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7 Signs You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

7 Signs You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Biting off more than you can chew

    Yes there were times I’m sure you knew
    When I bit off more than I could chew
    But through it all when there was doubt
    I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
    And I stood tall and did it my way

    My Way, Frank Sinatra

    Have you felt burdened lately? Asking yourself why you told your office-mate, “Yes, I’ll do that. Don’t worry”. Even when you can’t find time to change your bathroom’s light-bulb? You are probably biting off more than you can chew and as Frankie said, better realise it and spit it out. Don’t let stress control you: you can gauge it and keep it under tight control.

    Signs you are biting off too much

    1. Lack of time for personal projects

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    This is one sign that can be easily overlooked, but it is the easiest to see. Does your reading pile keep growing? Creating a spice rack is always a dream of the future? If there are a lot of things you’d like to do but never seem to find enough time to carry on, you’re probably asking of yourself too much.

    Write down everything you need to do, to keep in mind how much you are skipping now, to remember it later too. Much like the GTD projects list, stuff that is outside your head lets your mind work more effectively.

    2. Feeling wasted

    This is less useful as a sign: it is widely extended these days. Do you feel tired almost all day long, dozing after lunch and longing for a long sleep in the weekend? You probably are trading sleep hours for more work, paperwork or personal projects. Or you are not enjoying enough free and fun time to clear your mind of the daily grind.

    Look at your schedule. Do you have fun periods in it? If not, add them. Whatever you enjoy and are not doing. For example; playing with your kids or having a few hours to read quietly in some cafe.

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    3. Sleep disorders

    Linked to the previous sign, sleep disorders are common. There are too many things going on in your mind, and you have trouble sleeping, even in the weekend. Or you wake up repeatedly during the night.

    Be sure to add some cool off time before going to sleep. You need to have a clear mind before going to bed. If you don’t you’ll have a hard time sleeping.

    4. Eating disorders

    Either you are hungerless at meal time or you want to eat at odd hours. This is hard to catch, but it is also easy to keep adding weight. Beware of your meal habits and don’t put on weight that you can’t drop!

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    Be sure to eat at fixed times each day, don’t skip meals and over all else don’t work during lunch or supper. Promise!

    5. Bad temper

    Is it easier to drive you to anger? You go nuts after you learn there is no sugar for your coffee? This is also a sign that you are trying to do more things than your brain is capable of.

    You can tick this sign if you lose your nerves for small things, like a misplaced folder or the previous example about the sugar and coffee combo.

    6. Trouble concentrating

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    Do you feel like you are in the middle of a whirlwind and unable to focus on anything? Do you jump around aimlessly, trying to put out too many fires that you ignore what is most important? This is a clear sign that there is too much in your brain’s RAM and too little to spare any attention.

    This issue may be harder to spot, since these days multitasking is king, and single-tasking is less frequent (although desirable it is much more desirable). Always try to focus on just one task. Unless you are a firefighter or work in time-critical issues, finish off things and then just cover the ashes.

    7. Memory problems

    Closely related to the previous sign, you’re likely to have a hard time remembering things. Your boss will tell you about “that project I told you last week” and you’ll be clueless. Your partner will shout at you about forgetting dinner out and you’ll scratch your head about it.

    Try to write down everything you need to remember, just in case. Keep a journal or daily log to keep track of anything you need to remember.

    Of course, take all these recommendations with a grain of salt: if you are very stressed, consult a professional. Don’t let these hard-to-catch stressors catch you off-guard.

    More by this author

    Living With Your Deadlines Biting off more than you can chew 7 Signs You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew The Clock Is Ticking The Clock Is Ticking: Give Up Your Procrastination Stop, Look and Listen: Dealing With Stress: The Stop, Look and Listen Method

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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