It’s easy to get wrapped up in busyness… even to the point where you’re overworked, overwhelmed, and headed for burnout. That type of busyness often leads you to spend too much time and energy on the wrong things (and too little time on the right things). How can you know when that’s happened and it’s time to reprioritize your life?
There are five tell-tale warning signs to be on the lookout for so that you can quickly course correct and reprioritize.
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5 Signs Telling You to Reprioritize Your Life
Sign #1: You’ve dropped things from your life that give you positive energy and help you decompress.
You know that being overly busy is exhausting – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yet, when you get busy, you drop the things that make you most calm, sane, and happy, don’t you? That’s a sure-fire sign that you need to reprioritize and focus more on the things that help you decompress.
Think about how crazy that is for a moment. Doing a bunch of crap that makes you frustrated, burdened, stressed, and generally unhappy is prioritized over those things that bring you joy, peace, energy, and happiness. And the things that bring you joy, peace, and energy are what help you to
- decrease and manage your stress in the first place; and
- stay clear, calm, and focused (which helps you to be more productive and think more creatively).
What are the things that will help you to feel less stressed (and won’t take so much time that you feel even more stressed)? Think about what you need to feel more rejuvenated. I’m talking about exercising, spending time alone, meditating, praying, eating well, reading a good book, and so on.
I know you feel like there’s not time for this stuff, but that’s not really true. Besides, I’ve got something for you to get started that takes very little time. Download 5-Minute Stress Solutions for 8 proven strategies to manage and prevent stress, take control of your thoughts, and increase mental resilience. You’ll quickly feel: (1) less stressed, (2) more self-confident, and (3) clearer, calmer, and in control.
Sign #2: You’re constantly telling yourself that you need to get more organized and focused.
I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t be organized or focused. However, being organized with and focusing on the wrong things won’t help you. Ever.
So, if you find yourself saying that all you need to do is to focus more (and better) and get more organized, take a step back and rethink whether that’s the real problem. Because often it’s not.
And I know what I’m talking about, because this happens to be my go-to mechanism for coping with overwhelm from too much to do. I’m a master at thinking that all I need to do is organize my tasks better and increase my focus. Unfortunately, this rarely works. Yet I often double down and try to get even more organized and focused.
And I’ve noticed that most people who feel overwhelmed do this as well. You know Albert Einstein’s famous quote about the definition of insanity, right?
If you find yourself doubling down on the “I just need to be more organized and increase my focus” excuse, it’s time to rethink how you’re prioritizing. Because that’s often the real problem. And becoming more focused and better organized won’t help that.
Sign #3: You find it difficult to unplug yourself from work (even when you don’t need to be working).
If you find yourself:
- checking your email when you know you don’t need to (such as when you’re having dinner with your family or right before bed),
- working so much your clients and co-workers can’t tell when you’re on vacation,
- scheduling calls or other work during the weekends a lot (especially when you know it can wait until Monday),
- taking your laptop and/or taking work calls when at your child’s recital and/or sports activities, and/or
- having little to no time to yourself
it’s time to revisit how you’re spending your time. This can be hard to do, because most of us convince ourselves that we’re necessary to whatever is going on at work and that it requires us to be available 24/7. But it’s not true – and it’s time to admit that you’re not that important.
I know that sounds harsh, but the simple fact is that your world of work will continue without you. It won’t come crashing down because you aren’t available from time to time and it will still be there tomorrow.
Plan to have time away from work and stick to it – even calendar it (and notice how the world doesn’t come crashing down because you devoted a few uninterruptible hours – even days – to family and/or friends instead of work).
[Recommended Reading: How To Relax Your Mind (Even When Busy)].
Sign #4: Doing fun stuff with friends and family feels like a chore.
Sometimes, when we get stressed our brains stop functioning properly. And, because of our tendency to feel the need to drop those things that give us the most joy, these fun (and important) activities can start to feel like a burden.
Here’s the thing: going to dinner with your spouse or a friend, attending your child’s recital or baseball game, and meeting a friend for drinks should NEVER feel like a chore. They’re supposed to make you happy. So, if you aren’t enjoying them, it’s time to pause and rethink your priorities.
[Recommended Reading: Why Taking Time to Play Without Guilt Is Important to Your Success and Happiness].
Sign #5: You find yourself saying “I can’t”, “I don’t have time” and/or “I’m busy” a lot.
This one’s pretty obvious. The trick is accepting that being busy isn’t a badge of honor and doesn’t make you more important.
When you find yourself saying this, it’s a sign to let go of the ego and start questioning how you’re spending your time. Because saying “I don’t have time”, “I can’t”, and/or “I’m busy” presumes that there’s something you’d rather be doing that you can’t figure out how to fit in. And it’s time to reprioritize.
[Recommended Reading: Escaping the Busy Trap: How to Ditch the Overworked and Overwhelmed Mindset].
Now it’s time to apply this to your life – and I want you to answer two questions with brutal honesty.
- Which warning signs ring true for you right now? If you’re being honest, I’m willing to bet that at least one or two of these warning signs are showing up in your life right now (because being busy seems to be the societal norm these days).
- What are you willing to do about it? Commit to doing something specific that will obliterate this warning sign from your life quickly.
For help on how to reprioritize your life, read the following article:
And don’t forget to download your free resource, 5-Minute Stress Solutions. In this valuable resource, you’ll get 8 effective stress management and prevention strategies that can be done in 5 minutes or less. Implementing them into your life will (1) transform chaos and overwhelm into calm, (2) increase your inner resilience and self-confidence, and (3) give you more control over your life.