Are you a “Yes!” man or woman? Are you the person who takes on as many projects and social events as your schedule will allow? Do you thrive on keeping a busy, productive schedule? I would bet many of you reading this fit that bill and may have even felt overwhelmed a time or two. It is almost prideful to always be busy doing stuff. I personally get satisfaction from checking things off my long list for the day. Seeing all the things I have accomplished is what gives me the energy to keep going, not to mention a great ego boost!
If you’re the type of person who is always occupying their time, you may be spreading yourself too thin. If your calendar is so booked you have to schedule normal things like eating, sleeping, walking your dog and time with your loved ones on your calendar, you are in need of learning a two-letter word – no!
There are also some common ailments associated with overworking yourself. You could be sick more often, overly anxious and irritable, unable to fully concentrate, feeling like your days blur together, feeling depression starting to rear its head, or a full breakdown could be on the horizon.
Generally, people feel lazy or embarrassed if they have nothing to fill their time. Some people even struggle to just sit down and watch TV or read because it isn’t productive enough for them. Over the last few years I have found that allowing myself to do nothing has been extremely beneficial to my mental health. Doing “nothing” can mean anything, but it is intended to be a break for yourself. Something to relax your overworked mind, body, and soul.
Here are a few ways to help take your life and time back.
- Block your time at work – If you need some uninterrupted time at work to focus on just one project, schedule a meeting with yourself (and KEEP it). This can be done daily, weekly or just for special projects, but allowing yourself the opportunity to only focus on one thing will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Say no – It seems simple enough, but say no to things you don’t want to do. Now, there is a difference – sometimes there are things we don’t want to do, but have to. You cannot simply say no to these things, but sometimes we say yes so quickly to things we don’t actually have the bandwidth to handle and then resent our decision later. If a friend asks you to dog sit for 2 weeks and you don’t want to, you can say no to that. It doesn’t make you a bad person or friend.
- Outsource the things you don’t love to do – I was recently talking with my cousin, who is a photographer. She was extremely overwhelmed with her schedule because she had a ton of photos to edit and more shoots scheduled. She decided to outsource her editing and in the long run it has allowed her to schedule more shoots, spend less time doing something she doesn’t like doing, and took the pressure off her having to do everything. It is also more cost effective for her because she’s able to schedule more shoots during the time she would be spending editing.
- Ask for help – It is okay to ask for help, especially if outsourcing isn’t an option. Sometimes we just have to let go of control and trust that others are willing to help us (either at work or home). Also, asking for help isn’t a weakness of any kind, so look at it in a positive light.
Ultimately, we decide what we say yes and no to. If you’re happy and doing what’s right for you, no one can argue with that. If you’re unhappy, it’s never too late to make changes. Time is never promised, so we have to seize it when we can.
Member Services Coordinator
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128