Comments for the over-committed

Do you have more tasks than time? More obligations than energy? More demands than endurance? Are your responsibilities spread so wide that you are spread too thin?

If you’ve recently responded “Busy” to the question “How are you?” If you’ve thought, “Just let me get through this or that, then things will slow down” this article is for you.

Maintaining a reasonable and sustainable pace of life is a great challenge of our time. For most families, calendar-filling opportunities are ubiquitous.

No one could imagine fifty years ago the options available to us today. With fast food and email and networked files, not to mention caffeine, we can work until the cows come home – and go to sleep and wake up and get milked and…

Besides work, we can fill untold hours with other activities. Politics, genealogy, sports, technology, history, spirituality. Opportunity abounds for for-profit networking and non-profit volunteering.

Parents face the brunt of the modern schedule assault. Traditional activities (e.g., Little League) have elevated to “select” and “competitive”. Formerly obscure activities (e.g., lacrosse) have become commonplace.

Any sport, any musical instrument, any interest. Private tutoring is available, with a college scholarship hanging in the balance.

It’s all well and good until it becomes all too much. When we parent predominantly through a rear view mirror. When the dinner table becomes mainly storage space. When an evening with nothing to do feels like a waste of time.

I can’t remember when I last uttered the phrase “I’m bored.” What a luxury the words we detested as children would be today.

Boredom is obviously not the goal. Balance is. And so some tips for maintaining balance from the physiological realm; that is, from my circuit training class at the Boerne YMCA.

Point One: The stronger you are, the better your balance will be.

Previously, I could scarcely put on a sock (while standing) without tipping over like a sippy cup. I would hop around searching for a vertical object to back into.

But the stronger my leg muscles have become, the more I can stably stand on one foot and slip a sock on the other.

A balanced schedule requires strength to say “no” to time-consuming activities, even well-meaning ones. Saying “no” may offend someone or preclude you from future opportunities.

But the results are well worth the risks. You will stay rested, relaxed and ready for your highest priorities, which leads to point two.

Point Two: The more focused you are, the better your balance will be.

In the YMCA class, we do exercises that require us to stand on one foot. When doing so, our trainer instructs us to focus on a spot on the floor. If we look at our swaying neighbor, we’re more likely to lose our balance. Focusing on the immovable keeps us straight and steady.

Likewise, if you stay focused on your established goals, on your anchor of faith, on things that do not sway or change, you will stay upright. You will stand firm. You will remain balanced.

Balance holds at bay the stress of over-commitment. When other inevitable stressors appear, balance provides the emotional and physical margin to handle them, leaving as little collateral damage as possible.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at

2 Responses to “Comments for the over-committed”

  1. 1 jessestroup February 13, 2013 at 10:35

    I like you article (as well as you) and I even got to re-learn what ubiquitous means.  It is the second “u” word in my dictionary. In your corner, Jesse

    Jesse R. Stroup

    Director of Spiritual Care

    Lifeline Chaplaincy

    2777 Stemmons Place, Ste. 1020

    Dallas, TX 75207


  2. 2 Bonnie Westley February 13, 2013 at 12:00

    Thanks for this, Kevin! Yes! Yes! Yes! I always think, “if I can just get through this….” You are so insightful! I want to be balanced!


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