So many things to do, so little time.
I don’t know about you, but it always feels like a million things are competing for my attention.
There’s that urgent email I need to reply to, a file I need to submit by the end of the week, and of course, a movie I’ve been meaning to watch for the past few months.
Work-life balance can feel like a pipe dream when everything is just piling up.
The more work we have in front of us, the easier it is to get into a frantic state of mind.
I noticed that busy people often do things in an effort to finish things faster, but are actually counterproductive. I’ve managed to pinpoint these habits in my own life and replace them with better habits.
Do you find yourself doing any of the following?
1) Trying to Do Everything At Once
Do you ever see those people who are completely frazzled?
They’re pulling their hair, running from place to place, and barely have time to breathe. It’s like they’re trying to do everything under the Sun and completely panicking.
I used to think people like this got more done. That is, until I saw their results. I then realized that trying to do everything prevents you from getting really good at anything.
Trying to do everything is an indicator of lack of decisiveness, not ambition. So if you want to become an expert at something, it means saying no to other opportunities – at least for now.
For instance, top ranked tennis player Serena Williams is into fashion and has her own clothing line. But when she first started out, she focused all her energy on becoming the top female tennis player. Her fashion business came later.
Become the best in one area, and then branch out later.
2) Just Winging it
I remember back in school when we had to prepare presentations for the class. There was always someone who would say, “I’m just going to wing it!”
Chances are, that person wasn’t performing at the top of the class. Even if they were, the person wasn’t actually winging it.
High-achieving people are proactive, rather than reactive. They prepare relentlessly and practice daily so that when the time comes, their performance is flawless.
When you listen to a comedian like Chris Rock, it seems like he’s a naturally funny guy. But it turns out that his comedy routine is the result of months and months of practice, along with numerous test runs in smaller comedy clubs.
If you want to excel, don’t wing it. Practice instead.
3) Not Giving Yourself Any Free Time
A common misconception is that successful people work day and night non-stop. They don’t have time for fun or games.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Creative people and innovators often need spare time in order to explore. By taking time to relax, they can reflect on obstacles they face and see them from a different perspective.
Arianna Huffington herself said that sleep is the secret to success. So often, we think that not having any time to rest is a badge of honor that we wear proudly. Instead, we should think about getting more sleep to re-energize, become happier, and get more done.
If you want to feel refreshed and creative, try taking a break from your work.
4) Skipping lunch
A friend bragged to me the other day that she had worked for 18 hours a day, non-stop. She revealed that she frequently forgets to eat because she’s so busy.
On the other hand, another friend gets lots of sleep and cooks his own food. He has more spare time and energy for hobbies. Guess who burned out eventually?
Skipping meals lowers your energy and concentration levels, so that you get less work done for each hour you put in. It also leads to increased cravings for foods that are quick fixes, like junk food and sweets.
I find that preparing my lunch the evening beforehand helps to set up my day right so that I don’t have to look around for something unhealthy to quickly satisfy my hunger. It also gives me one less thing to worry about the next day.
5) Micromanaging Everything
Micromanagement is a common problem for perfectionists who need everything to be done their way. They tend to hover over other people’s work, and try doing things that could have been done more easily by someone else.
The worst part about micromanaging is that other people feel smothered and dissatisfied that their work isn’t respected.
Instead of looking over every single detail, try to focus more on the big picture. Loosen the reins to give others some decision-making power (to a certain extent). It’ll be better for your health and well-being.