This Thanksgiving, Don't "Overfill Your Plate"
As we eagerly await the food induced coma's that we will soon share with our loved ones, we anticipate the beginning of yet another hectic Holiday season. Some may debate their favorite, but Thanksgiving definitely defends its contention. During this time of cheer, joy, gratitude and selflessness, let us not forget that in order to effectively serve others, we must first be our best selves. (I know! sounds like something from Life Skills class - which I ironically failed, but I digress...) Self realization is an on-going, never ending process of which we are all engaged. We must commit ourselves to actions today in order to see the results we want tomorrow. You owe it to society to put your best foot forward and you owe it to yourself to be the person that you want to be.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will breakdown four time-management strategies that you can use to make sure that you don't "overfill your plate" year-round! :
1.) Portion Control - Take What you Need - Avoid the Thanksgiving Hangover
Sure, that extra helping of Uncle Fred's Pumpkin Bread Stuffing looks amazing but you've already filled your plate. You find a small crevice on to sneak in another helping of the stuffing in between the smoldering hot slivers of tender turkey and ice-cold cranberry sauce. Fast forward to later in the meal. You're absolutely stuffed and as you gaze over the battlefield of a dish you've created, littered with leftover food - that extra morsel of stuffing stares you right in the eye and taunts you "I told you that you couldn't finish me" it proclaims. The battle has been lost.
Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs as they say, and that concept does not only apply to actual hunger and satiety but also our motivation and time-management skills. Just as our eyes deceive the stomach, our enthusiasm overwhelms us into projecting more time than we actually have. We then find ourselves over-committed. Awareness is more than half the battle. Make things important.
The Take-Away: There is a finite amount of space on our plates just as there is a finite amount of time we have to spend. Don't commit to things that you know you don't have to time to complete.
2.) Allow Room for the Unanticipated
Who knows! Maybe you're feeling overly ambitious and are willing to try the String Bean Casserole that haunted your dreams as a young child. Always leave enough room on your plate for a pleasant surprise at the end of the buffet line. You can always go back around for more if need be. (And don't forget, there is always dessert to consider..)
As part of the human condition, we are horrible at perceiving and managing time. "In fact scientists are not sure how the brain tracks time."- Benedict Carey, New York Times Where Did the Time Go? Do Not Ask the Brain. More often than not, when planning events further into the future than a few moments, we underestimate the amount of time that any given task will take. This is why we most of us find ourselves over-booked.
The Take-Away: When scheduling future events, plan on any given event with a reasonable amount of buffer room. It is always better to complete a task early to free up time for another than to overbook ourselves and fail at meeting our obligations.
3.) Be Honest - Be Accountable
Whether we have a favorite holiday dish or we're an Equal Opportunity Eater, we can all agree that holiday meals solicit a level of over-indulgence that no other time of year does. We rationalize our behaviors and make excuses for our eating habits as if we were to have no control over ourselves (and many times this is the case).
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about enjoying yourself during the holiday season. The point I'm making is: there is a major difference between making the conscious intention of performing a glutinous gorge of the turkey-carving station and lackadaisically eating more than your stomach can handle. The true power comes from deliberation.
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
To truly be content with our character we must hold ourselves accountable and follow through on the tasks that we commit ourselves to. If you say you'll do something, do it.
Practicing personal discipline and staying committed to your word will revitalize every fiber of your being. Don't tell me that there's not enough time in your schedule to do something. Analyze your everyday schedule - if you want to complete something bad enough you will prioritize it.
The take-away: Make sacrifices to create time to complete the tasks that you've committed yourself to.
4.) The Power of "No"
"Britney! Honey! Would you like some more coffee with your pumpkin pie?"
Okay so this example is a little more extreme than the others (but let's be real, is it even a Thanksgiving dinner if it doesn't end without a passionate disagreement between loving family members??) but serves the same premise.
To better understand the concept of the "Power of No" we go revisit three of the previous pillars of time-management fundamentals that we've discussed previously: Honesty, Sacrifice and Deliberation. Understanding how freeing up your schedule starts with being more deliberate with your time. You must be honest with your intentions of how you would like to spend your time, and sacrifice spending time with friends and family in order to spend time doing the things you would like to do.
“Anytime you say Yes to one thing, you are simultaneously saying No to an infinite amount of others.”
Rory Vaden, author of Procrastinate on Purpose
Let that statement sink in. That sentence really resonated with me. It's so powerful because it's absolutely true of your attention. We live in a society that is overwhelmed with technology and information, yet sometimes our attention is captivated by things that we don't even realize we're focusing on (i.e. "funny videos")
The take away: Using the "Power of No" to make decisions about how you will and will not be spending your time in the future will dramatically affect your schedule.
Everyone is hungry but some of us don't know how to feed ourselves. No matter where you are in life, these tactics will help you to to better navigate your time and manage your "plate".
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Thanksgiving plate to efficiently fill!!
Be Deliberate. Be Intentional. Be Persistent. Have a tremendous Thanksgiving!