the roses?  

If I were to rewind my life back to say 5-6 years ago, I could have done with taking stock of my day-to-day activities and clearing my schedule of many activities that were not serving me and I could have delegated some of my chores!  Instead, I tried to do it all and in the process was being depleted and robbed of precious energy stores that could have been used in ways that were far more important – like on myself and my kids!

Let’s see what life was like for me back then:

  • I had three adolescent children at three different high schools. Anyone with a child at school knows how much there is to keep on top of and up with. Times that by three!
  • I was Secretary of the Performing Arts Committee at my daughter’s high school. This required a lot of work at night at home and also on weekends helping out practically at the school or at performances.
  • I was a committee member on the P&F at one of my son’s schools. Aside from regular meetings, this too often involved weekend and evening commitments.
  • As a parent, I was required to attend a lot of evening events across all three schools.
  • Trying to keep fit – I went to boot camps on Saturdays.
  • Also trying to keep fit – I did Pilates on a Monday night.
  • I was working full-time doing my job and the job of my Manager, the position of which was vacant. I wasn’t paid for these extra duties. I took a lot of work home at night in order to keep up with the workload.
  • I was studying at night and sat two exams during work hours in order to be able to phase in a new project management methodology to the organization where I worked, as requested by management.
  • I ran a home for a family of five.
  • I cooked meals for five people every night.
  • I tried to keep up with my friends. I tried to be a good sister. I tried to be a good daughter. I tried to be a good mother. I tried to be a good wife.
  • I had two dogs to care for.
  • I tried to keep the house clean and in order but did not have enough time in which to do this.

The list goes on and on but you get the picture. The only thing I do recall that I did to help myself back then was that I engaged the services of a cleaner who came once per fortnight to clean bathrooms and do floors. That was a lovely bit of help to not ever have to worry about cleaning bathrooms or the floors! One big tick for the Min of 5 years ago!  Silly me though – I always used to feel the need to have a major tidy up before the cleaner came, otherwise ‘how embarrassing’?  Can you relate?!!

What else could I have done?  Well I certainly could have got my husband and kids to help out more with all the household chores.  I really wanted to contribute to each of my kids schools and I did, but I could have shortened the period of time I was committed to being on committees!  I also should have been better at saying no sometimes to all the weekend work for the schools.  I could have been a LOT kinder to myself.  I didn’t have to be so damn perfect at everything and I put way too much pressure on myself to be everything to everyone but never listened to the needs of myself!  I should have been practicing some self compassion and self care and I should have let go of some of my perfectionism!

How did my ridiculously busy schedule impact me and those I love?  I certainly was NOT the best version of myself that I could be.  I was absolutely exhausted all the time, stressed (though I didn’t always realise it), overwhelmed and rarely actually present for my family or for myself.  I was running on adrenaline.  Instead of taking stock and making some much-needed changes, I soldiered on trying to do it all and ultimately I had a major crash and burn.  As you could imagine, this not only impacted on me in many, many ways but also my immediate and extended family.

Don’t let this be you!   Listen to your body, your mind, and your spirit and if you are feeling stressed, frazzled, overwhelmed, or exhausted … maybe it is time to take stock of what activities are filling your days and make some changes!

These days life is very different for me.  I left the corporate world.  My kids are all finished school.  Two of them are finished University studies and are working.  One is still a University student.  I have time to pursue my creative interests.  For the first time in a long, long time – I am on NO committees! 

Here are a few posts I’ve written in the past that are relative to this subject that you might be interested in reading.

Declutter your mind

Conduct a Self Audit

Review, Plan, Do

Ciao for now,

Min-Signature

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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27 Comments

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit March 8, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Great post Min!

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks Leanne!

  • Reply Nicole @ The Builders Wife March 8, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I spent a lot of time thinking that exhaustion was going to have to be my friend, but I hate it, and have learnt to delegate in order to get that time required to get what I need to get done, and allow time for rest. Being that parent of teenagers is hard, busy but rewarding work. xx

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      I thought the same Nicole. I was wrong. I paid the price. Glad you are much more clever than I was. Your post today certainly shows me that. Good for you! xo

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life March 8, 2016 at 9:48 am

    A great and timely reminder, as I’m just about to resign from one of my kids’ school P&C committees. It was just one extra activity too many and I always felt pressure to assist with the P&C committee activities because well not too many other people did!

    I’m definitely currently looking at some self care strategies to improve my constant juggling and stress levels.

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Good move Ingrid. Yes it is always the same people that help out at schools all the time. That is how I ended up staying on committee’s for years and years because I felt guilty to leave them in the lurch. Silly me. No one is indispensible! Good to see you’re taking some self care steps! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers March 8, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I’m running on crazy but I try not to commit to too many things outside of my absolute obligations because it would kill me. I do kindy and care drop offs for my boys, bus and train to work and then work till 5.30pm, getting home by train and walking in the door at 6.30pm. I try to limit anything outside of this to fun stuff because I have enough things on my plate as it is! Oh and blogging, blogging take up lots of time as well. #TeamIBOT

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Yep – certainly sounds like you’ve got quite enough on your plate Haidee! Keep that awareness going as the kids get older and life gets a little crazier! 😉 xo

  • Reply Vanessa March 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I avoid nearly all commitments. All I have now are work and study. And I don’t really see how I could add more to it without badly crashing and burning.

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Good for you Vanessa! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Hugzilla March 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I hate being busy, so I say no to lots of things without guilt and tend not to over-schedule myself. Busyness used to be the “in-thing” and it’s fascinating now to see the pendulum swinging the other way. Now it’s all about slowing down.

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      It IS funny how the pendulum has swung the other way – yep it is all about slowing down and living more mindfully. I used to think being busy was how life just had to be and if I couldn’t handle it I was weak and useless. I hate being busy too and I don’t do busy anymore! Woo hoo! 🙂 xo

  • Reply shannon @my2morrows March 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I know what that treadmill feels like and I’m slowly learning how to slow it down. And to say no. Xx

    • Reply Min March 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Fantastic to hear Shannon! Go you! 🙂 xo

  • Reply JF Gibson March 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    This is a great post Min. I think that often things just build up and we don’t realise. By the time we do, we feel helpless to change anything.

    • Reply Min March 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Thanks so much Jodie. Yes you’re right – things CAN build up without us realising and you can end up feeling stuck and hopeless to make changes. That was me actually. The crash and burn took any decision making out of my hands so that I had no choice but to make changes. Best thing people can do is to have a good sense of self awareness, monitor how they are feeling and make some tweaks and changes when needed.

  • Reply Tegan March 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Wow I felt exhausted just reading everything you had on your plate Min! You must feel so much lighter not having all of those different things weighing on your mind.

    • Reply Min March 9, 2016 at 11:18 am

      I feel much, much lighter now Tegan. I do miss some parts of that life though you know. 🙂

  • Reply Trish March 8, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you , thank you for this post Min.
    I don’t feel so guilty now.
    Very enlightening about the number of committees and roles , the same parents, over and over feel like we must do as volunteers. Does that make sense.
    I’m getting overloaded with committee fatigue , though all very worthy causes and struggling for help – just picked 2 – Cancer Council Relay for Life (Event really) and Push for Palliative.
    Then soccer manager , this is kind of fun and I watch the games.
    The school P & C and maybe canteen duty will have to go on the back burner.
    My dragon boating participation is my me time and I’m grateful my husband picks up the slack especailly during summer daylight savings time – when it’s 2 afternoons/evenings a week and Saturday morning.

    • Reply Min March 9, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Oh thank you Trish! My God woman you have no need to feel guilty about anything! You do so much for others and you have so much on your own personal plate at the same time. I am very pleased to hear that you’re putting the school P&C and canteen duty on the back burner. Look after yourself! xo

  • Reply Renee Wilson March 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Fascinating, Min. The way you were 5 or 6 years ago is how I feel now. My anxiety is the worst it’s been and something has to change. I’m taking six months off work from Easter and I can’t wait. Maybe I can learn to relax again x

    • Reply Min March 9, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Oh Renee if you’re feeling like I was 5-6 years ago then I am SO SO happy to hear you are having six months off work from Easter! Use that time to not only relax but to do things you enjoy and to have a think about what changes you might be able to make so that when you return to work you won’t be setting yourself up to return to the exact same anxious and stressed state again. xo

    • Reply Kathy March 11, 2016 at 8:48 am

      So pleased you are taking this time out Renee. Let’s make sure we connect when you aren’t so busy.

  • Reply Cathy@lifethroughthehaze March 9, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Min

    Your writing really resonates with me. You are much further down the track than me and in amongst all my long list of things that I did (much like yours) I disassociated myself from all of those things. I have a long history of trauma and for some reason I have convinced myself that my trauma is not really that bad (though I know that if I was to read my story as an observer – or if it was someone else’s I would have a hard time understanding how they are functioning at all!) so I coped by being strong, stoic, the person everyone turned to, the person everyone counted on.

    This line “I should have been practicing some self compassion and self care and I should have let go of some of my perfectionism!” Oh my! Self compassion gosh that is hard isn’t it, so is self forgiveness!

    I really look forward to reading more and more of your writing!
    Cathy xoxo

    • Reply Min March 9, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Cathy, it means so much to know what I write resonates with someone and might even be helpful to them. I get a sense that what you’ve been through has been far worse than anything I’ve been through. No trauma is ‘not really that bad’. All trauma is trauma and can have devastating affects. I can relate to being the stoic person that everyone turned to and counted on. That was me, in every aspect of life – even at work I was the go to person for everyone with their problems. It’s my nature – I’m caring, a nurturer, want everyone to be happy kinda person. I’m still travelling along my track. Sometimes STILL I go off track but even those deviations teach me something. Yep self compassion and self forgiveness can be really hard, especially because most of us have that nasty little negative self talk voice in our heads that we need to IGNORE. I hope you find more stuff here that resonates with you, and all the very best of luck to you on your track! 😉 xo

  • Reply Kathy March 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    My God Min you really were very busy, no wonder it was so hard to be present. I know things aren’t so easy for you at the moment health wise so I’m sure you are heeding your own advice re self-care (and enjoying your photography).

    • Reply Min March 10, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Kathy – I’m sure there are people who are busier but yeah I was juggling way too much in hindsight! Now I’m too far the other way sometimes I think but then again I seem to need the time buffers that I have now. Yes a few health issues including bloody Contiki cough now (courtesy of my daughter) but I’ve slowed things down for a while to see me through! 😉 xo

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