There were times in my life in growing my business and managing my family that I was running on fumes. Being an entrepreneur is an exhilarating and challenging adventure filled with highs and lows. I understand the feeling of being on top of the world one moment with the new client you’ve won, and crashing to earth at a lightning pace the two minutes later after realizing the bank account is short for payroll. And this is just one aspect of your life. Add to it the desire to be present with your family and friends and give back to your community. The list goes on…
For many years I was all on my own as a single Mom and it was especially hard to keep a balance between work and home. Working in commercial facility services – an industry that is on the go 24/7 – makes it challenging to stay on top of everything. Admittedly, I was overworked, overcommitted and overwhelmed.
Entrepreneurs and business professionals alike often struggle with juggling too many balls and end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed trying to keep up in this fast-paced world we live in. Technology is making it even worse with the constant barrage of communication. We can instantly connect at any time of the day, almost anywhere in the world. We are even taking phone calls and texts from the device on our wrist.
For some reason we have bought into the lie that we have to be “on” all of the time. I have bought into this myself, and the CEO’s I coach struggle with the same thing. At a meeting a while back I asked the question of how many of them had actually “unplugged,” meaning completely shut off from their email and work for a vacation. There was not one hand held high in the room, none of them could disconnect; not even for 24 hours.
This is a problem. We simply don’t need to live like this. We can choose to disconnect. We can give ourselves permission to unplug and take the time to rest and recharge. Realize that it is important for us to take time to care for ourselves, to rejuvenate in order to operate at our best.
Revisit your Priorities
Another step we can take to prevent overwork and overcommitment is to look at everything you have on your schedule and decide what needs to come off. We all have 24 hours in a day, and it is up to us how to use them. I remember finding myself drained from being completely overcommitted. I was involved in many good things, but there were just too many for me to keep up the pace.
I evaluated what my top priorities were, along with what things were giving me energy and what things were draining it. By going through this process of revisiting my priorities, I made the decision to lift some commitments off my schedule. It required some tough decisions and learning to say “no” more often. Looking at my daily work calendar, it became obvious I had too much on my plate, and it was time for me to hire some additional management help in my business to take some of my workload.
Prioritizing what was most important in my life put me back in the driver’s seat once again. I made the necessary choices and was back in control of my life.
You can learn to prevent overwork and overcommitment in your life. It is not easy, but you can do it. And it is well worth it.
Originally published on Quora.