Generally speaking, we tend to hold on to the idea that: Busy is good. Busy is expected. Busy is noble.
Underneath that idea is a belief that probably goes something like: Busy means I'm worthwhile. Busy means I'm part of something. Busy means I'm a good person.
Here's how we go from filling our calendars to building a belief system about our character...
It starts with the boss asking if there's any way you can take on the new project, even though you're already slammed. You're the best person for the job. You have the right finesse with the customer. You were so great last time. You're such a *worthwhile worker*, all of the major projects are entrusted to your capable hands.
Or...it starts with a request to volunteer. It's for the homeless (or the animals or the illiterate or any number of amazing causes, because they're all amazing). It'll only take an hour every Saturday morning and you'll only have to do this part. There will be coffee. There will be coffee! You've wanted to be a *part of something* that's creating good in the world.
Or...it starts with an invite to a party. The whole block is going to be there. The kids will love it. You can check in on how the woman across the street is holding up since her husband got that terrible diagnosis. You can touch base with the elderly couple a few houses down and see if they need any help with the yard work. You can bring the salad that everyone asks for and this time you'll remember to write down the recipe and hand it out, too. A *good person* would do all of those things.
So rarely do we stop...look inside...feel for what our gut is telling us about the project, the volunteer work, the party. You're working 60 hours a week already, but it is a really exciting new project. Your Saturday mornings are your cherished time for that favorite yoga class, but you have been feeling like you should give back. The party is on the only free night all week, but you can reach out to so many people in one evening, why not? When your intuition is screaming: I want to make some more time for my family. I can find a different time to give back. I trust that everything will happen exactly as it should.
Get honest with yourself about why you're saying yes, signing up, RSVPing. If you want to do the work, volunteer your time, and party with the neighbors, then by all means. Do it.
But put your ear down close to your intuition and listen closely. A *no* to an offer, request, or invite can be a *yes* to you. You always know what answer feels best. And if you're looking to feel worthwhile, like you are a part of something, or just plain good, know that filling up the calendar isn't the only avenue.