Your children are home for the holidays, they’ve got this winter’s cold and so have you. The boiler still isn’t working properly and you’ve just not had the chance to call a plumber out to fix it. You still haven’t got everybody’s Christmas presents because you’ve not had time. The Christmas traffic means it takes you twice as long to get to and from the office every day, and your boss wants that report on his desk by this time yesterday. Every morning you feel like you hit the ground running, but it seems like you’re going backwards, no matter how hard you try to keep on top of things.
How familiar does that sound to you? It’s the story of millions of people the world over. It’s a familiar story: you get so busy doing important things that you forget to think about your own needs. It doesn’t help when the media gives you pseudo-therapeutic stories about “Reconnecting With Your Zen”, or some other such nonsense, written by people who clearly haven’t got your relentless schedule. “A half hour’s meditation every day? Ha!” you scoff, “I don’t even get five minutes!”
So even if you only get one minute in every day, how often do you stop to think about why you have so much to do and so little time? Perhaps it’s partly because you have a hard time saying, “no”. Do you feel that you’d be letting other people down if you did say no? Does every one of the tasks on your to-do list seem to be urgent? Here’s a test: take a piece of paper and write down a list of all the things you’ve got to do.
Now give each task a rank, using the following guide:
1.Can wait indefinitely.
2.Do in the next 6 months.
3.Do in the next month.
4.Do within the week.
How do the figures look? If you’ve only got a few 4s and 5s, you can make your life easier straight away by prioritising the most urgent tasks and putting the others later in your diary.
But if you’ve got mostly 4s and 5s, then something’s wrong. Are you in this position because things have just been piling on top of you? Is that because you’ve taken too much on? Do you find it difficult to ask for help? When your boss asks you to do something, do you always say, “yes”?
When you take too much on, you’ll have too much to do. When you don’t ask for help, nobody will help you. When you always say, “yes”, to your boss, then your boss might be the kind of person who will ask you to do even more because he/she knows you will say, “yes”.
Counselling can help you in two important ways. Firstly, through counselling, you can discover the aspects of your personality that make you rush through life with a lot on your plate. Secondly, you can find out how to say, “no”, without feeling bad about it. Can you imagine how much of a relief that would be?
17th May 2015