“There are only so many hours in a day.” “You can’t do it all.” “You’re only human.” “If you take that on, what are you willing to give up?”
Teachers, lecturers, friends, and family. At one point or another, they have all thought I was ‘doing too much’ or ‘at risk’ of doing too much. I value each of these people and trust their judgement. Each has spoken of sacrifice. Choosing between one commitment and another, so as not to ‘over-fill’ my time.
Well… were I to subscribe to that manner of thinking, they would be correct. That said, I am not them and our capabilities are different. So too, the ‘me’ they may be thinking of is not necessarily the same ‘me’ I am now. With each day, we grow and develop and change – so too do our capabilities.
I personally believe that organisation is key to every commitment. In Scouts, we have a planning meeting before every term, usually at least a month in advance. This term, one of our activities was ‘junk modelling’. With a month to collect bottles and cartons, I barely had to think about preparing for this activity. However, had we only given ourselves a week’s notice, I would have had the struggle of fishing in the recycling bin for containers. Even then, I would be unlikely to find enough materials to make the meeting really successful.
Similarly, I am hosting a number of four-course meals next month, which require a significant amount of preparation. At the same time, I am under severe pressure to meet my dissertation deadlines, while adhering to my other regular commitments; Scouts, part-time work, other University work and extra-curricular activities. If I were to attempt to do all the food preparations on the days that I’m hosting, my guests would be lucky to be served jelly! So – while my work schedule is less intense – I am cooking and preparing for the busy time ahead.
I do not believe that you can ever demand too much of yourself, within reason. We each have a personal work-life balance scale, and therefore our own limits on what is reasonable in terms of mental, emotional, and physical bodily restrictions.
I am not advocating that everyone take on more commitments than they are currently undertaking. However, I may be the only person today to ‘tell’ you that you are more capable than you – or others – may think. I urge you to not only follow your big dreams, but to pursue your smaller ambitions and desires along the way too.
The better organised you are, the more projects you can take on. I do not mean following military routines, and there are times where individual commitments take up more time than others (e.g. during examination season, I take on fewer hours of paid work). But there is always room for compromise and experimentation. There is no harm in trying out different tools and approaches until you discover what works best for you!
More mindfulness and wellbeing tips can be found in my motivational calendar for 2019.
Whether reflecting on experience, or looking forward in anticipation, every day is an opportunity to do something positive. TV psychologist & author Dr Audrey Tang (43) and creative writer & millennial business blogger Rachel Gordon (23) have teamed up to inspire your 2019 – whatever your age!
We have also released a charity edition within the Mindful Motivations range, from which all proceeds will be donated to the children’s mental health charity Place2Be. Please purchase a calendar to help us support this worthwhile cause.