Photo courtesy of petiteamie (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of petiteamie (Creative Commons)

The weather finally cooperated this holiday weekend here in Middle Tennessee and I was able to get out to the pool. We’ve had a string of rainy, cold weekends for over a month, so it was a welcomed change.

I slicked on my suntan lotion, grabbed my book and towel and headed out.  Felt so good laying there in the warmth, talking to a friend, listening to music, reading. I actually stayed longer than I had planned.

Later that night, I noticed that parts of me were a bit warm – and red. Evidently, when I slicked on that suntan lotion, I didn’t cover everything evenly, so there were some spots I missed, most notably the backs of my legs. I didn’t pay enough attention at the start, and therefore parts of me were more vulnerable than others to the sun.

It’s like with my plans and commitments. I don’t always pay enough attention at the start, and sometimes things happen that make me realize I’m more vulnerable than I should be.

When I say yes to a new project or commitment, I don’t always ask enough questions to see what the real investment of time and effort will be. I’m then caught off guard later when there are more meetings or more time required than I had expected, and that affects other plans or commitments.

What I need to get better at doing is asking more questions before I say yes. And that might mean I have to delay giving an answer until I have the full information. I think it’s a common knee-jerk reaction to be so flattered and honored that someone has asked you to do something that you say yes automatically. But sometimes it’s just that they’ve asked everyone else and they all said no!

There are two things I will pay more attention to and define:

  1. Take stock of all of my current projects and commitments so that I can devote the proper amount of time to making progress and/or completing them suitably.
  2. Define what my goals and objectives are in key areas of my life so that new projects or commitments flow into those areas and complement them.

I will be careful of saying yes to anything until I have those two things determined, or I risk leaving myself too vulnerable. It is worse to say yes to something and not do it well, than it is to say no from the beginning. At least if you say no, then the person asking you to commit has an opportunity to find someone who will be able to do it well.

How do you protect yourself from over commitment?