(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)
My relationship with my schedule is complicated. I often overestimate how much I can do in an hour, never mind a day or a week. My calendar gets crammed with commitments. I end up stressed out and frustrated that I couldn’t achieve it all – even if it was unrealistic to begin with. It makes me feel horrible. When I feel bad, I don’t behave very well. I snap at my husband. I eat stuff I wish I hadn’t. I watch endless episodes of mindless Netflix. I feel powerless and out of control. It’s a self-destructive cycle. I know this about myself. I don’t like it, but I continue to cram my schedule. What is that all about? As I said, it’s complicated.
Perhaps you can relate to continuing to make a choice you don’t want to make that lands you at a destination you have no desire to visit. It could be that for you it’s not about your time, maybe it’s about your diet, your relationships, your stress levels or your spending habits. Are you stuck in a pattern that is not serving you? Do you find yourself on auto-pilot and before you know it, you’ve landed at that particular destination you promised yourself you would never visit again? It could be that, like me, you understand how you got there – the choices you made – you’re just not sure how to stop yourself from returning. It’s like you don’t even need to be present, your plane knows how to fly there all on its own. Perhaps it’s time to look at why you keep returning. There is some kind of benefit to you in continuing your current behaviour. It’s the reason you keep going back to it. I know it sounds strange and counter-intuitive. Trust me – it’s true. You’re gaining something from repeatedly making that choice. Ask yourself this question.
What’s the payoff for me when I make this choice?
It took a bit of digging to unearth my own payoff for continuously cramming my schedule. Don’t be discouraged if what you gain doesn’t immediately come to mind. It’ll be worth the effort once you get to it. Understanding the faulty thought process, the payoff, behind my past decisions in this area has given me an added incentive to make a change. Thanks to some work I did with a coach, I’ve put some structures in place that will remind me of the future choices I want to make in this area.
Here’s what I did:
- I wear a beaded bracelet to remind me not to rush through my days but rather to enjoy every step of the journey.
- I have an image in a prominent place that reminds me of the things I’m saying yes to and the things I’m saying no to in this area. It helps me remember and to keep my focus.
- I have started padding my schedule to give myself more time for a task than I think I need.
- I have started scheduling regular times for things that are important to me even if they are not work-related.
Asking yourself what you gain from that bad habit can be a good first step towards making a change. The next step is to choose some structures that will help remind you of the choice you want to make.
I’m a writer, speaker and coach, who is passionate about helping ordinary people move beyond what is holding them back so that they can live extraordinary lives. You can connect with me here or learn more about coaching with me.