Friday, March 31, 2017

April & May Happiness Project: My Schedule

As I've mentioned in several recent posts, my schedule hasn't exactly been a source of happiness in my life lately. While each thing I say yes to brings me happiness, for the most part, the sum of all of these yeses makes me feel overwhelmed and overtired. 

As part of our marriage prep through the church, we had to complete a questionnaire about our compatibility and personalities.  We scored in the highest quadrant of happiness, contentment, and conflict resolution. But one thing that came up during our discussion about the questionnaire and our relationship in general was my tendency to over schedule. To be clear, Phil is not the kind of person who tells me what I can or cannot do.  He is happy that I am an independent person with a full life.  But he also hears me mentions over and over how overly busy I feel.  And he also wishes that I would work more on relaxing versus filling every single hour with productivity on the weekends.  But I feel like I have to pack so much productivity into weekends because I'm gone so much during the week since I am over scheduling myself! So I need to plan less so I can relax more. 

I've mentioned my need to plan less countless times on this blog, but I have yet to actually do anything about it.  That's because saying I am going 'plan less' is so vague.  I do better with more specific ways of managing my life. 

So I've decided to be really specific with this goal to manage my schedule.  I've decided that I will not say yes to anything that isn't already on my calendar between now and our wedding, which is 7 weeks from today (!!!!).  One caveat to that is that I will say yes to wedding-related meetings and appointments as I will obviously have some details to attend to in the final weeks before the wedding.  But beyond that, I will be saying no to everything else. 

I know this may seem extreme to some, but it's what I need to do in order to go into our wedding week feeling prepared and rested and relaxed.  The last several months have been so chaotic. I feel so exhausted and have been sleeping like crap because my mind just spins with all that is going on. So I need to this for me - and for Phil. 

That doesn't mean that I won't do anything social over the next 7 weeks - I just won't be committing to anything in advance.  If the weekend rolls around and we feel like doing something with others, we'll see if any of our friends are free and get together with them. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel over the next 7 weeks.  This goal will cover the months of April and May as we leave for our honeymoon right after our wedding and get back on May 31st. I think it's going to be so good for me and maybe it will help me learn how to say no without feeling bad or guilty. Because saying no to others is really saying yes to myself, which is important to do. 

Do you struggle with over scheduling?  Do you have any tips or tricks to recommend to a serial over-scheduler like me?


Jeanie said...

That doesn't sound extreme at all. It sounds smart. I know because I lived that life and the only way to NOT live it is to not do it. You really want the wedding to be the best it can be -- and it will be, I'm sure, whether you overschedule or not. But you won't enjoy it nearly so much if you are stressed out about it. Now is the time to just recharge, do your work and what you have to do and only say yes when it fits into your life at the right time.

Lisa, you'll pull this off. And it will probably be a valuable learning experience for later in life, too! You might even like it!

Carolina John said...

I think your shouldless days are a great way to prevent overscheduling! Love that concept.

Ice-T also has a podcast with an early episode about the Power of NO - it's really hard to get a "yes" out of T, it's a fascinating conversation that also made it hard to get a yes out of me after I listened to it.

I chronically overschedule races. Hobbies dominate my free time probably more that it should much to Kelley's dismay. Setting up 3 marathons in march and 2 50k's in april is just nonsense. The first marathon got dropped to a half and none of the others are going to happen, it looks like.

Abby said...

I think this is really good for you!!! Because yes - you are over-scheduled with so many different things going on. Always good to take some time to hunker down and simplify as much as you have control over!!

You've got this!!

I have the problem of relaxing as well. Hate it. In fact, when I see Ryan sit down in the evening, it almost irritates me? lol - and then I realize how crazy I am. I wonder where we got this trait from?? ;)

Amber said...

I am excited to see how this very specific goal works out for you as I know paring down your schedule is something you've struggled with in the past. I think this is a really great idea. It's only seven weeks of saying no! AND hopefully at the end of those 7 weeks you will just become much better at saying no in general!

Gracie said...

I say yes a lot, too, but mostly I enjoy being busy. However, we have some weeks with activities almost every night, and weekends almost always have three or more social engagements! You definitely need to be able to relax before your wedding, so I think your plan makes sense. I'm sure it will take getting used to, but then you'll start sleeping better and having more free time, and you'll be happy you said a few no's.

Caroline said...

I'm interested to see how the next seven weeks go! I think this is an awesome idea. I don't really have an issue with overscheduling these days... I made a rule for myself that I don't make plans on Sunday evenings or Mondays because those are the days that I usually try to get organized and ready for the week. During busy season, I'm usually pretty tired on Sundays and Mondays too after long wedding days! I also try to only make one weekday evening plans with friends per week (but I'm not strict about this.. for example just last week I had two nights of plans with friends). Anything more than that feels like too much for me! But I am such an introverted home body haha :)

Stephany said...

Overscheduling is never something I've struggled with, mostly because I'm an introvert and I hold my alone time to be sacred. Typically, I only have 1 or 2 nights of plans during the week, and then I try to make Sundays as plan-less as possible because I like a slow Sunday to prepare myself for the week ahead.

I'm also incredibly good at turning down plans if I know I won't have the energy for them. I try not to say yes to something unless it's pre-scheduled and I can harness my energy to prepare for it (spur of the moment plans are NOT for me!), but I also know that if I have two nights of plans and someone asks me to do something another night of that same week, I'll say no. (And remember: no is a full sentence!) For me, I just get overstimulated and then crabby from too much social time, so I've learned what works best for me. I'm lucky in that most of my friends are introverts and that the ones who ARE extroverts understand me and my need for space. I've even helped some of my extroverted friends learn how to slow down and schedule less, mostly because I don't think ANY of us needs a full, busy, do-something-everyday-of-the-week life, no matter if you're an introvert or extrovert. We ALL deserve alone time.

Sorry I wrote a novel. Obviously I'm passionate about this topic! I hope these next 7 weeks are a bit more relaxing for you (well, as relaxing as they can be with a wedding coming up!).

Charbelle4 said...

So proud of you!!! I know this is incredibly hard to do!!! I promise you are going to feel so much better!!!!!

Sandra Bond said...

I used to have a very full schedule (back home where I was part of a huge social circle), every since I moved to the US, things have changed considerably. Most of my friends (even new ones that I made over the years) are not local, so I don't have a ton of commitments and it's easy to NOT overschedule. I actually wish sometimes that J and I would have more commitments sometimes to get us out of the house. So, my advice for you I guess, move somewhere where you don't have a ton of local friends? LOL (Ok, I know I am not being helpful), but I think putting an active break on any advance commitments right now will hopefully achieve a bit more peace of mind.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I think that is a really great plan. I struggled with over-scheduling for all of my teens, and my 20s. I was also a people pleaser and offered to lead everything/ take on everything/ plan everything, etc. I really made a change when I saw that I was neglecting my own happiness.

Now, we will schedule things in advance for the weekends, such as a dinner party with friends, or a larger gathering that our close friends are throwing (like a 90s party tonight to celebrate a friend's birthday), but we don't commit to smaller things like going to see local bands, or just going out for drinks or something like that very often. If we notice that we already have a couple weekends in a month with plans, such as one weekend Christopher's band is playing, and another we're in Saskatoon, we'll make sure to block one weekend off and write "staying home". On those weekends we do nothing but cook and relax. We try to run all our errands, clean house etc. on Thursday evenings (or an evening during the week), and get groceries on Fridays right after work so that even the weekends in which we do have something going on, it's just the one fun thing, and that's it.

Being gone during the week, as you often are, would definitely throw a wrench in being productive during the week. That's super tough. I really hope this 7 weeks with out committing to things helps you figure out a balance for that, and allows you to rest up a lot before the BIG day!!