Many of our resolutions, personal or professional, are about things that we’d like to DO. Some are about things we want to STOP doing. I rather like this little piece by Jeff Haden at Inc. on ten things to stop doing in order to be happier at work: blaming, impressing, clinging, interrupting, whining, controlling, criticizing, preaching, dwelling, fearing.

One of the things that it would benefit many of us to stop doing is overcommitting our time. I’m convinced that a lot of our conflicts and disappointments with each other are based on not following through on things that we committed to doing; and the reason that we fail to fulfill many of our obligations is that we’ve overcommitted ourselves. Do you say “yes” to things that you don’t really want¬† or have the time to do? Why? To avoid disappointing the other person? Because you’re afraid you will look irresponsible or incompetent if you don’t?

I am one of those people whose hand seems to rise into the air of its own accord when volunteers are solicited. I’ve been president of just about every organization I’ve ever joined. I’ve said “yes” to too many things that I later resent having to complete. I’ve failed to follow through on too many tasks I’ve agreed to do.

A year or two ago, a major family tragedy caused me to re-think my priorities and I went off many of my committees and boards. There are only so many hours in the day, and I need to pay attention to spending them on the things that are really important. Now, when I contemplate taking something on, I ask myself: Is this likely to:

  • Build my business?
  • Nurture my relationships?
  • Bring me joy?

If not, why should I bother to do it?