There tends to be a point in the year, often arriving around June, where we have too many ideas, too many commitments, and we’ve filled up our five project slots for every time horizon. After the intense, high energy spring brings, in the summer we start to feel the baggage slowing us down, and we can lose momentum on projects we were previously excited about.
The good news is that this is not unusual, and you are not alone if this resonates with you. The reality is, your capacity doesn’t reset every season like we all wish it would. You might actually need rest this summer— and the good news is there are plenty of ways to kick the overcommitment habit, as well as prevent it from happening further down the road.
Here are three ways to kick your overcommitment habit:
1. Begin by chunking down your projects into smaller pieces and extending them over a longer timeline. For example, if you need to “clean the house” this week, leaving the task “clean the house” on your task list to be punted until you finally have a free Sunday is not the most ideal way to get your house clean (though, I’ll admit guilt on this on many occasions). Instead break down each task you need to have done to have the house fully cleaned (e.g., clean the bathroom, take the clothes from the garage to goodwill, mop the kitchen floor, etc.) From there, you can assign a few tasks to different days and times throughout your week. It’s much more manageable to break your projects down into tasks this way, and you’re able to get more done with less panic and deferring.
2. Put yourself on a project diet. This means that you see the five project slots that you want to fill and you actively restrict yourself to only 2–3 projects at a time. No new projects! And while you’re not working on as many things at once and may not feel more productive, you’re setting yourself up to be more productive. Your time is now open to spend on pushing projects forward, which is time saved from all of the thrashing, cat-herding, and other unfulfilling energy you may have spent on another project that may not have reached the finish line. Constraints can sometimes work for us.
3. Try theming the projects you’re prioritizing using the “3 F’s” — Fun, Frog, and Future-building. Your major priority projects then relate to a fun project, a “frog” project (a project that feels especially difficult to start on), and a future-building project that will help set future you up for success.
You can do all the things! Just, maybe not all at the same time. And that’s okay. Follow these tips for this June, and you’ll likely get through just fine. What priority will you work through first?