Altruists and volunteers are generally enthusiastic and big-hearted people who want to help everyone and fix everything – but no one person can do it all. Over-committing leads to burnout, and burnout leads to less Good Stuff happening in the world.
I highly recommend making an actual, real list of all the things you’re committed to, and keep that list somewhere close at hand. Put ALL of your commitments on there, including your job, your responsibilities at home, being Mom’s Taxi for the kids music lessons and sports, and all of your super awesome altruistic volunteering activities.
Once you have a list that you can actually look at – you will have a smaller chance of ever feeling like you don’t do enough, and you will have a smaller chance of committing to anything new that you don’t have time for. Of course, that last part requires that you CHECK your list before saying YES to anything new, unless you are going to REMOVE something from your list.
I admit, I just wrote my list. I’m shocked at how much is there. There is no way any one person can do all of this on a regular basis for very long. What that means is that some stuff has to come OFF of this list – whether I like it or not.
Looking at my list now, I am having a difficult time making a decision about what stays and what goes, but the alternative is not pretty. I can’t remove my job, and I can’t remove school, nor can I remove anything I do for my family. Like it or not, I must carefully consider all of my volunteering and altruistic projects and then decide on which of all these worthy causes I will devote myself to and KNOW that I’m going to kick ass and get it done because I’ve made room in my life.
Part of what we are all working towards is to inspire other people to make room in their lives for Good Deeds and to inspire altruism, and you will not accomplish that if the people around you are seeing you struggling to do it all. Burning out is not going to inspire anyone to get off the couch and join you. Make a list, make room, and make sure you can continue to be someone who is Getting Stuff Done.