9 Signs You’re Simply Too Busy to Be Successful

9 Signs You’re Simply Too Busy to Be Successful


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May 18, 2024 at 3:4AM UTC

Maybe you’re one of those people who, during the course of COVID, has managed to step back and work more wellness into their days. Or maybe you feel the exact opposite. 

It’s hard to unplug when your to-do list is 10 miles long. And for a lot of people, their lists at work really have become substantially longer over the past several months, as they absorb the work of laid-off colleagues. Too many companies, it seems, don’t believe that a downsized workforce should equal any less, well, work. Go figure. 

Against this backdrop of high output, high expectations and equally high stress levels, it’s no wonder that burnout is steadily on the rise. If your job is putting too much on your plate, it isn’t setting you up to be successful — no matter how hard you work or the number of hours you’re logging in front of a screen. 

If any of the following signs of busyness-to-the-point-of-overwhelm resonate with you, it’s likely time to have a conversation with your manager about resetting expectations. 

1. Your temper is flaring up, often. 

If you’re overwhelmingly busy, it’s all-too easy for the small stressors to tip you over the edge.

2. Your actual productivity is suffering, despite the number of hours you put in. 

You know that you're working a ton, but when you compare it against what you feel you've actually accomplished, there's a disconnect.

3. You can’t stop thinking about your to-do list, even during supposed “downtime.”

It’s rare that you can pass an hour without a thought of "that one thing you still need to do” creeping up. 

4. The last thing you do before bed has to do with work. 

"Hopping back online" for a couple hours — or any amount of time at all — has become far too-regular a part of your nighttime routine.

5. You check your work email or Slack notifications obsessively.

And you have push notifications enabled, too.

6. You struggle to think of any personal goals you’re working toward in life. 

The goals you're supposed to be hitting for work, on the other hand, you can recite in a heartbeat. 

7. The last time you turned on an OOO auto-reply in email was… months ago.

This can be a good (and sometimes harsh) barometer of balance. When you go into your email settings, what’s the date that appears for the last time your “vacation responder” was turned on?

8. Your physical health is suffering.

Headaches and tense or sore muscles have become a daily reality.

9. If you were given a completely free day tomorrow, you have no idea how you’d use it.

Your use of time has become so oriented around work that conceiving of a day without it is difficult. 

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