Seems like I’ve gotten busier than I’ve ever been in my whole life, how about you? I ask myself, “how did that happen?” I have theories that I’ll share, but also some things to remember so you don’t burn out like I did a couple weeks ago.
So why have we become so busy?
- The economy has changed things. The days of having one 9 to 5 job that pays all the bills are a thing of the past. I was doing great self-employed before the economy downfall, I had enough work and income coming in. But after that, companies stopped outsourcing and I lost about 80% of my business in a matter of months. I then had to find creative ways to make up for that lost income. That meant taking seasonal projects, working outside the home, temporary assignments, as well as save a dying home-based business.
Many people found themselves without jobs that they had for many years and had to take lower-paying jobs or part-time work until something surfaced. I know some that still couldn’t find a job after years of looking. Some became underemployed while others had to go back to school to re-learn a trade and still others work 2 to 3 jobs to make up for the full-time income.
- There’s many more needs in the world. If you’re one of the fortunate ones that doesn’t need to work, you still can’t just sit around. More and more charity organizations have formed with volunteer opportunities. I can’t count how many places in my little town host fundraisers for all kinds of needs from public school needs to support struggling artists to elderly caretaking. In fact, I’ve talked to many people here that tell me they’re busier as a volunteer than they ever were when they worked a job.
- Kids are active. If you’re a parent, your children are probably involved with several activities like sports, arts, or other clubs so you’re probably splitting your time running from one event to another.
- Juggling several positions in life. Not many of us do just one job. We’re wives, moms, sisters, daughters, workers, and so you’re dividing your time with housework, career, family, social, and/or ministry. And no one job has just one part to it. If you’re like me, you have hundreds of little things to keep track of.
How do I keep from going crazy?
I got burned out right before my birthday last month and I took a week off. But, it wasn’t enough time because when I came back to work I was still very tired. It took me about a couple of weeks to get back in the “work mode” again. First off, I was taking on too many deadlines, too many projects and not taking enough breaks. I have a bad habit of working through lunch and not eating on time. So, that had to change along with some other bad habits:
- I started eating breakfast every morning. I used to skip this important meal, but not anymore.
- I have some “me” time before starting the day. This is my prayer and play time. After I pray, I answer some personal emails, hang out at hubby’s desk, and go on social media. The hour before work doing what I like gets me in a good mood. Read more about how I spend my mornings here.
- Taking breaks. I force myself to get up and walk away from the office at least twice a day. Looking at something other than a computer screen allows my brain to rest and recharge.
- Dividing the time wisely. Instead of using 12 hours trying to solve one tech problem, I may spend a couple of hours and if the answer isn’t there, I move on to something else. Sometimes, it takes a few hours or even days before the problem for work is solved but at least I’m not neglecting other things I need or want to do because of one task.
- Social life. A must have for me, because I work alone and spend a good deal of time by myself in my office so having friends to hang out and do fun things with is essential to my mental health and stability.
- Exercise. This is something that I’m bad at, but I listed it here to remind myself that I need to do this at least 15 minutes a day even if it’s just going on a short walk.
I’ve adapted at least the first five things on the list and have seen a difference in my energy level and my ability to focus… but ONLY if I follow it religiously which I didn’t around the time I took vacation and it showed.
The thing is, if I complete only 2 or 3 things from my to-do list…at least I accomplished that. I ended the day with a shorter list than when I started. So, I reward myself. The rest will have to wait for tomorrow and that’s OKAY.