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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

15 Signs You Are Too Busy and Need to Take a Break

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15 Signs You Are Too Busy and Need to Take a Break

Conventional wisdom says that busyness is necessary in order to thrive in today’s world, but sometimes things get out of control. There are times when we are too busy, and it causes us to suffer in many aspects of our life. Sometimes, it happens so subtly that we don’t realize what’s happening until it’s to late: a broken marriage, strained relationships with the kids, health scares, anxiety attacks.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can take control of your life again by recognizing the warning signs and taking action to reverse the trend.

Do you recognize any of these warning signs in your life?

1. You Hardly See Your Family

Can’t remember the last time you had dinner with the family or got the see the kids? You are probably a victim of 12 or 14-hour workdays. This kind of schedule may be unavoidable over the short-term but can have devastating effects on family life over the long-term.

Action step:

Schedule dinner with your family at least three times a week. Try to negotiate with your boss to make this possible.

2. You’ve Lost a Sense of Purpose

Are you loving your work or simply going through the motions in order to collect a paycheck? Are you starting to compromise on your values by taking shortcuts? You may have lost your sense of purpose due to being too busy.

Action step:

Take a moment to reflect on the reason why you chose your work. Is it providing for your family or helping others? Make use of this free Worksheet For Instant Motivation Boost to rediscover your inner drive and move forward. Reconnect yourself emotionally with this value. Grab your free worksheet here.

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3. You Constantly Try to Meet Others’ Expectations

Do you check your email more times than you care to admit? Are you constantly on the phone with your boss or with customers? Are you growing resentful of these people? This is a sure sign that your busyness is preventing you from creating boundaries in your life.

Action step:

Schedule 10 to 15 minutes between calls with clients so you can have built-in downtime to regain your balance. Become intentional about how often you check email. If you find yourself checking every few minutes, try reducing it to once an hour or less.

4. You Aren’t Present

Are you always thinking about the next thing on your checklist? Are you often staring at your mobile device screen when in the presence of others? Do you find your mind wandering often, even during intimate moments? If so, always being too busy may be robbing you of your ability to be present with those you love.

Action step:

Try mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness[1] is simply the ability to become aware of the present moment. Check out the meditation website Calm, where you can complete a meditation session in just two minutes. You can also check out How to Focus: The Ultimate Guide.

5. You’re Exhausted

You feel like you are completely burnt out and deflated. You feel like it takes an inordinate amount of energy to do simple tasks. Small setbacks or irritations begin to trigger extreme feelings of frustration and distress.

Moreover, you’re consistently waking up tired even when you get a full eight hours of sleep. You may be burning up large amounts of physical and emotional energy by always being “on.” This may also be due to excessive worry about everything on your plate.

Action step:

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Commit to stop all work-related activity by a certain time each night before going to bed. Instead of working all the way to bedtime, create a relaxing bedtime routine that include activities such as listening to relaxing music, meditating, and leisure reading.

6. You Feel Like You Are Failing in Multiple Areas of Your Life

If you’re falling behind on your finances, wavering on your commitment to exercise, or feel like a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none, you’ve probably taken on too many projects and keeping yourself too busy.

Action step:

Take this Life Assessment and find out what aspects of life that require your immediate attention. By taking this assessment, you’ll get an analysis of your overall life. Take the assessment for free here.

Then, write a list all the things you have committed to over the next month. Which of these things are less meaningful to you or won’t help you achieve important goals? Find a way to graciously relieve yourself of these commitments and avoid them in the future.

7. You Never Take Vacations

You’ve maxed out your available vacation time, and you dread the thought of taking any time off because you fear you will fall behind, waste precious time, or be bored out of your mind. Your busyness habit has trained you to place your sense of self-worth in doing rather than simply being.

Action step:

Try sitting for five minutes in complete silence when you first wake up—commit to doing absolutely nothing.

8. You Have a Hard Time Focusing for More Than 10 Minutes

For the chronically busy person, multitasking may become the norm. You are constantly juggling anxiously between tasks that need to get done. You’re probably actively running at least 3-5 tabs on your browser this minute. In fact, I’m guessing you’ve toggled back and forth a few times prior to reaching this point in the article.

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Action step:

Join this free 4-Day Mini Series – Hacking Procrastination and learn how to end procrastination and stay focused to get things done.

Also, use an internet blocking tool to experience what it’s like to work distraction free for 10 to 20 minutes.

9. You Are Unhappy and Don’t Know Why

Sometimes we fall into the trap of making ourselves too busy to avoid some life difficulty. It often happens subconsciously, so by the time we notice how we’re feeling, we don’t know what’s troubling us.

Action step: Try to get to the underlying cause of your unhappiness. Ask yourself, what am I avoiding by being so busy?

10. You Are Paralyzed When Making Decisions

At its worst, even the act of going the grocery store to pick up a tube of toothpaste can be extremely anxiety-producing. You may find the activity so paralyzing that you leave the store without purchasing anything.

Sometimes we fall into the busy trap by the desire to keep all options open. In other words, we want it all. In reality, the options are limitless while we are limiting. This incongruence is the source of our paralysis in decision making.

Action step: Learn to be at peace with the fact that making a decision means giving up other options.

11. You Don’t Ask for Help

Have you ever heard the expression, “Want something done? Find a busy person”? You may be the busy person that others perceive as competent and able to help them with their problems. This may be one reason why you struggle to ask for help when you need it.

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Action step: Give yourself permission to ask for help when you need it. Give someone the gift of being able to help you.

12. You Don’t Remember What You Had for Breakfast

You may have heard that breakfast is most important meal of the day, but you ignore it because it takes up too much valuable time, and you’re just too busy. When you find time to eat, chances are it’s fast food, and you’re likely to eat it on the run.

Action step: Would you neglect to go to the gas station to fill up your empty car because you thought it was a waste of time? Think of your own body in a similar way. Take time to fuel up in the morning.

13. Your Workspace Is Messy

It doesn’t help that you can easily locate all your stuff. If your workspace is a mess and causing you stress, you are likely overextending yourself.

Action step: Find one thing on your desk that you can throw out today. Do this every day for the next seven days.

14. You Double-Book or Miss Appointments

If this is happening consistently, it’s a sure sign that you need to reduce your load. You’re probably saying yes to new commitments too quickly and too often, which is keeping you too busy in general.

Action step: Guard your yes; in other words, wait 12 to 24 hours before agreeing to commitments.

15. You’re Lonely

Do you find yourself lonely in a busy period of your life? You’re probably not making time to reach out to friends. You might also be turning down requests to get together.

Action step: Reach out to a close friend today, even one you have not connected with for a while.

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The Bottom Line

If you’ve identified with five or more points on this list, stop and take some time to slow down to regain your balance. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to spend it all on keeping busy while missing the beauty of each moment you are placed in. Take a moment to look around and feel grateful for where you are and how you feel today.

More on Tackling Busyness

Featured photo credit: shade jay via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Mindful: What is Mindfulness?

More by this author

Cylon George

A spiritual chaplain and blogger who writes about practical spiritual tips for busy people.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2021

How to Deal with Digital Distraction to Improve Your Focus

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How to Deal with Digital Distraction to Improve Your Focus

We live in a time where we have access to nearly anything and everything we could ever ask for. But we need to ask ourselves: Is this a good thing? If you’re planning a honeymoon, looking for ways to build your next business, or searching to improve your physical fitness, having an endless portal of information is worth its weight in gold. But if you’re like most individuals throughout the world, the internet has become a source of ongoing anxiety, stress, and fear-mongering—a digital distraction that can have devastating effects on our mental and emotional well-being.

With social media, we see what people want us to see, not what they truly are at all hours during the day. We see what news outlets want us to see with our newsfeed, especially if it’s skewed to connect with your views through a brilliantly designed algorithm. With our information, we confirm our biases through articles, podcast episodes, and reading forums that perfectly reinforce what we already know. Yet, we have to wonder: is this good for us, for our brains, and our long-term growth?

Even with the recent advancements in technology over the last few decades, our brains haven’t changed much. The latest estimates suggest that our modern-day brains haven’t changed in over 40,000 years, which is a blink of an eye on our trajectory of life on our planet as we know it.[1] As a result of this lack of change, our brains haven’t been able to adapt to digital distractions—this rapidly changing technology and fast-paced lifestyle—which was created to hijack our brain’s neural circuitry by creating continuous stressors that have devastating effects on our overall health.

In his infamous book Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky documents how stress affects both animals and humans, essentially making the analogy that stress isn’t bad in small quantities, but repeated and chronic stressors over days, weeks, months, and even years can have detrimental effects on our health. And these stressors don’t even have to be real!

Perceived stress from anxiety, judgment, fear of missing out, and feelings of being inferior to others based on comparisons and social media profiles can have similar effects on our health because the brain cannot truly tell the difference between a real or perceived threat. Technological advancements rarely come without a hidden cost to the people using them.

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While this talk may all sound grim and pessimistic, it doesn’t have to be. The advent of the internet and social media has allowed individuals to express themselves, find their tribe, and connect with others around the world without having to leave their homes. And companies are being built at the kitchen counter of an apartment because of how impactful the internet has become.

To change our current mental health and addiction trajectory, we must understand how to take back control and use these platforms to our advantage. Here are a few tips on how to deal with digital distractions and improve your focus.

1. Kiss Your Notifications Good-Bye

In his hallmark book, Indistractible, Nir Eyal goes into great detail about how social media companies ingeniously created “alerts” to seduce the mind into spending more time on a platform, thus increasing viewing times, creating greater revenue generation, and creating a dependency on updated information. Much like casinos, these tactics heavily involve similar reward pathways within the brain, causing the user to become a dopamine-addicted fiend by using likes, clicks, and alerts to fuel an archaic positive-feedback system that keeps them coming back for more.[2]

Do you actually need to know when someone liked a friend’s page? In the grand scheme of things, how impactful is it to see that you got 20 likes on your post from yesterday? And is it going to change your career trajectory if your friend posted a cat video on their TikTok page?

Let’s be honest, our lives would be much easier if we weren’t inundated with these quick little digital distractions, which is exactly what they are. They’re designed to keep you as a user, which is why you need to take control of your content and filter your settings for alerts.

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Alerts are nothing more than simple distractions to take you away from the task at hand, so why not just get rid of them? Odds are, you are most likely checking your social media page a few times a day anyway. So since you’re already heading to the page, hold off on the distractions while you get your work done.

And this brings us to our next point.

2. Structure Provides Freedom of Choice

Planning your day can be one of the most efficient uses of your time because it sets up the structure needed to accomplish your tasks. This structure inherently allows you greater freedom of choice down the road, as it will allow you to have more free time after you get your work done and finish up deadlines. It will also reinforce that freedom isn’t the lack of boundaries. It is the foundation to allow you to have greater freedom of choice later.

Saving money may not be the most glorious habit. Still, those small habits of saving can compound into significant personal and financial freedoms later in life, essentially allowing you the freedom to retire from work and still have the financial flexibility to continue on with life.

The same is true with using social media and digital platforms for enjoyment. Planning the times and duration for using these platforms can be one of the most efficient uses of your time because it creates boundaries. Influencers on social media platforms don’t have enough time in the day to be scrolling and creating content, but they make you feel like they do. This principle is also true for you, especially those who use digital platforms to promote your brand, business, or company.

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Use your time wisely because we all have a limited and finite amount of it no matter how wealthy you are.

3. Use Digital Platforms to Grow, Not to Show

Who you choose to follow on social media will dictate how productive you are when you’re not actively scrolling. Why? Because your newsfeed will influence the emotions, feelings, and reactions to drive you closer or further away from achieving your goals.

When digital distractions become rampant, they take you away from the tasks at hand and can cause you to feel guilty because of how they make you feel. Just because you aren’t a 27-year-old YouTube channel sensation doesn’t mean you won’t ever achieve the status of being an influential entrepreneur. You can’t compare your chapter 2 to someone else’s chapter 10.

Your choice in following accounts and individuals who will empower you to overcome stressors, hurdles, and personal life choices could give you enough motivation to push through the struggles and face your greatest fears. And if you haven’t taken the time to clean up who you follow on social media, it’s time to make it happen.

Humans are social animals and can be easily influenced by our surroundings. Case in point: Dr. Stanley Milgram performed multiple studies in the 1960s where participants were asked to induce a graded electric shock to an “unknowingly” willing participant in a separate room. Over time, the participants were asked to turn up the intensity of the shocks, reaching a point of lethal shock intensity. Even at lethal shock levels, the participants kept inducing shocks to the individual in the closed room per suggestions from the accompanying individual in the room guiding them through the exercise. Why? Because when people have authority, we inherently obey their orders to feel connected and socially accepted, even if those orders involve drastic actions and near-fatal outcomes.[3]

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Luckily, there were no individuals harmed during these experiments because the participants in the closed room were actors hired to play the part of being shocked. But the information is enough to show just how impactful outside sources of influence—especially authoritative forces like social media influencers and people with high follower counts—can be on changing our behaviors.

Your time spent online should pick you up and help guide you towards your intended goals, not push you down and make you feel inferior to the rest of the world. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we already had a mental health crisis on our hands.[4] Let’s do what we can to reverse it.

4. When You Choose To Focus, Your Life Will Come Into Focus

If you’ve ever been looking for a new car, you know how impactful intentional focus can be on accomplishing a task. It is at this moment when you realize that every other person on the road is driving the same car that you’ve been looking to buy. How is this possible?

The amount of cars on the road hasn’t changed. Your perceptions have. It’s always been that way, but once your brain starts to focus on a specific detail, you start seeing more of it manifest throughout your environment. This happens regardless of whether or not you’re looking for the good, the bad, or the ugly. What you hope to see is what you will eventually get.

When you focus your time and energy on accomplishing your end task, your brain will find things to reinforce this pattern, thus creating an inevitable positive feedback cycle that will take you and your game to the next level. This concept of “The Law of Attraction” can be dated back centuries to many historical figures throughout the world.[5]

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So, the next time you find yourself fazed by digital distractions and lost in the realms of our current digital age, take some time to sit back, lose yourself in your thoughts, and put your phone away. It’s the only way you will make it out alive.

More Tips on Dealing With Distractions

Featured photo credit: Maxim Ilyahov via unsplash.com

Reference

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