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Pick and choose

buffet, choose

Why do most of us get pretty stressed at regular intervals, although we should know better? Most likely it has to do with an overwhelm of tasks and responsibilities, which at the basis is a clear signal that we are taking on too much. Accepting too much. And not picking and choosing enough. Not saying ‘no’ or ‘stop’.

I am the best example for not dropping anything, even at times when there is a lot more going on in one area of my life. It feels as if all my work projects, all my hobbies and other regular tasks or commitments need to go on the same way, no matter what. Just because I can still manage it (just about).

Most organisms prioritize and manage their activities, focusing on critical survival functions when resources are constrained or when preparing for changing conditions. Trees for example shed their leaves as winter approaches to save energy and water, and instead redirect their energy towards strengthening their roots and maintaining vital functions.

Humans are probably the only beings that are not naturally doing that. Who have to actively learn some kind of a healthy resource management.

Just having gone through an extremely busy period, I realise that I can save myself a lot of hassle, pain and exhaustion if I look at my agenda like at a buffet from which I can pick and choose. There are things to take and things to leave so my plate doesn’t get overloaded when there’s already a lot on it from the start.

And even though everything might look important at a first glance, it actually isn’t. In general nobody will die if you don’t go to your language class, if you do not help your friend with her move, if you cancel your lunch appointment – or even a business trip. You actually probably live longer if you do. Or at least, you will get through stressful periods without burning out.

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.” – Paulo Coelho

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