Handling Obligations When
You Are Overbooked

Overbooked and Overwhelmed

Do you ever feel slammed with work and obligations? When you are overbooked it feels as if you’re moving at warp speed with no breaks in your day. You strive to find balance but focus and prioritizing have slipped down your to-do list.

And yet, the very thing you need to do in this situation is to focus enough to prioritize all the obligations you’ve created for yourself. You may feel as if there is no win-win in that moment, but there are ways you can still come out on top.

Overbooking Associates with Overwhelm

Anxiety and overwhelm are inevitable when you are overbooked.  The pressure of facing all the tasks and time commitments you have increases your irritation level and decreases your frustration tolerance.  You might notice you’re snapping at loved ones and coworkers.

Panicked thoughts of “I’ll never get these things done!” interfere with calming down and create more unproductive time, even leading to serious procrastination.  

Rather than yield to the overwhelm, do what you can to overcome it.

  • Take an immediate break if possible.  Take a walk outdoors, go for a drive if that relaxes you, or just close your eyes and breathe.
  • Sit down and write a list.  You might try putting your obligations in order of importance or difficulty as a method of prioritizing.  Or simply make a random list to help you focus on doing ONE thing at a time until completed.
  • Turn off interruptions and notifications.
  • Step-away from all social media.
  • Apply a little tough love.  Just do it!

Using Etiquette When You are Overbooked

Overbooking yourself isn’t just tough on you, it can cause difficulties for others as well.  Being anxious and overwhelmed can also mean you fail to give appropriate attention to each of your responsibilities.  And when people need you to show up, they may be let down by receiving less than your best efforts.

From an etiquette perspective, being recognizably respectful is always your aim.

  • When you RSVP “Yes,” do not back out.  Ahead of time, let the host or colleague know that you’ve double-booked or overbooked and that you will be there, but will arrive a little late, or that you must leave a little early.
  • Apologize for inconveniences you cause.
  • Send a thank-you note for kind understanding afterwards.

Though we want to be helpful, do things for others, and work towards recognition for our efforts, there are times when saying no is the best course of action.  If you find yourself consistently saying yes to extra tasks, invitations, and favors asked of you, ease yourself into a more relaxed schedule by saying no to one out of every three things that demand your time.

When you have some time for yourself, give thought to how you want things to be going forward.

  • Review your current goals for each area of your life.
  • List the things, obligations, perhaps even people that would benefit you and your physical and mental health if they were removed.
  • List what you have found that reduces your stress level, or methods you would like to try.
  • Commit to calendar creation that honors you and the commitments that feed your soul.
  • Learn to spend quiet time alone, or relaxing time with people you love.

The kindest thing you can do for yourself and the people you love is take care of you.  When you are nurtured and cared for, you have more of yourself to give to others.

Knowing what it takes to balance busyness with down time will help you achieve a lifestyle that works for you.  Planning your obligations with intention, and a willingness to say no, will help keep stress levels down.

Of course, there are times when duty takes precedence over what is convenient, and your schedule may shift out of balance.  But if you live within a schedule that is more balanced than not, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and take comfort knowing it is only temporary.

You may also enjoy reading . . .