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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 October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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