Confessions of a Yes Addict — A Case of Failed Balance

Will you serve on the calendar committee? Yes, absolutely!

Will you help with the upcoming community fundraiser? Yes, no problem!

Will you serve on the Extension Board? Yes, I can fit that in!

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

When our blogging group #CompelledTribe for the month of March had the theme on the topic of work and life balance. I knew this was the opportunity to reflect on my own struggling approach to this part of my life. I’m trying to get better…I swear, but it has been hard.

I’ve always told myself I thrive under pressure…that my best work comes from being under pressure. This attitude has often left me eating off more than I can chew. Even more so, I know this mindset is false because as a student in college I made the intentional choice to not be involved in no more than two activities beyond my academic studies.

That decision allowed me to work a full-time job while attending school and pay for college with no debt. It also allowed me to save money so that my first gift to my spouse, Annelle, was a newly purchased car. It has been helpful to think back to that part of my life as an example of when I did it right.

Then I became a full-time teacher. Working in a small school everyone steps up (especially when the staff has 13 teachers total). That was my excuse. Then living in a small community, I’ve fallen in love with, there again is a lot of work to go around to an active few. Again, that was my excuse. As I have thought and reflected on this, I’ve quickly realized the pace I’ve set for myself and my family is not only unsustainable, but deeply unhealthy.

Saying yes to every opportunity means more than just another responsibility on my plate. It also means I’m saying no to something else. It’s saying no to the deeply rewarding pursuit of blogging. It’s saying no to spending time with family. It’s saying no to other opportunities that will mean more than the frivolous yeses I hand out each time I’m asked.

A strategic reset is the season I’m about to enter. Annelle is in the midst of a career change that will greatly alter our lifestyle. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. As Spring slogs on, I’m adopting three actionable steps to help in this reset (and moving forward):

1. I will not say ‘Yes’ as a knee jerk reaction- I will go back and wait at least 24 hours to look at how the opportunity aligns with our family’s trajectory before I agree to a new responsibility. During this 24 hour period, I will also pray and visit intentionally with my spouse about whether to accept the opportunity as well.

2. Create a full (honest) inventory of all my current responsibilities and projects- I will sort these into four categories: purpose filling, get done and move on, as time allows, and required for life/work (the essentials).   
3. Taking back my mornings- there is a sweet spot time where my deep work and day setting occur. It is between 4am and 5:30am. This is when I typically delve into my devotional, drink coffee, blog/write/journal, and take time to think and reflect. These times since Spring began have been absorbed by other “pressing” items. I must remind myself daily that no work is greater than sharpening the saw of my faith, my strength, and my mind.

Thank you #CompelledTribe for selecting this as a Spring Theme! I’m so encouraged by the blogs in the group! 

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