“Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.
“Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.”
It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.
As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.
Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.
The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.
To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:
You can’t remember the last time you took a day off. Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Those closest to you have stopped asking for your time. Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.
Activities like eating are always done in tandem with other tasks. If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on email, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load. It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.
You’re consistently more tired when you get up in the morning than you are when you go to bed. One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind. If you’ve got some much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.
The most exercise you get is sprinting from one commitment to the next. It’s no longer opinion that exercise promotes healthy lives…it’s proven fact. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy. If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.
You dread getting up in the morning. If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.
“Survival mode” is your only mode. If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.