If you are run ragged, fatigued, and you have a to-do list that’s as long as your arm, it’s time to take heed of the signs you don’t have enough free time. If you don’t, you’ll enter a circle of being too tired to achieve anything, so your to-do list gets longer, you sleep less trying to get it all done, and you sleep even less, becoming even more fatigued. This is dangerous – this is when trying to juggle everything becomes stressful and starts to put your health at risk. You work dammed hard but you need to play hard too, and you need to give yourself the gift of indulgent rest time when you can re-energize and reinvigorate. Let’s see if you recognize these signs you don’t have enough free time.
Signs you don’t have enough free time include your friends and family repeatedly saying how busy you are and you taking no notice. You feel they are being judgemental but they’re concerned. The truth is they can see you are under pressure but you can’t. Take their comments as a sign to slow down by taking time off for yourself because even one day away from work and responsibilities would make a big difference, to you and them.
A lot of your time is spent wishing you had more time, or mentally going through your to-do list, or rearranging your schedule. If you do this more than three times in a day then you are under stress. These are all signs you are overscheduled and you need time away from daily tasks. It would help if you just didn’t do one (maybe two) task(s) of low importance. Instead, listen to some music or go for a walk and enjoy the sights, or people watch rather than thinking about work and responsibilities.
Another of the signs you do not have enough free time is your reaction to a surprise element – maybe something you missed off your burgeoning to-do list, or something you simply didn’t know was coming your way. You are so bound to your tight schedule you can’t deal with the unexpected. You would have some free time if you rearrange tasks on your list. It is sensible to rather have fifteen minutes between all tasks and appointments so you can be flexible. Scheduling important back-to-back meetings is not good because the unexpected is a part of life. Cramming everything you need to do at work or in the house is not the way to accomplish them.
Do you eat meals while on the phone, at your desk, in the car or while you are briskly walking to another meeting? Do you have time to choose what you eat or just grab whatever’s handy? This is a habit that leads to ill health and isolates you from sharing mealtimes with others. Slow down. Think about what you are eating and make yourself food that not only refuels you, but that you enjoy too. And sit down to eat it away from whatever task you’re currently focussed on.
If you try to gain more time in a work day by sleeping less and you make up for it over the weekend by sleeping late, then you know it’s time to deal with the signs you don’t have enough time. Not getting enough sleep is unhealthy and could even be dangerous. Too little sleep is bad for your memory, problem solving skills, sex drive and ability to empathize. You should get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
You can’t even remember when you last had a good physical workout! You haven’t exercised for, well you don’t know how long, and you’re starting to feel the effects of weight gain, sluggishness and mood swings; all signs you are overscheduled. You, like everyone else, must exercise regularly to be healthy, alert and relaxed. It’s great that you might be running around like a loony trying to do everything you have to do, but that’s not as good as a regular, planned workout. Include working out on your to-do list and make sure you do it – regularly!
You’ve fallen into the trap of putting off medical checkups because you are too busy. If you don’t believe your health is a priority, your body will soon tell you. Indications you are overstretched include worry, restlessness, frequent headaches, tense muscles, aches and pains and a racing heart. Don’t ignore these signals. Most of them are easily solvable with the right actions. There are plenty of articles on AWS on how to prioritise, how to write achievable to-do lists, and how to take back control of your life. Your attitude and deciding that things need to change is the first and major step. If you need help, there’s no shame in asking for it. Talk to your partner, BFF or even your mother; anyone who will be supportive but realistic and provide usable advice.
We all have periods of time where we can’t see the wood for the trees but if it goes on for too long, it simply isn’t healthy. Don’t ignore the signs you don’t have enough free time – they’re shouting out at you for a reason! Are you an habitual over-scheduler?
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