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7 Signs You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

7 Signs You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
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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.

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    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 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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