Modern life is incredibly competitive and fast-paced, and it’s normal for people to respond that they’re busy when they’re asked how they are. But there’s a line between being busy and being so busy that there’s practically no room for rest or leisure. Contrary to what some people may believe, being too busy is not a status that should be shown off like a badge of honour. At some point, an overly busy person may find themselves past their threshold for being productive and instead encounter a crisis in which they’re unable to perform their job with the same energy or sense of purpose.
If you’ve come to this point at your current job, it’s a sign for you to step back and think deeply about what’s causing you so much strain. Failing to do that may sour your relationship with your job as well as cause significant problems in your life outside of work.
Below are seven red flags that may mean that your work-life balance is off. Take these as signs that you need to do things differently in order to lead a happier, healthier and more balanced life.
Work Occupies Most of Your Headspace
It’s understandable for you to be worried about work when things have gotten extra hectic, or when you have a major project coming up. But if it seems like your mind is preoccupied with work on a round-the-clock basis, regardless of how things actually are at the office, it’s best for you to slow down. Tell yourself that work doesn’t have to occupy your every thought and that you don’t have to worry about things that are out of your control. Free your mind so that there’s a healthy amount of headspace for you to dedicate to your family, friends, hobbies and interests.
You’d Rather Rush Even for Things That Don’t Pertain to Work
Another worrying sign that you may be too busy is that you want to rush through your daily tasks, even the ones that don’t have anything to do with work. When you have the urge to go through your day-to-day routine at breakneck speed, much like you do with your work deliverables, stop and remember how important the little things are. Try to be in the moment when you’re doing something like exercising, sharing a meal with your family or immersing yourself in meditation and prayer. For inspiration that can compel you to slow down and reflect on life’s purpose, consider browsing religious resources like the Muslim Pro app.
You Find It Harder and Harder to Focus on Things
Yet another red flag that may indicate that you’re too busy is that you have a harder time than usual focusing on things. Have people commented that you’ve been spacey, or do you find it difficult to concentrate on even menial tasks? If so, you might be able to trace your lack of focus to the fact that you’re juggling too much work or spreading yourself too thin. For both work tasks and tasks related to your daily routine, practise focusing on something until you complete it, and try to unburden yourself of
other anxieties that get in the way.
You’ve Become Messier and More Disorganised
People who are overly busy also tend to neglect their immediate surroundings. In putting all your energy into your work deliverables, you may have found yourself stacking up papers, food and drink containers, and other items all over your workstation. Being untidy with your things can cause you extra inconvenience when you need something, and a cluttered environment may make you even more anxious about doing work. You can practise mindfulness as well as break up the hectic pace of your work routine by setting aside time to reorganise your things. When you’re done, you’ll feel both relieved and a little more motivated to accomplish your tasks at a reasonable rate.
You Hardly See Your Friends and Family
Take it as a worrisome sign if your work habits cause your friends and family members to miss you. If you barely have enough time to spend with them—and if they still feel like they don’t have your full attention when you’re together—see what you can do to re-evaluate your work arrangements and work habits. Your livelihood is important, but it cannot always supersede the people who are precious to you. Make room in your busy schedule for quality time and milestone celebrations, and see the difference it will make to your overall well-being.
You Aren’t Eating or Sleeping as Well as You Should Be
Sadly enough, some work cultures celebrate unhealthy diets and sleep deprivation on top of stressful work environments. These are often seen as the marks of a tough, competent and dedicated employee. But no job should compel someone to risk their overall health to the point where they are always ill, hungry or exhausted. If your work lifestyle has gravely affected your eating and sleeping habits, and if it’s made you more susceptible to getting sick, make it your goal to intervene. And if your work arrangements are still toxic despite your best efforts to be healthier and advocate for yourself, consider taking a break or leaving altogether.
You Feel Burnt Out and Disillusioned
Lastly, if you no longer enjoy or find purpose in the work you’re doing, and if every day seems redundant and pointless, you’re due for a long breather and a change in perspective. There’s no such thing as a perfect job, but a good one will motivate you to bring your best self forward and work towards a meaningful goal even in busy times. Take a step back when it feels like your busyness has drowned out your sense of purpose. It may help to remember why you joined your industry and why you chose to work at your company in the first place. Putting those values back into the centre of your work routine may make it less unnecessarily busy, and more joyful and purposeful.
You may not be able to help being a busybody from time to time, but you shouldn’t ignore your wellbeing or overexert yourself. Strike a balance in your life by knowing your priorities, taking enough time to rest and reflect, and working towards an immediate future that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.