Now Clarify Your Commitments

It’s a brand new year and I’m excited for my new blog posts, some relevant reposts and sharing all the new and exciting things I’ve learned.

One of my challenges this year is to build my worksheets. Each month, fingers crossed, I’m sharing a new worksheet that I’ve been working on. It’s mean to help you organize and tackle something, help you gain clarity and work through different things I’ve also considered and decided to write about. And, it’s #FREE.

The first post of the new year is about evaluating all that you’re committed to so you can get rid of some things that weigh you down. I did this very thing two years ago, now. My method however was just to get out as much as I could regardless of why. My main goal was to free up time to write more and I’m happy to report that the evidence of doing htis successfully happened last year as for the first time EVER, I was able to release TWO books in one year. It was awesome and while I can’t promise that will happen again this 2018, I wanted to document for my readers first how do you even go about deciding what you need to get rid of?

Let me back up one second, the VERY FIRST, FIRST goal is to decide WHY you need to do this and that is what the END goal should be. If your goal is to free up time to do something like your passion, GREAT. That was my reason too but it could also be to spend more time with family, be more present in your life, rearrange your schedule so you can focus on school or simply, build your business OR to let loose of things that no longer interest you and wipe the slate clean if you will so you can replace things with a more meaningful commitment. .

The other thing I discovered during my year of let go, which was 2015 when I left some service, was that I was in the wrong groups. I use that loosely because ALL of the service I’d done up until that point, was grooming me for being a good member in other capacities (many that I’m in now). Years of taking meeting minutes, being a secretary or Vice Chair contributed well so I don’t mess up in the groups I’m a part of now, but moving on, made me realize that I would be writing LONG TERM. When writing was at first a hobby, there’s a time when hopefully it will become “IT” and you’ll shift. That means for me, I really should have spent more time in professional writing-related groups, building both my skill and my knowledge and contacts for that matter. With that, like I said, I didn’t know that I could really make this work. So of course, there will be some mindless wandering that’s just part of the journey until you really know what you want. I’ll also say that this clarity comes about with age as well.

Now, the goal?

Take some time, list the goal. What is it? ______________________________________________

Next, what are the commitments?

The commitments could be anything that you want BUT for this purpose, I’m speaking of service to community or the greater good. That’s anything that you do, that you are not being monetarily compensated for and that usually happens in a way that takes you/your time away from your family, your “work” or passion/side hustle. So it’s not work, that is standard. This is that service and that free will that you give away to benefit another person, group or organization. Any volunteer opportunity, any, service on a board of directors, weekly lessons for free tutoring at church. There is nothing wrong with any of this, mind you. We’re simply trying to look at it ALL and get a handle on WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

The other part of outlining “What are you [REALLY] doing?” is that when you list your commitments in their totality and as separate entities, you’ll often see that you are in fact, stretched much more than you think. We have a tendency to roll up all of our service into one bag and it’s just ‘Service’. Pretend it’s a box, that when you put it all in, it starts busting at the seams, it’s overflowing and it can’t be taped shut or contained. That means all the life boxes are filling up and sorting is a mess. But doing this exercise will help you begin to tackle it. Also, if that service is with three different organizations that are not related, that’s a huge commitment. You omit how much time each item really takes because you’ve bundled it all.  Not only should they NOT be bundled, often each thing is at a different location, has it’s own tasks and meeting details to attend to and then they often also have separate events that you have to go to. That means time to get to those locations and the hours you’ll put in when you get there and all the background work you do on your own time.

So what are the INDIVIDUAL commitments? List them, their time, location.

Finally, this is where the evaluation comes in. With EACH commitment – answer these  questions and resist bundling them together. I’ve included a Worksheet Here that you can print PAGE 2 of as many times as you want for as many INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENTS that you have. You should use ONE sheet per Commitment.

Evaluating Each Commitment, answer:

  1. Why are you doing it? (imagine telling someone, simply/briefly, “I am serving here because we do this….”
  2. I have three categories that I’ve come up with for part of your why. Evaluate, what category does what you are doing fit into? Is it A. Heartfelt Category, B. For the Advancement professionally/personally Category or C. Is it obligation because you were asked/told by someone you care about/wanted to impress?
  3. Do you like it? Why? Why Not?
  4. Do you feel stuck? Why? How can you make an exit plan?
  5. If you don’t want to make a full out exit, would changes/tweaking to the structure/goals/process and outcome or leadership tweaks, make your time better spent? And finally,
  6. If change/tweaks were an option do you see that happening or is it too far gone?

Parting Thoughts

I hope if you’ve really committed to doing this exercise that the load has been clarified. It’s perfectly okay to say -at the end of doing your due diligence with this- “I like it all, I’ll keep it all.” There’s nothing wrong with that so long as your energy and your happiness match and you don’t have a goal (or family/kids/spouse) that’s suffering and dying because you’re not able to give whatever it is, the time and attention worthy to them.

At the end of the day, time is a precious commodity that’s seems to be less and less of. When I think about getting the books out and every evening, no meeting to prepare for, no major group looking for my report or my action items, it was truly liberating. I would work all day long at my regular job (still do) and think I can’t wait to get home and start writing. Was it easy to let go, no. I remember leaving one board realizing how much my self worth was wrapped into doing all these extracurricular things. It was the act of doing and contributing that  made me feel good and to trade that, come home to make myself happy through writing, didn’t seem like it benefitted anyone but me (and the few readers that I have). I realized, there was still plenty to do. There were some groups I held onto and that meant that I could also focus more on one or two instead of three or five and do a better job at those fewer commitments.

Good Luck, let me know in the comments if something shared here, helps and share screen shots of your completed Clarify Your Commitments Worksheet.

See you next month with a new topic and an awesome worksheet to match.

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