Do you struggle with a persistent problem that keeps cropping up over and over again?

I struggle with being over-scheduled. I have days where I am booked from the moment I arrive at my office to the moment I leave for home in the evening. Inevitably, something arises during the day that demands my attention, and I am scrambling to fit it in. At the end of the day, I am exhausted and irritable, and I feel like my life is out of control.

Let me be clear: my executive assistant does a fabulous job scheduling my time and maximizing my ability to lead my team. This only happens because I ask her to over-schedule me.

This is not a new problem. I have been struggling with it for years. It is one of my problems that won’t go away, and I know that I’m not alone.

What is your problem that won’t go away? Maybe it’s something that has bothered you for years. I like to think of a problem as something you can do something about.

My overbooked schedule is definitely a problem. Yet, I know I could ask for 15 minutes between each appointment and two hours a day of unscheduled time. The challenge is, I don’t. Even worse, it is easy for me to blame extenuating circumstances for my over-scheduled days. I routinely use the following excuses to convince myself I don’t need to better control my calendar:

  • The people attending the meeting want me to be there (This may or may not be true)
  • The outcome of the meeting will be better if I participate (This may or may not be true)
  • If I don’t attend the meeting, people will believe I don’t care about what is being discussed (This may or may not be true)

My justifications serve a purpose: they offer me emotional excuses which, in turn make me feel needed, wanted and loved. Those are very powerful motivators. What are your excuses for your problem that won’t go away?

The cost to me of not controlling my calendar is huge. I work less on my passion: behavioral wealth management. I have less time and energy for the relationships that matter most to me. I exercise less and often eat junk food just to get something in my stomach. What are the costs to you of not overcoming your problem that won’t go away?

For our clients, the costs of not overcoming their problems range, but they almost certainly have emotional and financial costs.

I believe that each of us builds our lives one choice at a time. Our lives are the results of the choices we make and random events. We have no control over the random events; we have some control over our choices.

To enhance the quality of our lives, we must focus on our problems and opportunities, or, said differently, things over which we have control.

The challenge is that exercising that control is not easy. In fact, it can be incredibly hard, as my decades-long battle with my calendar illustrates. When we are struggling with a long-standing problem, the following four steps can help:

  1. Take personal responsibility. Stop blaming others or circumstances beyond your control.
  2. Recognize the real issue is you don’t have enough support.
  3. Look to your six elements of wealth for support: your time, talents, wisdom, network of relationships, body & mind, and money.
  4. Nurture self-compassion. Change is hard, and progress is made one small step at a time.

For example, once I admitted that my calendar problem was really my own emotional issue, I talked with my wife and some good friends and asked for their support when I’m stretched too thin. I am amazed at how often they notice, before I do, that my calendar is getting out of control. I’m now working on it, and since my conversation, my scheduling has improved.

What can you do to help overcome your problem that won’t go away?

If you’ve tried the steps above, it might be time to consider a new approach: behavioral wealth management. If you’re ready, we’re here to help.

The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for general and educational purposes only. Nothing contained in this commentary is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. All investments carry a certain risk, and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.

David Geller

David Geller

Director, Behavioral Wealth Management

CFP® David joined Wealth Enhancement Group through the partnership with JOYN Advisors, where he acted as CEO and Co-Founder. He is the creator of the Behavioral Wealth Management™ model. A model that focuses on aligning wealth management with the integration of human emotions while taking into consideration an individual’s talents, wisdom, network and relationships. David has been featured in a number of prominent outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The...Read More