You’re busy, I get that. Everyone is overloaded, maxed out, too much to do.
Do you realize that all of this is because of decisions you’re making? No, I’m not trying to heap guilt on you and say everything’s your fault. There’s a little more to it than that.
Let’s start with a big one: your job. Sure, your boss is making ever-increasing demands, does things which annoy you, and work’s gotten a bit boring lately. It’s feeling like a treadmill.
Here’s some of the many choices you’re making:
- YOU get to decide when to declare “enough!” to the workload. If you were asked to do 25 hours of work a day, it would be impossible. For me, 18 hours a day is unsustainable, because I can’t function without sleep. For you, there’s a limit in there somewhere – 4, 8, 10 hours …. you get to decide.
- You make your own tradeoffs between the quantity and quality of your work. Sure, at some point you’ll get fired – but you’re still making the decision.
- A big one: You decide how much attention to give to distractions. Most of the time I see a great deal of time and effort wasted on ineffective activities. Yes, you need some relief from the stress, but you get to decide how much.
- You decide how much effort to put into improving your job – through changing processes, affecting your coworkers, or “selling” your boss on ideas. There’s constraints and opportunities, but ultimately you choose how to work with those.
A second big area, I’d hope, is your family. Here, it’s more about relationships, lifestyle, and improving the lives of those around you. You get to choose:
- What kinds of relationships you’re working toward;
- How that translates into activities; and
- Where you spend your disposable income.
A while ago I talked about adjusting your lifestyle, which is a great way to think through times of career change and managing your stress. Remember, for most of us lifestyle is a choice – one we have control over.
There’s another area which is often ignored: personal development. Not just job skills, but also life improvement and spiritual progress. Do you want to be the same person in 30 years as you are now? Really?
I encourage you to look at your balance of busy-ness, and carefully think through the choices you’re making. A coach can help give you some structure, of course, but many do this on their own.
When you’re overloaded and overwhelmed, it’s time to look at the big picture.