Are you feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and spread too thin?
There are different ways you can spread yourself too thin and there are problems that come along with that.
I want to focus on this idea of having too much on your plate or too many plates spinning at the same time. This can cause many negative outcomes…
What I saw in my client
I've seen this in a few clients at different times. One client (who I will call Nadia) was sharing how mad she was that the sun was setting at 5:36pm. She was so angry about it, and I was shocked as it’s not common to be this mad about the sun setting at 5:30pm.
What it meant for her was that she couldn't go out and run in the sunlight. It was changing the way she was living her life in the evenings, which was the only downtime she had.
She was just flat-out working, so it wasn’t really the sunset she was mad at. Even when the sun was setting at seven, she was not getting home from work till after seven, close to eight. It meant that she didn't have time for herself. She was stressed and maybe you're feeling this as well.
Something might happen that becomes too much. Then if you get to the point of actually being sick, who's going to pick up all the things that you do?
Now, I often see this in clients that I'm working with. Maybe you can relate in that you're:
The trouble is when you are this way and people find out, they come to you requesting you do more. Have you felt that? Have you felt that you’re always being asked to help?
The thing is you probably can get a lot done and that's why they come to you. Or you feel like you're volunteering for more things because you’re passionate about them and want to see change. The result is you end up with a lot on your schedule. This happened to Nadia.
I understand that it's a privilege to be able to choose what your schedule is like. If you can’t, you may fall into one of these:
Even so, there are things you can do to stop yourself from being spread so thin that you're very frail and ready to break (or be mad at sunsets). I've seen a lot of people frail these days. A lot of people in lineups freaking out especially with customer service, being super rude to people. I've seen it in events and out when I’m driving.
People are not able to handle things like they could before and their filter of respect, kindness and manners is becoming thin. But my bigger concern here is that you're depleting yourself to the point of anxiety, depression, and then stress-induced illnesses, adrenal fatigue, maybe the anxiety is revving up your blood pressure as well. I would hate for there to be longer-lasting ailments for you because of that stress.
The 3 Solutions
Let me go into three solutions that you can do. They don't cost you any money. They don't cost you any more time. There's no big process to doing them.
1. Listen to your gut
When you get asked to do something or when there's an opportunity in a verbal invitation, or in an email, I want you to check in with your gut, your stomach, your intuition, that basically is going to tell you “Yes” or “No”.
I get that sometimes it's a limiting belief voice that you're going to hear that says, “No, don't do that.” Because…
Of course, you're listening to make sure it's not your limiting beliefs. But a lot of times when I open my emails, and I get an invitation to come and speak at an event, do a collaboration with someone, or to have someone speak on my podcast, I look at it and I read it, and the best response is, “Hell yeah, let's do this. Let's make this happen. I'm excited.”
The second response is it ends up making me say, “I need to think about this”, or “I need more information before I can decide, but I'm interested.”
The last response is feeling a lack of energy, that void of excitement. This is telling you it’s not the right fit or that if you do do this, there is a chance it's going to deplete your energy. This is because if you're not in resonance (being in the energy and alignment), if you're not in that place, it's going to deplete your energy to do it.
Have you ever said “Yes” to something, and then realized later that it was the wrong decision? You know that feeling that pops up to say, “I'm not liking this. This feels so hard. I don't want to do this.” Instead, if you trust your gut decision in the beginning, you can make a better decision on what you're putting on your plate.
Think of your most favorite type of buffet (Chinese food, Mexican food, potluck, wedding, etc.) and then your favorite food there. For me, oftentimes I go for crab legs so I always make sure I have room for that on my plate. The thing is, you only have so much space on your plate just like you only have so much space in your life and you want everything on your plate to be a “Hell Yeah!”
You don't want to put something on your plate from that buffet that you're like, “I don't really like that.” Personally, I’m not a parsley fan. If a salad is made with cilantro, I’d be all over it. But with parsley? Nah. Imagine if I was to get a massive scoop of salad with parsley and put it on my plate, it’s going to be hard to eat that. I’d become something you’d procrastinate on. It also takes space away from food that you actually like.
Think about that. Everything you put in your calendar and your life should be a “Hell yeah”. Please know that it’s never too late to change your mind. Yes, you may have to finish your term, wind things down or find a replacement, but then you can let it go.
2. Say “No” and mean it
When you listen to your gut and know the decision is no, then say “No” and mean it. If “No” is not a complete answer for you and you need to say more, don't apologize.
It’s easier to say, “Yes” to something else, rather than say “No” to that. Let’s say you’re being asked to be on another board and you're already on some boards, you could say, “Thank you for inviting me. I'm already on two boards and that's my quota for boards this year.” Okay, easy. But maybe you’d rather say “Yes” to your family, your hobbies or just resting. If you want to keep it more generic, you could say, “I'm sorry it doesn't fit into my life right now. I really wish I could.”
3. Take some “Me” time
What I've found in my life and over the past decade of serving my clients is that the start of the day is the perfect time for some time for yourself.
For instance, first thing in the morning you can do:
When you do that at the start of the day, it sets the foundation for the rest of the day, and helps you to handle the craziness of the day. Also, it then guarantees it won’t get pushed aside later in the day.
If you have to take your “Me” time during your lunch hour or at the end of your day because you work a nine to five or have kids and you're crazy busy in the morning, that's fine!
It's a counterbalancing act. On one side, you work really hard, then you need to have a break to fill and recharge yourself.
I hope you will stop spreading yourself so thin by listening to your gut, saying “No” and meaning it and then taking “Me” time.
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