Something I’m see a lot and am guilty of myself, is saying I’ve got so much to do and I’m being lazy by putting it off, or procrastinating by deep cleaning the oven, or watching one last episode of The Good Place, or one of a million other things that are completely unrelated to the task I’m supposed to be concentrating on. But my question is are we really being lazy or are we just overwhelmed? Think about it for a minute.
When taking on too much work, or not being able to say no, or leaving things to the last minute can cause us to stress out and basically freeze up. We saying we’re being lazy by putting it off but really I think the term is overwhelmed and we avoid the stress by constantly putting it off for as long as we can until we have no choice but to deal with it. I think we also kid ourselves by saying we work better under pressure, the fact is at that point we have no choice but to get on with and if we are producing work under pressure does this affect the quality of our work?
Last year for me was overwhelming for many reasons which I won’t bore you with, suffice to say I didn’t get nearly half as much as done as I should have and kept calling myself lazy. But actually the time out did me good because it gave me time to refocus and set boundaries, not just for other people but myself to. I learned to prioritise me.
It can be so tempting to take on too much, some offers seem to good to pass up, we don’t want to let people down, we’re afraid it will look bad on us if we say no and won’t get asked again but this bullshit. You’re more likely to not be asked again if you say yes and fail to deliver but if you’re honest from the beginning and say I would love to but my workload is a bit full right now and I don’t want to commit to a project that I can’t give my full attention to, they are more likely to appreciate the honesty, if they don’t well then you probably dodged a bullet.
I believe in being honest, this isn’t license to be an arsehole as some think it does but when it comes to business I know where to draw boundaries, 25 years of customer service based jobs will learn you a thing or two. You don’t have to take that first offer or be pressured into doing something just for the great feedback. I won’t work for free or the exposure I know my worth.
Plan ahead. I always do better with a planner, go buy one. Write everything you have to or want to do for each day like mini to do lists, at first the lists may seem like a lot and that you won’t get through everything but as you cross them off or highlight them when you’re done, as the week goes by and you can actually see the list going down you will feel less overwhelmed at the fact that you have a visual reminder that you have actually got stuff done.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done, you are only human, shit happens that means you have to reorganise and reschedule sometimes, you can do anything just not everything.
Remember to take a time out and breathe, breaks are essential to functioning. Give your brain a break, take a nap, go for a walk, listen to your favourite record, do some yoga or just sit and meditate for five minutes.
Being busy is overrated! Busy is a buzz word (ooh I made a pun). Busy is what we tell ourselves we are when we take on too much work or are badly organised, and in some cases both. Allocate your time accordingly and by that I mean make it worth your while. There is no point saying yes to an opportunity just for the sake of it, it is allowed to serve you a purpose as well, so just because you get an invite to a press launch, or a meet up, or asked to write 500 words on a product ask yourself do you really want to? Or are you saying yes because a) you felt pressured to say yes b) you didn’t want the opportunity to go to someone else or c)fear that this opportunity might not arise again? It probably will but if it doesn’t then maybe take it as a sign of things not meant to be.
Sometimes the pressure to succeed or to not let people down is overwhelming and sometimes life throws us one too many curve balls that we find hard to juggle but take it from someone who is an expert at procrastinating, at the end of the day it’s not worth it if your mental health suffers from it. If people feel let down, well to be honest they’ll get over it!