Do you ever feel like so tired that your brain doesn't seem to function anymore? Do you ever feel like you are so busy, and balancing so much at once, that one more "thing" might just put you into a full-blown sob-fest? That, my friend, is when you're experiencing the phrase, the "straw that broke the camel's back." It is a popular thing to be over scheduled and overenrolled. And being busy can bring comfort and meaning to life. I for one, have always had busy afternoons and evenings after long days at school. However, that's not to say that we should strictly follow the "The more, the merrier" phrase as a life motto. But where is the balance?
Everywhere you turn, there are families and children running from activity to activity, and complaining of lack of sleep. Participating in many groups, organizations, and activities can make a life fulfilling; I would argue any day of the week that all of my involvements over the years have shaped me into who I am, and have given me some of the best experiences of my life. But, I am also someone who has trouble saying, "No" (though I'm getting better at it). I want to do it all, and sometimes, it's simply too much.
If you find yourself waking up exhausted and spending your limited energy prying your eyes open, like I have done so many mornings, you may want to rethink your schedule. While I am mildly annoyed that my body requires so much sleep to feel rested and to function at its highest capacity, I admit, and believe, that it is important. If participating in more activities is getting in the way of your ability to rest, it is likely that you're not performing to your highest potential; and that just seems like a sad waste. (Check back later to read about my feelings on exploiting and exploring potential).
Rather than stretching yourself too thin, it is better to participate in a handful of activities that are most meaningful to you, and out of which you derive the most joy. "Take out the trash" as Dr. Jarrod Spencer (Mind of the Athlete) said, when he lectured at Hamilton one night this past spring. This is an idea has stuck with me ever since his visit. It means, essentially, get rid of the extras. Clear out what isn't important to you. Then, you can spend your time and energy working to be the best you can be at the those things that mean the most to you. Not only will your mind be clearer and less stressed about everything else you have to do when you're doing one task, but you will be able to complete that task to a higher capacity and at a higher quality. The extra time gained from shaving off less important tasks here and there, can be reallocated to your most meaningful projects and to sleep to recover from all of the activity. It may feel odd that while you "got rid of" some activities, you do not have more free time. But, quantity of time available is not always the most important thing; quantity of time, how you use it, and what you create with it are arguably, even more important.
It's easier said than done, but try: ook at your life and determine what is "extra," and start living more rested, richer, fuller lives.