Show Notes

Episode 13: Overcommitting

Being overcommitted often means being stressed. In this episode, Janine and Shannon suggest the hazards of overcommitting and ways to keep yourself from overcommitting. (Including ways to just say no.) They also discuss the value of building a buffer into your life.

Discussion topics include:

  • How Janine lived an overcommitted life for a few stressful years
  • Tips for responding to invitations to help
  • How to create that all-important buffer
  • How overcommitting contributed to Shannon’s chronic lateness problem (and how she overcame it)
  • The overcommitment antidote: How to figure out how much free time you have available so you can avoid overcommitting
  • How to evaluate whether you should say yes (or no) to a commitment


  • Cairene MacDonald was kind enough to allow us to share her tool for identifying how much free time you have available so you can build a buffer into your life. Just click here to view and download the pdf.
  • The July 2018 Professional Organizers Blog Carnival on the topic of Saying No. (Links to 15 blog posts all about saying no!)
  • Two blog posts from Janine: The Value of Saying No and Creating a Buffer.

8 thoughts on “Episode 13: Overcommitting”

  1. Is this the episode where Janine talked about a toothbrush with a timer on it? I would like to know more about that, please!

    1. Yes, this is the episode where I talk about reading while brushing my teeth. I think a lot of electronic toothbrushes have timers on them, to support the idea of brushing for two minutes. Mine gives a special pulse every 30 seconds, with the idea that you’re supposed to brush in each quadrant for a 30 seconds, and then shuts off after you’ve used it two minutes. I use a Philips Sonicare Essential Clean set that I got from Costco (, but many electric toothbrushes have this feature. — Janine

      1. Shannon here — I’ll add that I’ve purchased Quip toothbrushes for family members and they have the same thing, a pulse every 30 seconds to remind you to move “quadrants” for a total of two minutes. I don’t care for electric toothbrushes (the vibrations feel too ticklish to me!) but my family members like them.

  2. I LOVE saying no. I finally got over myself and figured out that I don’t need to do everything someone asks me to do. Maybe it’s just getting older that has come with that ability. I realize how relatively little time I have left, and I want to make the most of it.

    I also use a grid for my schedule. Mine is based upon the “Time Map” concept in Julie Morgenstern’s book, Organizing from the Inside Out. I use 8 columns and I DO put the time in in half-hour blocks; I only do it from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. as I am sleeping during that time. I put in my work week (luckily I just started working from home and so get 1:45 put back in my life each day!), and what used to be my commuting time. I put in basic getting ready stuff and lunch breaks. I set up an hour in the mornings to do my morning routine (although now I’m getting up an extra hour earlier to write), and I block off two hours for my after-work routine, including exercise. (My evening routine I do in little spurts of time and only takes about 30 minutes total, so I don’t have it notated. I blocked off time for reading every night as it is a passion of mine although now I schedule one-half hour for nonfiction and one half-hour of fiction for the hour before bed so that I am continuing to learn and not just “escape.” Because of the “blue light” phenomenon which affects your sleeping and circadian rhythms, I unplug from all devices one hour before I go to bed. I put in my weekly meetings (they are all within five minutes of my home so I don’t plug in commuting time for them) and any other weekly commitments that I have but they are few and far between. I have really gotten good at not overcommitting!

    I keep My Time Map in a Word doc on my computer. I color-coded some things based on feng shui principles so that I make certain I am doing something each week in each of the following areas:

    -WEALTH AND PROSPERITY (working toward improving my financial picture)
    -FAME AND REPUTATION (this is where I block out time to write my novel)
    -LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS (making time for romance and friendships)
    -ANCESTRY AND FAMILY (one of my favorite hobbies is genealogy)
    -HEALTH AND UNITY (exercise and spiritual health are included here)
    -CREATIVITY AND CHILDREN (another hobby is quilting)
    -KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM (studying for online courses and meditation)
    -CAREER AND LIFE PATH (improving my work life)
    -HELPFUL PEOPLE AND TRAVEL (errands, benefactors, and planning travel)

    Enjoyed the podcast!

    1. Christy, you’re amazingly diligent and disciplined! The insights you gain from your time map must be really helpful!

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