- Lose your calendar.
- Recall very little from your lost calendar.
- Have people in your life who are laid back and won’t send you reminders about your upcoming engagements with them.
- Don’t call anyone to see if you have upcoming engagements planned.
Obviously, these four suggestions are a joke. You should always keep a copy of your calendar — a daily backup for a digital calendar and a regular scan/copy of a print calendar — so a situation like this would be avoided.
However, I think we can all recall a time in our lives when we wished we could lose our calendars. We feel so overwhelmed by our obligations that we long for a way to be set free of obligations without any guilt.
Instead of chucking your calendar out the window, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your schedule try these steps to alleviate some stress:
- Say “no” to as many future offers as possible until you feel things are becoming manageable again. You’ll need to say “yes” to things that keep you out of jail and from being fired, but most everything else can temporarily be put on hold. You’re also free to change your mind, just remember there is much less stress involved with changing your “no” to a “yes” than having to back out of something you’ve already committed to.
- Review your schedule and see if there is anything you can gracefully back out of without much guilt or repercussions. Then, cancel the obligation. At this point, it’s probably best not to reschedule.
- Review your schedule and see if there are any appointments that can be moved to a better time. An early morning appointment might be more manageable as a lunch meeting.
- Identify the obligation on your schedule that is causing you the most dread, and make a plan to eliminate or reduce the stress surrounding it in the future. Knowing that something you dislike will be minimized in the near future often makes it easier to address in the present.
None of these steps will completely eliminate stress, but hopefully they will help to reduce it to a manageable level. Once you feel that things are back under control, you can start to say “yes” to non-essential obligations again, if that is what you wish to do.