By Shannon Haddaway
Overwhelm and busy-ness are part of our culture. I am no stranger to feeling completely overwhelmed and living as if I was spinning plates in the air. It felt as though if one more thing came at me, the plates would come crashing down around me in a huge, heaping mess. There was a time in the not so distant past, when I said yes to everything that came my way. I was a people pleaser to the core, and to say no to someone meant they wouldn’t like me anymore, or not ask me to serve on their committee, or chair the fundraiser, or invite my kid to their kid’s birthday party. All of which would have utterly devastated me. I couldn’t fathom uttering the word “no”, nor did I understand that I have the power in my life to say yes or no or anything I want because I am at the helm and I have a choice.
The sad thing is, I would say yes to all of these things and I would then completely flake on half or even more of them. At the time I couldn’t understand why I would agree to these things and then not show up, or, show up but not fully BE THERE. It took time for me to understand that the reason I didn’t follow through on many of these commitments was because they didn’t make my soul come alive. They didn’t make me smile in gratitude for having the opportunity to serve, to give back to the community in a way that truly resonated with me. And they didn’t do this because I had no idea who I was anymore. After years of having babies and going through all that life threw at me, I had lost my voice.
After years of inner work, I re-discovered my voice and learned how to say “no” without thinking twice about it. I also implemented a technique to help me prune my over-full, over-flowing schedule so that I had more time to give to the people and activities that brought me joy. If you’re looking for a way to cut some things out to free yourself, the “ABC Technique” will be a game changer!
- Get a piece of poster-board
- Make sure your calendar is handy
- Divide the poster board into 5 sections
- Write each letter to label the sections: A, B, C, D, E:
C. Not important/Not-urgent
5. Now, go through your calendar and your life and write down everything you do under the section it belongs under
After you have successfully written every single thing down, just spend some time looking it over and truly processing it. Then, if required, take the action necessary to cut superfluous commitments out of your life. You’ll be surprised how much time you have just gifted yourself! Enjoy the added hours and do what you love, not what you dread.