Staying Sane When Crazy Busy

Are you a high achiever? Are you addicted to being busy? Are you behind the scenes, maxed out and running on empty?

As we begin to create our new adventure and move from China. As I load so much more on my plate to get everything done in the time frame we have, I again, become very keenly aware of the price of being crazy busy, of overloading myself to get everything done. I have been here before. I know what it is like to have this constant drive to achieve more. To have this inner push to fill my plate with all the “have to” things to do. Yet, the crazy part about it all, is in the middle of all the chaos, busyness and confusion, I enjoy that fire of busyness of achieving more and pushing myself more. 

Unsustainable

AND I kick myself! Because I have also learnt that to maintain this high sense of busyness, pushing myself more and more, is creating a false sense of achievement and is a fast track to burnout.

Yes, it may be something you can sustain in the short term through a project or a change, where you have to give it, more than usual. Yet it is not a long term strategy for success. Too often we get caught up in the busyness, in the pressure and our life takes on that life of the hamster, caught on the wheel of life, that we just can’t seem to get ourselves off once we’re on a roll.  

I am meeting more and more men and women in business feeling this way. It doesn’t help that the drive to do more, to achieve more is becoming something of a cultural status quo. While in public, in social media, in front of their teams, on the outside they are the epitome of success, yet one on one they describe feeling

  • a complete lack of energy, often emotionally empty
  • negative, irritable and withdrawn, enjoying their own company more
  • less joy, less excitement from accomplishments and achievements

So, how do we counter this trend? How do we ensure that while being high achievers, go getters, we do not set ourselves up for overwhelm and burnout?

Check In With Yourself

I have found it is essential that you make time to check in with yourself (a coach is fantastic for this). For me every quarter provides a great time to make a quick assessment of where you’re at and how you’re tracking (hence the timing of this post).

  1. Assess where your business goals are at for the year, are you on track, what may need adjusting.
  2. Assess your habits, are bad habits sneaking in to your routine, habits that are not sustainable long term.
  3. Assess how authentic/real you are being and challenge any beliefs or mindsets that aren’t working for you.

Doing this, has you get off that hamster wheel, even if just for a moment. Take a good hard look at where your last quarter has taken you and then make a choice as to how you will attack the hamster wheel over the next 3 months. Creating strategies beforehand, to help you ease the pressure and guilt when you know things are going to get crazy busy.

Three ideas for you to consider:

Stop Before You Start

It took me a long time to sort this one in my head. So many of us rush into the day’s business activities without pausing for breath. And I don’t just mean creating a morning routine that fits for you. I mean before you start anything take a moment to really get focused on what you want to accomplish, whether it’s working on the computer, meeting a client, a networking event. When you sit down at your desk (or wherever you may be) and begin to work. Take the first 10-15 minutes to simple revisit your plan. What do you want to achieve? Do you have everything you need to achieve it? Turn off any unnecessary devices or close any browser tabs that may be distracting. Give yourself a time frame, determine your priorities, then make it happen with a whole lot more focus and commitment.

Schedule Contingencies

This has been a life saver for me here in China with so many unseens that drive me crazy. Don’t schedule every last minute of the day. Leave a block of time for the unexpected. I do this around every meeting or event. The webinar that runs overtime (but it’s really valuable!); the meeting that is booked for a specific time (here in China timing is not a priority); an appointment with the doctor, dentist (anything takes hours here); simply catching up with a client or contact that you really need to speak to. Allowing myself more time than necessary, creates a whole different feeling to my day, reducing the “rush” factor and helping me retain a measure of control when everything doesn’t just go to plan!

Create Time Blocks

Making this one simple adjustment in how I organise my day has made a huge different to my energy levels during the day. I now create time in my week to complete similar tasks all in one go. For example, I now schedule sales calls together.

Depending on the global time differences I am working with, it will be a chunk of time where sales calls are my focus. I now schedule my coaching time once or twice a week, where I meet with 1-3 coaching clients in an afternoon or sometimes depending on my week I will schedule a whole day so I focus simply on coaching for the day. Content creation and social media has its time in my schedule. Most weeks depending on what is happening around me, I create time blocks for my priorities. You might be surprised as I was, to discover that doing similar tasks in one go gets them over and done with, so much more efficiently (both mentally and physically) and with a whole lot less stress.

It’s A Signal

And while it’s not the ideal environment for life or business, always remember burnout and stress happen for a reason. They can be your friend, if you don’t ignore them. They can be the big bright signal that it’s time to take control, make changes and create the life and business you desire. Doing this every quarter will help readjust regularly for alignment and authenticity.

 

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