I’ve written about this type of thing before but I recently read the phrase “overcommitment cycle” the other day and it reminded me of a realisation I had about such cycles.
Turns out, and I know this will not be a shock to anyone, I am very much a product of my parents upbringing and environment. I know, what a revelation!
My Mum and Dad have many similiarities, one of which I have inherited/learned is the drive to be involved and contributing to things, be it projects, clubs, events and such like. I have mostly definitely inherited their ‘get things done’ mindset and added in my own level of focus and drive.
What I realised the other day was that I’ve also inherited a few things from each parent that kick in specifically during such overcommitment cycles.
From my Dad I’ve inherited a sense of what I hesitate to describe as ‘easy boredom’ as it’s more of a ‘I should be doing something’-ness that can end up having me whirling through my flat tackling several concurrent chores at once, or multi-tasking (well) like a man possessed. Yes, men can multi-task (when we want to).
From Mum, I’ve definitely inherited a slower side, the part of me that recognises that somethings just aren’t important and that I need to slow down. Purely as an example (sorry Mum!) I’ve inherited her disdain of chores, like dusting, so they are always last on my list of things to do.
Mash those two sets of characteristics together and, when I hit an overcommitment cycle, I’m suddenly tackling all those things at once, instead of keeping on top of them as I go along. A manic period at work becomes a manic period at home, so at the end of the cycle whilst I’ve achieved everything I needed to, I’ve usually also managed to rearrange my spare room, or clean out my wardrobe or some other ‘might do it someday’ kind of task.
Which quite clearly makes no sense whatsoever! Surely during times of high stress and pressure I should be avoiding doing things I don’t need to do? Well apparently I’m not wired that way. I blame my parents 😉
Ultimately, when I’m busy I like to make sure I’m VERY busy, doing everything I can all at once and can end up over stretching myself. But when I stop, I stop dead.
So when pressures inside and outside of work collapse into the same timescale, I find myself reaching for one or other trait, fluctuating between operating at 1000 miles per hour (with a fair bit of collateral damage generated by my behaviours) or completely switching off and retreating to my cave (AKA sofa and movies).
Most of the time life continues at a manageable pace and one day I might learn a better way to cope when the next overcommitment cycle hits but if I’m being honest, part of me likes them. The energy and drive, the hint of chaos and ‘teetering on the brink of disaster’ allows me to look back with a small sense of achievement, ideally from my sofa with a cold beverage in my hand and the latest blockbuster movie flashing across my eyes.