Prioritizing Commitments & Overwhelmed

HomeForumsPurposePrioritizing Commitments & Overwhelmed

New Reply
Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #123720

    Dear Community,

    I am a young professional with a comfortable job, a caring boyfriend, and supportive friends. I’ve always been ambitious, but for a little over a year, I have not made any progress on achieving my goals, mostly due to a lack of focus on my end and a lack of challenges in my workplace. My life is busy, but to be constantly moving does not mean that I’m actually getting anywhere. This lack of growth is destroying my self-esteem and affecting my relationships.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on some ways that I could make better use of my time, and any insights you might have on where I am devoting too little or not enough of my time, money, and energy. Thank you so much if you are willing to weigh in.

    #1: Career
    My #1 goal is to make headway on a career change. I have a Bachelor’s degree in a political science field, and have been working in the private industry doing government affairs… it’s a great job, I’m good at it, and I’ve build a large network that is beneficial to my organization. However, I don’t want to stay in this field because while I obviously want to keeping advancing, but I’m not learning anymore due to the lack of mentors and opportunities at my organization, and I realized that I am not inspired by those at the top of my industry, even at other organization. I don’t know exactly what I want to do next, and I’m not entirely sure what skills I need, but I want to at least start trying new career ventures this year, even if that means taking a slight pay cut (but not starting at my entry level salary again!).

    Steps I’ve taken to achieve my #1 goal: I’ve started studying for the GMAT to prepare myself to go back to business school, but I’ve already rescheduled my test once because of under-preparing for it. Finding time to study can be challenging, becuase in addition to my hobbies that I’ll elaborate on later, I’m often am asked to attend political functions on nights and weekends, and when my planned study time is interrupted, it often is left unfinished. As far as finding a new job or freelance work that will provide a professional challenge and learning experience– I’ve let my friends know that I’m looking for a next step, although this hasn’t led to any leads or substantive advice. I am considering taking an online course that teaches skills for some industries that I think I’d eventually like to pursue, but I need to take the GMAT first, one thing at a time. Last year I spent a significant amount of time doing community organizing to try to gain more diverse skills in government advocacy, but I can’t say I’ve gained many skills, contacts, or even a sense of fulfillment from that so I haven’t pursued volunteer work since. To be honest, I think I spend more time fantasizing about #1 than actually working on it.

    #2: Home Life
    My #2 goal is to run a better household. My current boyfriend is my first serious relationship, and while I always thought I’d grow up to lead a warm household like my (successful career-woman) mother, suddenly having another person around the apartment makes me realize that I’ve procrastinated learning many of the domestic skills that I admired in her. I want to learn to cook basic meals, keep a practical closet, have better control of my finances, and still make time for romance.

    #3: The Extracurriculars… for better or for worse
    My final goal is to not let my new pursuits completely takeover my previous activities that I enjoy. Exercise is a huge part of my life, I run or bike multiple times each week, attend occasional yoga classes, and play competitive sports. These activities are what I look forward to most every day, are probably some of the things people find most interesting about me, and contribute to a healthy physique that I value. I want to continue to exercise vigorously everyday, but something has to give.
    I currently spend $100/month on my boxing gym, a hobby I’ve had for a year now. My coach has become a mentor in both boxing and life, and I’ve made a lot of new friends at the gym who introduced me to attending fights and the boxing ‘subculture’, if you will. However, the gym doesn’t open until 7 AM, which is not conducive to my plan to wake up earlier (I need to start the day with exercise, or I won’t wake up… I can’t start with studying and then go to the gym for example). While I love the sport of boxing and the community, I may be spending too much money and productive day-time hours that could be better used studying or learning new professional or domestic skills.
    I also play basketball once a week at night and the women on my team have become my main social circle. However, at $90 for an 8-game season, I’m not sure that the price is worth it… plus I always find myself rushing to the late night games, and feeling sleepy the morning after, so the league itself isn’t that enjoyable.
    I am considering ending both the boxing and the basketball to save time and money, and be able to work out on my own schedule at a regular gym (would be $25/month with my insurance and is jogging distance from my apartment, very convenient.) I know this option will leave me with more day-time hours for other pursuits, but I wonder if this route will suck the joy out of my fun fitness hobbies and some of my most treasured social hours of the week.
    I probably go out with my friends 1 night on the weekends, and occasionally have a drink or dinner on weeknights with friends. I want to maintain friendships, but honestly, when someone asks me to get drinks or dinner, a wave of anxiety/guilt crashes down on me because I don’t want to reject plans, but it’s extremely difficult for me to make time for these things.
    *Note: at my current job, I work alone most of the day and don’t have many co-workers. If I begin exercising alone, I don’t know if the lack of social interaction will harm my well-being as I’m an extrovert. Finally, I spend about 1.5+ hours each day driving to work. Another hidden time-suck and time spent completely alone!

    I appreciate you reading this far. I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have… maybe you’ve noticed something about my time commitments that I haven’t. People with children might have zero sympathy for me, but may also have the best advice on accomplishing tasks every day. Please help me focus on what matters!

    Thank you.


    Dear hellcat:

    For the purpose of giving you my input, I have two groups of questions:

    1. Your mother is a successful career woman, you wrote. How did she manage, has it been worth for her, did you ask her what you are asking here, on this thread, and what was her answer/s?

    2. Your boyfriend: how long have you lived together? what are his feelings about the domestic issue- having home cooked meals and such? Does he cook and clean? Did you ask him for his input on the issues you brought up here, on this thread?



    Hi anita,

    Thank you for your note. In response to your questions:

    1. I haven’t asked my mom much about this. To be honest, she never really kept friends or hobbies. All of her free time seemed to be spent caring for other people and now that she’s an empty nester, she gotten back into some hobbies. I might want to ask her her thoughts on this.

    2. My boyfriend doesn’t live with me. We are both young (24), and he lives at home with his mom, saving money, helping her around the house. So whenever we cook or are hanging out, it’s at my house. He definitely helps out by making the bed and doing dishes when we finish eating. Sometimes he’ll bring dinner over. He definitely doesn’t expect me to prepare meals for him, but I like to, and to be honest I’m a little self conscious about my inability to cook so I don’t draw a lot of attention to it. The biggest challenge for me is that whenever I cook, it’s a stressful day of thinking about what I can cook, finding a recipe, and shopping for every ingredient since I don’t know how to keep a stocked kitchen yet. If I scheduled time to try recipes more often, it wouldn’t be as big of the deal, and I’m trying to get to that point eventually. So I guess my feeling here is more that I want to improve in this area, but which will also be appreciated by my partner.
    I’ve asked him for input on my career and his advice is pretty risk-averse… definitely don’t quit your job until you have another job. Maybe go back to school, take the GMAT. He also has a great job, but isn’t that happy with it anymore and he’s following the same advice.
    He thinks I should quit the sports and just join a regular gym, but I don’t know if he realizes how much of a social aspect they play in my life… to him, working out is just a chore to stay in shape. For me, it’s a lifestyle that keeps me sane.

    Anita, does this help? I wonder if you might be able to comment now. To be honest, you’ve made me think that maybe I should seek my mom and boyfriend’s advice on these again!


    Dear hellcat:

    Yes, your answers help me. My advice:

    Continue the Boxing Gym and the Basketball because you are an extrovert, you lack social interactions at work, and as you wrote, these “keep (you) sane.” No substitute to keeping sane!

    Regarding running and biking: you can lower the frequency of these to twice a week. From my experience, once I was in physical shape, all it took to keep myself that way was 30-45 minute aerobic exercise (I like fast walking, way less injuries!) twice a week. If you feel stressed, anxious go for a .. fast walk or bike just to relieve the tension and count it for the twice weekly count, exceed as needed for the stress relief affect.

    Regarding yoga, you can do a few stretches (and should) daily at home, child pose is excellent to prevent lower back problems as well as stretch the shoulders, downward facing dog, a couple of others of your choice. Do these after a run, or after biking, and maybe before bed time. Chest opener postures are amazing, for me, as anxiety relieving and encouraging good posture (keep a good posture driving that long commute time!)

    Regarding going out with your friends on the weekends and on weeknights with friends- let go of this activity since it’s been causing you anxiety. Instead, maybe (?) invite them all once a month or a couple of months for a basic meal, so you can practice cooking and socialize with friends, all at the same time. Or have a friend to your place for coffee or tea once in a while (it is not uncool for 24 year olds, is it?)

    Regarding your work situation and future education, job search, I have nothing for you, at this point.

    You may be wanting too much, micro-managing yourself for the aim of functional perfection. Leave some times to relax, to do nothing at all. Relax into your relationship with your boyfriend instead of worrying about being domestic while he is there.



    Dear Anita,

    Thank you so much for taking the time consider this and reply to me! I especially liked the idea of letting go of those nights out. Cooking for them is a FANTASTIC idea that had not crossed my mind. And coffee and tea once in a while is cool at any age in my book.

    I really appreciate your thoughts and time!

    All best,


    You are welcome, Helen. Post anytime and I will reply.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.