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Filtering Accountability Intake

Accountability is great, but what if I already said yes to so many things and I just can not seem to have enough time to get things done. So how do we grow beyond that? 

 

I. The Overbooker

There are multiple types of procrastinators and one of them is called ‘The Overbooker’. Here are some of its characteristics: 

  • It is always busy and takes pride in being so; 
  • If there is a slight chance for an open up in their calendar, it will quickly get filled back into fully busy; 
  • Oftentimes it’s exhausted, overwhelmed and usually ends up being burnout; 
  • It has a mentality of ‘all or nothing’, sometimes has energy bursts and gets everything done in a very short time or it’s very tired and quits projects, commitments, dates everything, might end up seeming unreliable when in fact it’s just exhausted;
  • It is constantly mentally busy, which does not necessarily mean that it is busy in practice as well. This might translate into scrolling on its phone endlessly, watching TV for hours or idling in its own mind, wondering where the last few hours went; 
  • Oftentimes it knows exactly what needs to be done, but somehow doesn’t get started, even when it hits the last minutes of handing in that project, article, attending an event and so on; 
  • It usually suffers from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, it’s susceptible for loneliness and rarely has confidence even in its closest family members or friends; 
  • It is also known for low self esteem, lack of confidence in itself and perfectionism, adhering to the mentality that ‘if I can not do it right, might as well not do it at all’.

 

I used to be an overbooker, I used to get so excited about different projects and opportunities, would just jump on them without even thinking, not realizing that it affected my mental and physical health, not even mentioning personal relationships as I never seemed to have time for family and friends or even myself. In my mind, my whole identity has been built upon how much I was able to deliver. The more I delivered, the better I was – until reality hit and I’ve suffered several episodes of burnout. Let’s see how I escaped this habit. 

 

II. Creating Your Own Filter for Decision Making

Here is an important step that I took to create for myself some time to breathe and think about how my decision will impact my daily life, my mental and physical health. I’ve created an ‘internal filter’ that I use whenever I get too excited about a new opportunity or a project that I might have the tendency to say ‘yes’ too. 

 

This filter contains 3 major questions that I answer before saying ‘yes’: 

  • Is this good for my health, wealth and being?

The activity that I might embark on, or the engagement that I might say ‘yes’ to has to fulfill all of the above. Yes, it has to be good for my health, wealth and being at the same time. 

This is not the moment to make sacrifices nor compromises – it is a trap, if you do so. 

I was doing wonderful at my job, until I suffered from burnout, afterwards I wasn’t the same productive employee, right?! So it always circles back. 

Your well being will manifest itself on all of these 3 levels: health, wealth and being. Make sure all 3 benefit off of your decision that you are about to make. 

 

  • Will this take me closer to my purpose? 

Just because you can do it, it doesn’t mean you have to. There are  multiple occasions when we are asked to do something, and we have the tendency to say yes, just because we can do that activity, but we end up resenting it, as we did not find any joy in it, or it stole our time, or simply it wasn’t relevant for us. 

Imagine you are asked to sweep the floors of a high school courtyard – it is not hard, you can do it, it would take you a couple of hours, but hey you can do it – but is it relevant to you? How will this take you closer to your purpose? How will this contribute to your health?! 

*This is not a comfortable note, but it must be made: refuse to engage in activities that you hold the score for. Refuse to say ‘yes’, just so you can have someone in debt and to create an imaginary obligation. Refuse to use ‘you owe me’ phrases. Nobody ‘owes’ you anything and neither do you to anybody else. If you decide to be nice, grateful, it is who you are, but don’t do it out of obligation that might turn into resentment. 

So before saying yes, make sure the activity, project or opportunity you might say ‘yes’ to, is relevant for your own purpose. If it’s not, then it’s not fit for you. Let that activity be a stepping stone for someone else. Give that opportunity to someone who has to develop skills in order to do something that might seem boring and tiring for you. 

 

  • Does this resonate with my values? 

Most of the people go full blown out and say that they want to achieve one goal or another and they are very determined to do so, sure we all are, but with what price?! This is the question that will define your path. For example, you could make money by coming up with an invention, selling a book at large scale, getting a high paid job, creating art, music – the possibilities are endless. 

How you want to get things done, is exactly how you want to create your path to achieve that. This is exactly who you are, your identity. Only by matching your values with your actions, you will find the proper way to express yourself, thus becoming congruent and valuable to the community that you are part of, to the society and to the world. 

If you’ll say yes to an activity that uses methods, ethics that you don’t agree with, you will find a way to sabotage yourself. Make sure you know your values and always use them before saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities. 

 

III. The Chains of a Limiting Belief

Words matter – we all know it, but how do they exactly influence our actions? Let’s tackle our weekly limiting belief: 

Technology is a challenge, because of my age.’ 

is a limiting belief that creates a gap between you and a tool. 

 

In this phrase the subject of the sentence is ‘technology’ this means that the focus point and the source of it lies in it, and only after as a reference point we introduce a part of ourselves that we involuntarily consider a lack of strength. 

Now, in coaching, in therapy and so on, the reference point is always ourselves. We can not change anybody else, we can not change the action of another person, we can not convince anybody to do something they don’t want to, but what we can do is to work on our own self, our own actions and our own abilities and skills to create healthy relationships. 

The limiting belief that ‘because of my age, technology is a challenge’ has multiple effects on our mind, here they are: 

  • It creates a gap between ourselves and technology; 
  • It distorts a fact into a weakness. Aging is a fact, you can not control it, you can not reverse it, it’s a fact of life, it happens to all of us whether we like it or not. 
  • It attributes ‘technology’ to a certain ‘age group’ that we automatically pull ourselves out of. We say ok, technology is a thing that only teenagers use, we are not teenagers, thus we don’t use technology. This logic built in our minds, when we exclude ourselves from a wrongly labeled category, is not life driven. Life has several facets, we were using technology long before the internet, and even now with the use of the internet, software technology, we can have endless appliances to each age category that significantly improves our lives. 

The main idea of the above is that whether you call it technology or something else, at the end of the day, it’s a tool. You are in charge of the usage of it, you can create other tools, you can learn or unlearn how to use them. 

 

IV. Rephrasing Your Limiting Belief

Instead of saying ‘Technology is a challenge, because of my age.’, 

say ‘My age helps me evaluate what to integrate from different technologies into my life.’ 

 

Tools come and go, you are in charge of the tools you have in your life and how you decide to leverage them in your daily activities. 

Instead of saying ‘Technology is a challenge, because of my age.’, say ‘My age helps me evaluate what to integrate from different technologies into my life.’ 

 

This rephrasing: 

  • Will allow your mind to put yourself as a reference point and unconsciously regain your power; 
  • It will highlight your ability to learn and manage all the tools that you might encounter in this lifetime; 
  • It will give your mind the flexibility to decide to integrate or not a tool, technology or another one into your life; 
  • It decreases the attributed power of an umbrella concept such as technology and it changes its perception from ‘a scary unknown’ to ‘a simple tool’.

 

Words matter as they shift your perception and shape your actions. Make it a habit to use them properly and empower your own self. Help your mind help you. 

 

Mind your mind, 

Renáta

 

Photo by Cosiela Borta on Unsplash

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