When given a choice between “sanity” and “hamster wheel”, you’d obviously choose sanity, right? But if you take a look at your calendar, does your day-to-day schedule feel more like a hamster wheel?

Do you find yourself on Sunday afternoon thinking, “Where did my time go? I need another weekend to work on projects at home, have time with family, relax, get outdoors, exercise….?”

Some things just need to be done and then there are the things that come up at the last minute when we thought we knew our schedule. And there are the people who think they need us and our time. Am I starting to sound bitter?

Really I’m just laughing at myself – and all of us – for thinking that we are indispensable and people wouldn’t be fully functioning without us. Are we all really that important? Then how arrogant is that?

I know that’s not our conscious motivation for filling up our schedule, it’s usually more like working hard to be responsible to others or be “good enough”.

Don’t forget that the way we use our time is critically important to our own health and sanity. I don’t need to tell you that it is unrealistic to expect to have every minute scheduled through the week but sometimes I find my week just like that. Most of my clients come in with fatigue as one of their top concerns and some conversations reveal that we are clearly doing this to ourselves. Men and women both can be overachievers and need to take a hard look at reasons for overcommitting time and energy. We can honestly have three events that we would just love to schedule in one evening but need to evaluate what is the most sane way to do it.

Let’s look at our own individual criteria for scheduling a person or event into your life. Each of us will use different lenses and needs.

• How much down time do you need each week? This depends on whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, especially if the events involve other people or groups of people. As an introvert, I need one or two evenings and a chunk of time on the weekend to putter, read, get fresh air, or rest.

• What are your passions? Other than true obligations, spending time pursuing your passions should be your priority.

• Who do you need to have time with? Can you alternate weeks for some people or combine people visits?

• What health/fitness/nutrition time needs to be scheduled? Include sleep in this.

• What is overusing your time that you’d rather not even do?

As you know, I’ve committed to writing a blog post every day this month. This has been a really good challenge for me, letting me dig deeper into the issues I’m passionate about. But to be perfectly honest, at the end of October I’ll be glad to have some extra time back in my day to be more physically active.

Take a look at your schedule for the week ahead. What can you give up to feel more balanced?