I write this article, directed to you, while also self-consciously looking back at myself. It’s that crazy, busy time of year where everyone is madly trying to get things done before holidays, before businesses close or before those heads of department go and leave (and can’t sign off on things).
Here are some warning signs that you’re way to busy. Do you recognise any?
The last time you took a day off, was a long time ago.
I’m not talking about a day off work, I’m talking about a day off from your obligations. You need some occasional periods of rest. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower quality work. Ironically, the time when we need rest, is when we actually don’t have time for it.
Doing Things in Tandem.
Mothers of young children can testify to this bad habit. When you are eating while doing other tasks or making phone calls while doing something else. Most of the time it is generally a good time saving tactic but when it start’s interfering with personal time such as meal times, rest time or quality time with your family, this is when it becomes problematic.
Tired when you wake.
This is a warning sign of Burnout. It is attributed to the overload of the fight or flight hormone, cortisol in your system. I know when I am too busy when I start dreaming that I am working. My mind is not at rest and not downloading. Even in my sleep it is still working!
Constantly Putting Out Fires.
This is obviously a sensitive terminology in Australia right now. However, it’s an analogy you will well understand in a personal context. If you are constantly having to crisis manage things in your personal life or work life, if you are never in a position to forward plan, you are too busy.
People stop asking for your time.
People will stop sending you work, or people close to you will stop inviting you. Those closest to you are likely to persist the longest. When they give up, you’ll know you’ve reached a dangerous point.
No Time For Health.
If you have no time for exercise, no time for health appointments or activities then you are at risk. When you are healthy, your business is healthy. The two go hand in hand. If you reach physical burnout due to a constant overload, you are at risk of chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue which can take months and months of recovery. Increased blood pressure can result in you having to take extended rest and the most inconvenient time.
The easiest solution is to block out time in your calendar for your work and health. Schedule time in your calendar for future planning. Make these times non-negotiable and book all other meetings and appointments around them. Only move these time slots if no other alternative is available.