Before agreeing to do a project, determine how much
time it will take to prepare and where we
can find the time to work in the preparation time.
A lot of our stress comes from over scheduling. We have put too much on our plate. There is not enough time and energy to do all the things we want to do or have committed ourselves to do.
Why do we over schedule? Often it is to prove our self-worth.
The reasoning is that if I am busy, I am important.
When someone asks us to do a task, we look at our calendar to see if the date is open. Most likely, if the date is open we may agree to do the project. The problem is that we did not check something else as important as the open time. This failure shows up weeks before the deadline.
We feel the stress of having too much to do and too little time and energy to do it. So to give ourselves time, we neglect some important projects or stay up late at night working on them. We lament, 'Why did I ever agree to do this? I don't have time.'
One of my seminary professors, who had been an efficiency expert before coming to our faculty, offered a stress saving tip. When someone asks him to do a project such as give a seminar, he not only looks at the date to see if it is open but he sits down and figures up how much time it will take to create the talk or to design the project.
Then he starts working backwards from the appointed date to see where he can find the time for the preparation. If he cannot find time for the preparation, he declines the offer. This is wonderful advice. Before agreeing to do a project, determine how much time it will take to prepare and where we can find the time to work in the preparation time.
When asked to do a task or project, most of us think we have to give an immediate answer. Sometimes the requests are presented as urgent so we should give an answer immediately. It is only after we have had time to think about what we have agree to that we begin regretting our decision. The truth is that most requests are not urgent.
To avoid a lot of unnecessary stress, we need to give ourselves time to think and process our decision. It is wise to say to the person making the request, 'Let me think about it and I'll get back to you.' This gives us time to really think if we really want to do the task and decide if we have enough time to do it.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700
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