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
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.
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!
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
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.