Is it possible to be too busy? American culture glorifies a busy lifestyle: the busier you are, the more successful you are assumed to be. In fact, with the cost of living rising so quickly, most Americans have no choice but to be incredibly busy. However, research shows that slowing down and doing less can actually get us better results than rushing around and being too busy.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being reasonably busy (some people actually thrive on a fast-paced lifestyle), but we’re talking about being too busy. As in: sick, tired, and always stressed kind of busy. This level of busyness takes a serious toll on a person’s health, lowering his quality of life and his productivity. The amount of busyness different people can handle varies greatly, so you’ll have to reference your past experiences and come up with a workload that suits you.
But no matter what you can handle, you will most likely come across seasons where you have to be too busy. Just make sure that they are just that: seasons. You will ultimately have a greater chance of success when you prioritize rest. As nice as that sounds, it can be difficult to put into practice. So, here are three evidence-based strategies to help you prioritize rest:
1. Schedule Rest and Recovery
Taking regular breaks allows our brains to function more creatively. It also causes us to have more breakthrough moments, where we make new connections or come up with solutions to difficult problems. If we stay glued to our desks without ever hitting refresh, we will lose too much precious creativity and efficiency.
When you’re not at work, make sure to schedule at least one day off–and stick to it! If you have a particularly demanding job, create boundaries so you have time to rest and recover. Use your free time to invest in hobbies, relationships, and perhaps most of all… sleep!
2. Do One Thing at a Time
This might seem counterproductive, but when you slow down, you’ll complete tasks faster. You will also have a much healthier stress level because you weren’t constantly trying to snap back into focus. No one wants to finally get off work and feel so tired and stressed that he can’t enjoy his time off! By taking things slowly, you’ll feel more energized and content at the end of the workday.
3. Respond Instead of React
When things get chaotic at work, we often end up trying to do twenty things at once. In some cases, we don’t have much of a choice. Customers keep flooding in, students have never-ending needs, oversights demand impossible results… what can you do? Not much, but you can respond rather than react. Responding is done thoughtfully over time, normally with positive results; reacting is done spur-of-the-moment, normally with negative results.
So, how do you respond rather than react. You can do the best you can under the circumstances. You can slow down and pace yourself. When we rush through tasks, we drop balls, needs get miscommunicated, and we make more errors. To keep this from happening, slow down and create more space in your life and work. When things get out of control, accept that it is what it is for the moment and simply do your best. When things finally slow down just enough, do whatever you can to take a break or complete an easy task.
In today’s world, slowing down isn’t always easy. If stress is taking a toll on your health, contact our office so we can help you get your energy back!