If you didn’t know how to stay on top of your work, you will soon.
In our modern world there are those that are drowning. They are being eaten away at the hands of their work. It shows no mercy causing all to bow before it’s might.
When the time comes around again a part of themselves curls up inside. They have grown to hate what they once loved.
When precautionary measures aren’t in place things can slip from order to chaos quickly. No one wants to feel like a slave to their desk. And yet so many do.
How do people come to feel flooded with work? Here are some of the major reasons:
Biting off More Than You Can Chew
This is a case of taking on too many difficult tasks at once. If you haven’t built up the proper foundations danger could be waiting around the corner. Like a house of cards it can all come tumbling down when least expected.
Ask any good engineer and he will tell you – the strength of the foundation determines the stability of the building. Don’t try to construct a castle in a swamp. Instead make use of the gardening tools to clear out the weeds.
It doesn’t necessarily mean this will always be the case. But right now it’s too much to handle.
Never Listening to Your Body
This is a common cause of feeling overburdened with work. More often than not your body will warn you before disaster strikes. Sometimes it is only in hindsight signs are recognized that weren’t before.
The “gut feeling” often talked about is a real and powerful unconscious survival mechanism. Our autonomic nervous system that resides in our gut is ancient. It is far older than we are, spanning back to the dawn of man and beyond.
Not listening to your body is foolish. Why would you ignore something so old and wise? Would you ignore Gandalf if he warned you about something? I thought not.
Why then do you ignore your body? You may be only thirty years old but these instincts are not. They have been refined over countless generations to protect you from danger. Ignore them at your own peril.
Be a “Yes Man”
Much the same as biting off more than you can chew, this is the man who never declines a request. He believe’s his time and energy to be both infinite.
Somehow the “yes man” has mastered the laws of the universe. He has managed to be in two different places at once. How does he do it?
He doesn’t. It’s impossible and it will continue to be (for the foreseeable future).
For a short period of time it may seem like the “yes man” is defying both time and space. Slowly but surely though the to-do list begins to stretch further and further. Eventually it must come to an abrupt stop.
Like a train speeding down a hill the “yes man” bears ever-increasing loads. This only serves to accelerate the demise of the “yes man”.
When the “yes train” derails and the wheels fly off the track – calamity ensues. All who are in its way will suffer the consequences of an unhinged driver.
Promises are made that cannot be fulfilled. Those who relied on you are left disappointed. Trust is a lost but frustration is gained. A “yes man“ cannot simply grow in stature quick enough to carry all his duties.
How to Stay on Top
Eat Your Fair Share
To prevent biting off more than you can chew – slow things down. We can often get ahead of ourselves when planning for the future. It is easy to underestimate what obligations we currently have in front of us.
Although there may be good intentions at heart, we are actually hurting ourselves in reality. Being too conservative with your duties may stunt your growth, sure. Likewise, taking on too much responsibility too soon can be damaging as well.
Occasionally you may be able to rise to the challenge. It may bring out the best from within and from that you can capitalize. However if things don’t go as planned it can knock our confidence. This can serve as a deterrent for future plans.
Bear one new responsibility at a time. Ensure you are in a comfortable position before accepting another one. By treating each duty as a separate entity you are giving it the attention it needs to prosper.
Being comfortable is important as the initial stage can bring with it choppy waters indeed. There may be problems never faced before. These will require more effort than usual. To account for this, steady your ship in advance.
Listen with Curiosity
Listening to your body is vital in an age of 24/7 365 days a year. With shops that never close and livestreams that never end – listening has never been more important.
You need to cancel out all the background noise and zero in. Strip back all the coffee and energy drinks and what is left? If the answer is little to nothing you are in danger of burnout.
As tolerance builds you are going to need more and more stimulants to achieve the same effect. As you stray further from your unstimulated, normal self – it will become ever more difficult to return.
A state of dependency will be created when attempting to replace coffee with sleep – a doomed pursuit from the beginning. For some it gets to the point where they need caffeine to merely stay awake.
Granted, a miserable outlook on stimulants but one which is a reality for many. Include caffeine-free week blocks to prevent this from happening to you. Treat your sleep with the attention it deserves. It will thank you for it.
Going back to that “gut feeling” we talked about earlier. If something doesn’t feel right quite often it will be. I have heard countless stories about individuals ignoring their intuition and later regretting it.
This is actually something I need to work on but it also comes with experience. The more you use your intuition the more effective it will become. Putting trust in it will pay back numerous times over in the long run.
Your intuition or “gut feeling” shouldn’t depart once you step foot in wherever you call “work”. For some that may be in an office or for others in the comfort of their own home.
Regardless, business deals require the same nous as in any social situation. Money can exaggerate what is already present within us, both the good and the bad.
Don’t trust your money with someone who constantly gives out warning signs. A good question to ask is “Would I let this person around my children?” Answering that will set high standards to meet.
Say “Yes” to Yourself
If you find yourself always saying “yes” to people practice saying “no”. It will be daunting at first but yet liberating. By saying “yes” to everyone else you are actually saying “no” to yourself.
Think about it – if you are always trying to please others when will you have time to fulfil your own desires? This will lead to being washed up and alone. The only person you will have to stay with for the rest of your life is you.
Will you be satisfied at the person staring back at you in the mirror in 20 years? Sometimes bravery is required to stand up and say “no”.
Your family, relationships and health may end up suffering as a result. It isn’t fair for them to bear the consequences. Once this is realized it can make saying “no” easier.
If you are already at tipping point it won’t get any easier. For every new duty accepted your standard will likely drop across all domains.
This will lead to the creation of a “race to the bottom” scenario. As performance plummets it is only a matter of time before one completely fails.
No one is being helped by your inability to say “no”. Maybe it’s because you hate disappointing people. If that’s the case, the disappointment will only be delayed if you cannot produce the goods. The problem then could have likely grown into something much more grotesque.
You could be the type that believes they can do anything. This is a good trait to have but it needs to be controlled. You may be able to do anything but not everything at once.
If you divide your attention too thin it will become diluted. Eventually it will be impossible to get anything done. By continuously swapping and changing you never allow yourself to get into a “flow state”. This is when you actually get the most work done.
“Yes men” are everyone’s best friend until they’re not. Once their facade is revealed they are resented for their inability to have self-restraint.
Have a Plan
It is said foresight is the mother of achievement. Without a strategy going into the game you are going to lose.
Objectives need to be stated. There should be a path laid out from beginning to end with checkpoints along the way.
These will help serve as pillars of accountability even when no one else is paying attention. Time spent needs to be tracked as this can reveal whether tasks are profitable or not.
Do not be afraid of delegation. It cannot be all by you and it shouldn’t. It is impossible to be an expert in every domain of competence. As such, you need to delegate tasks to those that are experts.
Doing so will help free up time for you to work on what brings the most value to the job. There is no point spending all day brushing the floor if it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line.
If you are big enough to need an assistant – so be it. Anyone is big enough to have a virtual assistant.
Use your smartphone to it’s potential. Schedule meetings, assign deadlines and communicate with employees at the touch of button.
This is how you save time and remain afloat.
However you may earn an income remember – it is there to enhance your life not degrade it. If you believe your work is stealing a part of your soul, some reflection may be required.
Think back to why you took the job in the first place. What was the reason? It may have been to support a family or to help save for a business. Whatever your reasoning – there should be one.
This should serve as a light in the darkest of times. Use it as fuel to keep your fire lit on those days when you “don’t feel like it”. Think on a macro scale. Your short term sacrifice should be for something greater to come.
Thanks for reading,
P.S Leave a comment down below to let me know what you think.