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A Ph.D. in Overcommitment

A Ph.D. in Overcommitment

3 minute read

A Ph.D. in Overcommitment

4288 2848 Austin Barrow

A Ph.D. in Overcommitment

A question is lofted across the table, and the word commitment is written all over it. It’s a project that looks so appetizing, but you know that your plate is already way too full, but you just can’t help yourself. You say yes.

We all do this, and I genuinely believe that I have a Ph.D. in over commitment and my wife would verify this to be fact. I’ve always got big projects, small projects, personal projects, work projects, creative projects, to do lists, book lists, movie lists (damn you, you never ending Netflix queue!), etc., etc. And, I bet I’m not the only one out there.

Overcommitment in itself can also be a deterrent to the completion of goals.

So many times I find myself swirling in the ether of responsibility trying to find a way out to the point I just want to collapse and do absolutely nothing, and honestly, that’s usually what happens. I see an opportunity to sneak away for a half an hour and not feel responsible for anything or anyone.

These little respites of peace and sanity are the only way that I can make it through a tough week, and I used to feel sorry about these, but I realize now they may be the one thing keeping that nervous breakdown at bay. So, now I have fully embraced my own escapism but with one fatal flaw.

I began scheduling these moments in my day. This was a mistake. By planning these moments and not allowing them to organically happen, they became a burden in themselves because I began thinking about all the things I should be doing while I was away. No Bueno.

We all need to step away from time to time and gain a moment of peace and sanity. There are both positive and negative means to find this, and the difference between the two can sometimes be hard to spot (like binging an entire season of Ozark on Netflix). Although, in general as long as you are not harming your long-term welfare you are likely okay.

Overcommitment in itself can also be a deterrent to the completion of goals. Too many times I can get excited by the shininess of a new project when all I really want to do is stop working on the one right in front of me, and before I know it, I’ve only stretched my resources that much further. This is where you can quickly find that breaking point, or learn that you may have more gas in the tank than you thought.

I call this Startupitis, as I find more fun in the creation of an idea than I do in the completion of one. However, armed with this insight I have seen that shorter-term projects with tight deadlines provide me with a more specific reward system that prevents me from eyeballing the bright shiny object.

I would also be remiss if I left family out of this equation. So often we can ignore or put off our family duties off because of work projects which embolden our sense of pride in self, ignoring that our closest of friends and family merely want us to be happy and one more notch in your belt does not bring you any closer together. What brings you closer together is the sharing of time, and that old overcommitment thing can really get in the way of that.

So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, I caution you to consider the use of an essential and perhaps your new favorite word … no.

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