3 Tips to Stop Feeling So Overworked and Overwhelmed

Just the other day I was working with a highly competent, high-achieving executive, whose penchant for overscheduling and overcommitting was running him into the ground. He was the classic multitasking perfectionist, trying to jam 25 hours into a 24-hour day — scheduling meetings unrealistically close to one another, and obsessively packing so many meetings, activities, conversations, and training sessions into a single day that he was constantly running behind schedule.

In some ways, he was living the classic entrepreneurial lifestyle, but he was deeply concerned about his health, well-being, and ability to be a good parent for his children. We spoke for an hour, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we came up with for having a healthier lifestyle.

1. Work on how you “frame” the idea of a more relaxed schedule in the first place. Instead of feeling like a slacker for having a more reasonable, relaxed, and humane daily schedule, think of a more reasonable schedule as a gift you’re giving yourself. Of course, easing up a bit may be detrimental to your business in the short term. But chances are that in the long term, it may decrease the likelihood of burnout or health concerns.

2. Find (and embrace) your conviction to change. To make a change like this, the effort has to be worth it. In the case of the entrepreneur I was working with, the source of conviction was his health. His father had died of a heart attack, and so he was afraid he might be heading for the same outcome. There was also his family. He was truly dedicated to his family, but work obsession was taking its toll — on the time he spent with the family and on his ability to be “present” when he was in the room.

3. Think of one or two concrete changes to make and make them. It’s one thing to commit to a new style in your mind, but it’s another thing entirely to actually make the change. So, the concrete change we worked on was for him to have a 30-minute buffer between all scheduled meetings. In other words, if there was a meeting from 10 to 11, the next meeting would begin at 11:30. We also made a second rule, which was that every day he was going to schedule a meeting with himself. And this meeting time would be sacrosanct. In other words, he couldn’t just bump the meeting if something else came up. During this meeting, he would do something to help his personal well-being, such as a bit of yoga, a meditation, or a walk.

Being busy, stressed out, and overscheduled is a choice. No one forces you to make your life miserable. But it’s also something that’s not so easy to change. We’re actually still in week one of this particular experiment, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Are you so overextended with activities, events, meetings, and responsibilities that you can’t seem to catch up?


Originally published on Inc.com

REACH NEW COVERAVAILABLE NOW
Reach A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone 

According to Andy Molinsky, an expert on behavior in the business world, there are five key challenges underlying our avoidance tendencies: authenticity, competence, resentment, likability and morality. Does the new behavior you’re attempting feel authentic to you? Is it the right thing to do? Answering these questions will help identify the “gap” in our behavioral style that we can then bridge by using the three Cs: Clarity, Conviction, and Customization. Perhaps most interesting, Molinsky has discovered that many people who confront what they were avoiding come to realize that they actually enjoy it, and can even be good at it.

Learn more

Related Posts

What Doctors, Managers, and Police Officers Taught Me About Delivering Effective Feedback

What Doctors, Managers, and Police Officers Taught Me About Delivering Effective Feedback

The material in this post is adapted from my new book Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge, and Build Confidence (launching January 24, 2017 with Penguin Random House).

Read More

Five Top Ways of Avoiding Conversation at a Networking Event

Five Top Ways of Avoiding Conversation at a Networking Event

Networking events can be stressful.  The rational side of us knows we need to work the room – chit chat with strangers and build our contact list. 

Read More

Want to Be Less Awkward at Ending Small Talk? Do These 5 Things

Want to Be Less Awkward at Ending Small Talk? Do These 5 Things

Ending a small talk conversation can be tricky business. You have other things to do – you need to go back to your desk or have another call to make.

Read More

Focusing on Similarities – not Differences – is the Key To Crossing Cultures

Focusing on Similarities – not Differences – is the Key To Crossing Cultures

The first thing most of us do when working with people from a new culture is to learn about differences.

Read More