Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

The ABC’s of Overworked, Tired, and Burned Out

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We all have moments when we feel overworked or tired. Sometimes it is obvious that we need a break, but we are often so deep into overwhelm that we cannot pin-point the why or what, or how to fix it.

The differences between how we feel and function when we are overworked or tired are very subtle, in fact, they can cross over.

Overworked

  • Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Decreased stamina, power, and speed
  • Decreased joy in life
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time

Fatigued

  • Emotions are unstable – shifting from irritable, short tempered, to sad
  • Loss or gain of weight (too tired to eat vs. eating in hopes of an energy gain)
  • Unable to focus on exercise
  • Feeling of stress
  • Weak or short attention span
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
  • Fuzzy minded

The feeling of being fuzzy minded is the key difference between feeling overworked and feeling fatigued. When we feel overworked we may lose touch with joy, but we do not necessarily feel a lack of clarity. We still function as far as thinking is concerned when we are overworked, but we feel frustration and this drags us down in production.

In comparison, you can safely drive a car when you are overworked. In fact, you may feel you drive better under these circumstances. When you are tired your attention span is short. You do not think clearly, which narrows your driving ability down to unsafe levels.

Have you ever felt overworked, yet, everything felt blurred, to the point you could not figure out how to resolve it? You may have been overworked, but if the hammer had dropped the verdict would have been YOU WERE TIRED.

The steps to correcting overwork are:

  • Prioritize
  • Say no
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Set limits (schedule work hours and stick to it)
  • Delegate

The steps to fixing tired are:

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Shut down early before going to sleep (turn off the phone and anything related to online)
  • Exercise appropriately
  • Eat well and drink water

Burnout is also close in line behind the symptoms of overworked and tired.

You may feel:

  • Most days are bad days
  • Exhausted nearly all of the time
  • Spend the day doing tasks that feel overwhelming or not interesting
  • Nothing you do seems to make a difference or feels appreciated

Burnout affects your body, home, work, and social life. It is like a ship wreck in progress. You hit a rock and the boat begins to fall apart.

Here’s what you can do to kick burnout to the curb:

  1. Manage stress – get it under control
  2. Increase social contact (but do not expect people to fix you)
  3. Exercise (focus on the health of your body…make it tick well)
  4. Find value in what you do (or just be, you don’t have to DO!)
  5. Balance life (life, work, friends, family, whatever you value in your personal world)
  6. Take time off (for YOU)
  7. Eat healthy and drink water
  8. Set boundaries
  9. Take a break from technology

What do these 9 steps do for you? #1, nourishment of creativity through increased health and relaxation. It is like closing a gate to something that sucks the life out of you.

This is your mission…watch your body and mind for signs of fatigue, burnout, or overwork. Know the difference between the three, and nurture yourself through awareness and prevention.

Introvert & Personality Types

Introvert or Extrovert? Why Should I Know?

introvert extravert difference www.maryhumphreycoaching.comThe nerd in me loves to consider personality types. I especially love the topic of introverts and extroverts. The most important thing that I have learned when it comes to personality is you cannot change the spots on a leopard. Instead, I now see that we need to understand our differences and embrace them.

Do you know which type you are, an introvert or an extrovert? I am an introvert.

I am not writing this article to pinpoint every personality plus or minus about introverts, just those that are prominent, such as:

Introverts Dislike Small Talk

I used to beat myself up when I felt tired after experiencing a period of lengthy small talk, or after a long social gathering. I didn’t understand that this is the introvert fabric that I am made of! So, I put the self-inflicting ball bat away and I began nurturing who I am.

Introvert Career or Business Paths

Introverts typically love to write and are interested in psychology, especially when it includes self-discovery or introspect. Other independent areas of interest to introverts often include accounting, engineering, computer programming, and counseling. All of these areas either currently interest me, or have been a past career except for engineering and counseling (I chose the role of life coach rather than counseling). Knowing that my interests are common to introversion helped me remove my seeking to be normal out of the equation. I am a normal introvert.

Introverts Dislike Meeting Strangers

Experts also say that introverts feel uncomfortable meeting strangers. This is the only trait I personally disagree with because I love – adore – meeting strangers.

Introverts and Extroverts Love People

Introverts are not shy. They do not dislike people. They are great counselors and coaches because these careers and businesses require excellent listening skills.

Extroverts love people. Introverts love people as well, but extroverts are energized by socializing with people. Extroverts are great in sales, marketing, human resources, pretty much any job where they can stand on their feet and think, literally and verbally, all at the same time.

Introvert and Extrovert Listening Skills

An introvert might need to listen, step back, think about situations or ideas, and then return to them later. An extrovert is eager, ready to make on-the-spot decisions, give their two cents with little or no thinking time required. This reminds me of what the diet experts say, “Everything is okay in moderation.” Everything, such as introversion or extroversion (in moderation) is okay!

Benefits of Being Aware of Personality Types

Pinning personality stereotypes on people is not fair, nor is it smart. But awareness of what our differences are, and how we’re uniquely made, can be uplifting and beneficial to each and every one of us. We learn:

  • To accept other personality types. It teaches us to be patient.
  • To talk less, and listen, or talk more and practice listening at the same time.
  • To walk closer to the middle of life’s road rather than in the safety or emergency breakdown lanes.
  • To make wise decisions. To listen, study (to think first), and then make decisions!

How has your life benefitted from knowing or understanding the personalities of others? Has your personality type (introvert or extrovert) affected how you manage your career, business, or life itself?

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Small Steps Lead To Long Term Change

small steps saving money www.maryhumphreycoaching.comThere are so many things that a person can do to spark up a sense of achievement in their lives. The smallest of steps taken forward, what may even seem inconsequential at the moment, often amounts to huge lasting impact.

We decide to lose 30 pounds and at the 10 pound mark we purchase a single new item of clothing and what happens from there? We wear that new garment, even if it is purchased at a second-hand store (a treat for some of us, right?), with a gleaming sense of, “I feel good.” The gratification of wearing something new, an item that we can now fit into because of our efforts, boosts our confidence and creates an inward and outward change, which adds to our self-esteem. It adds encouragement to our thought process, and we continue going after the remainder of your weight loss! By the way, do not hang onto the old clothes as they become baggy. Give them away, clean that clutter out of your closet and your mind! The shear act of ridding our closet of the larger clothes, out of sight, out of mind, can lead to a lasting change of mindset.

You want to learn a new language, I’ll use Spanish as an example. We don’t have to spend a fortune to learn. I decided that I wanted to casually learn Spanish. So, I began reading the secondary lines printed on packaging (food, cosmetics), and even on the doors of buildings. I bought a drop-in-your purse sized handbook, Spanish/English to English/Spanish, and I check words out whenever I am curious. I ask my Hispanic friends and co-workers, “How do you say that in Spanish?” I have fun learning, and they certainly have fun when they hear my non-Spanish sounding rendition. Learning this language is rewarding and will be even more so as time moves forward as I have the opportunity to use it. I am reaching for a long-term goal and I am having fun while doing so.

Saving money works in a similar manner. Are you tired of not saving? $5.00 a week is a great starting point. Today, you save $5.00, multiply that by 52 weeks = $260.00 saved in one year. What if you upped that to $25.00 a week? You will have saved $1300.00 twelve months from now! Unfortunately, $25.00 does not seem to go far these days, but, let’s break the savings down into small chunks. Instead of spending $9.00 for lunch (out), bring lunch to the office twice a week. Instead of buying coffee out, carry it with you. Look at this math: $18.00 (lunches saved) + $8.00 ($15.00 + coffee saved) = $26.00 x 52 weeks a year = $1352.00 saved in one year. Once we get in the habit of saving, of accomplishing this one thing a week for ourselves, it can become lasting change. We prove to ourselves what we might have thought impossible and it sticks.

I’ve listed several ways small steps can lead to permanent and fulfilling life change. It is your turn. Jump in and share manageable steps that you have taken towards goals. How have these added value to your every day life and long-term goals?

 

 

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices

Freedom: Decision Making Made Real

reaching for the sky www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI have mulled over one word these past few weeks: Decision.

This thought process came to a head on New Year’s Day, 2016. How fitting is decision for a new year, a new start…and I ask, how about making it a permanent thought process for the rest of your/my life?

As I have, you might want to print this post, or take notes. I tape reminder notes in places where I see them often. This is because a quick change of heart or mind can take place immediately, but lasting change, especially when it involves a mindset, normally involves an overhaul of life-time thinking patterns. We need reminders!

Decision. It is only an idea, a thought, until we take action.

“I made a decision today. I settled, concluded, chose, voted, made up my mind to ____________ (fill in the blank).” I may have decided to write a new book a year ago, but until I start writing the book, it is only a goal or aspiration.

What can we do to make our decisions stick? Take the first step, move it to the next level, and follow-up with subsequent steps until the decision becomes an action…until we can announce, “I did it!”

Procrastination is the killer of turning decisions into reality. (I raise my hand in admission to this fault.) Why do we procrastinate? The number one reason is FEAR. Bold faced fear.

So, what do we do now? We have this idea, this “decision,” and now we find our fear-filled selves saying, “Oh, perhaps I should not make that decision. I should not rock the boat. I should not create more work stress for myself. I think the best thing to do is nothing…” Yes, taking the easy way out. Is it truly the easy way out? No. What happens a week from now, or a year, or even a life-time later when we realize that we have never done what we felt called to do? We miss out. That is sad. We miss out on making a difference in our lives, or the lives of others. We fail to make our personal contribution to the world.

Face your fears. Stare them down. Study them. Know them inside out. Break them down into small manageable chunks (or crumbs). Change what you can and make the choice to ignore or forge through what you cannot change. Remember, we cannot change others, and we cannot change the world. We can only change how we react to it. You can only change you!

By breaking fear down, we discover the truth–real things that we should fear, which ultimately amounts to very little. We also become aware of our inner-generated story and falsehoods. The lies that we believe, and we are often monumental story tellers.

Meditate on people, those that you consider a mentor, or those that you admire. Think about the accomplishments of these people. Where would they be today if they used fear as an excuse in their lives? What if they never moved forward with an idea (made it a decision) because of self-doubt, “I am not (educated, beautiful, trained, smart enough, young enough, old enough).”

I made the decision to not accept the “what if’s” that surface in my life. The action that I took when I made that decision was to not mentally use any excuse, to only use good judgment. What if I make a mistake? What if I make the wrong choice? Growth is a bundle of both bad and good choices. Can we mature without a solid learning process?

Steps for the three F’s: Break down fear. Release your faith. Allow your faith to spread until there is no room for fear to survive. Experience freedom.

Keep moving forward, my friends. Move those feet, take those steps…advance. Turn those decisions into actions!

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Managing Stress

Managing Life by what You Value

life values www.maryhumphreycoaching.comAre you super busy?  Does your day not feel normal if you aren’t working, or if you aren’t on the go?

Do you often feel something is missing in your life?

I see myself in all of the above from time to time. We all do.

What I have discovered is how my fast paced daily work-life carries into my home life. I tend to feel uneasy when I sit still, and I feel the urge to get up and produce something.

Our personalities are different, of course. Some of us are driven by production, some are driven by peaceful rest.

Think about people that you know that curl their legs beneath them and focus on a book with total abandonment to the world. Or, they take a walk, and they do not look at their phone while they do so. They enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, or nature. They sleep at night without wondering what they will do to manage an unfinished project at work. They pray in their quiet space each day, or several times a day, taking beautiful care of their mental and spiritual health. They turn Facebook off for 24 hours, or longer, and it does not leave them feeling like they are missing out on things of importance. They sit down with their baby, delighting in tiny wisps of laughter, instead of mopping the floor.

What do we do to shut it all off, to find peace (slow the pace down), to bring on the sense of complete in our world?

First, we realize that work will always be work. In other words, it is never-ending, and the only thing that separates us from it is to stand up and walk away. We close the door behind us and say work is never finished, but our work-life is.

Second, we realize that it is okay to sit still. It is okay to unload our minds and be quiet. It is okay to turn off the phone, or at least, to only check it occasionally for emergency calls or texts. It is okay to tell our friends that we are shutting down…and God bless the friends that urge you to do this!

Try this:

List the top 10 things that you personally value in life. Arrange this list by the most (#10) to the least important.

Of these top 10 things, write down what you have completed from the list today.

If your top 10 thing is to write, have you written today?

If your #10 is to connect with family, have you called your mother, sister, or brother today?

If your top 10 item is to enjoy nature, have you enjoyed nature today?

So, you don’t have a load of time today for the most valuable things on your list, how about #5, #3, or #1?

Post your list to the dash of your car, your refrigerator, on at the top of your calendar in your work space.

Make it a practice to make choices from your own personal value list each and every day.

The fidgety feeling of “What am I missing?,” or, “What should I do today?,” will ease itself off because you will be focusing your life on what you value.

Start now.

Let me know as it works for you.

The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important becuase of how long you life, you are important because of how effective you live.  – Myles Munroe

Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

Reminder: Slow Down to See the Obvious

puzzling frustration www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI am in the process of building a website for my coaching business.

When the new site name jumped out at me (it is exactly the message that I want to convey), I scooped up the domain and began the process of pointing it to the website. I’ve been through this process numerous times so I felt it would be a smooth deal. I knew I would have a published website in no time flat.

After waiting 24 hours, I discovered that I had input one DNS number incorrectly. There would be no additional stumbling blocks ahead, right?

After I returned home from work the following day, I eagerly logged onto my lap-top to check out my new website. No. Nope. Na-da. The site still had not published.

Nearly a full week later, 6 days to be exact, with my head feeling like it was in a whirlpool and swirling downwards fast, I decided to push my stubbornness aside and I requested help from live chat. I carefully laid out the history of my troubles, and I asked, “What am I missing?” The chat person asked me for my domain name. After a pause, they replied, “Nobody owns that domain.” In disbelief I typed, “No way!” I quickly erased the words as reality sunk in.

Was it possible? What had I done? WiseWomenOfNobleCharacter was WiseWomanOfNobleCharacter. In my hurry, coupled with a lack of sleep, and in the pursuit of getting something important finished (all too) quickly, I had missed my new business website name by one character.

What happened that day is a common occurence…caused by speeding through a task, allowing frustration to take the lead, coupled with looking for a big problem, when indeed it was, and often is, something small.

My friend, Kayla, of Red Cedar Bison, and Selah Press, was operating the booth at her local farm market that morning. She posted on her Facebook page, “You know your market samples are good when we are nearly out of samples by 10 am. One lady said the sample was like a party in her mouth.” Kayla is one of the most optimistic women that I know. As simple as her statement was that morning, it spoke to me clearly. I was not working in a cheerful way, and I was rushing through what could have been a joyous time. How was I with giving out samples (of smart coaching), if I was only raising my blood pressure and running on the fuel of a flustered spirit?

Moral to this story: Take your time. Ask for help. Get enough sleep. Don’t expect big things to go wrong, and inspect the small things. Enjoy the process! Do not detract from the creativity that you possess!

Moliere said it well, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit.”

(By the way…I purchased both domain names. If I made that mistake, so will someone else. Covered.)

Goal Setting and Prioritizing

The Connection – Clock Watching and Procrastination

clock watching www. maryhumphreycoaching.com8:00 a.m., my office phone sprang to life. It was the CPA. The pressure was on. Not only was I required to reconcile the bank account, which should have been finished weeks ago, he asked me to “snug up the cash” and balance the statement that I had just received.

That early in the day I wanted to rush to the coffee pot (guzzle the whole thing?), turn down the air conditioning in anticipation of sweat production, and I pondered what else I might do to make the day seem less daunting. Pamper me baby. As I looked at the mountains of work growing by the day on my desk I felt little hope. How was I to do this? What would be the outcome if I didn’t complete what I needed to do today?

After hours of putting out spot fires, I clocked in early from lunch with heavy dread rolling in the pit of my stomach. I fell into silent prayer, “Father, I know this is not the most important thing to pray for, but I practically need a miracle. Please help me stay calm so I can finish this today.”

My co-worker made faces through the glass, “Don’t look so serious. You’ll wrinkle your forehead.” Was that meant as humor? Yes. He was right. Relax those facial muscles, woman. You know how to do it, start at the forehead, feel the tension loosen in your eyebrows, and next work on your eyes. That’s the ticket, keep on going. Slacken the jaw. There, you have it.

I got the first statement completed. I was in awe when I glanced through my office window into the lobby. The hands of the serious-looking industrial wall clock had barely moved. A rush of encouragement filled my veins. I can do this!

I dived into the second statement knowing that I had enough time to complete it if I held a positive frame of mind. I never looked at the clock again. Not only did I finish that long dreaded task, I sorted through plans for the next day. It was then that I heard the excited voices of people gathering in the hall outside my door. What in the world was going on in the middle of the afternoon? Then, they left the building, every one of them!

I squinted through the glass and broke out in laughter at what I saw, the old clock was standing still. It had quit working three hours earlier! It was time to go home.

Pure joy filled my heart, and then the lesson came to light.

  1. Trust myself.
  2. Notice where and when procrastination begins (and make it end).
  3. Prayer is always key.
  4. Relaxing is smart and necessary.

The biggest lesson of all — the clock means little.

What have we lost in our lives by clock watching? We watch the hours and minutes rush by, and we push for deadlines, but we shove forward in the opposite direction. We make terrible choices when we feel stress. Instead of feeling motivated we select the road of procrastination, the fastest way to get the most done, which leaves us ignoring what we view as particularly time consuming or difficult. Where does this get us? Tired bones that want to drop in a chair and do nothing, leaving a cluttered mess of what remains, and crumbled pieces that fall through the cracks.

I challenge you to try setting an alarm or reminder, and stop watching time move by. Slow down. Have faith. Do not set the outcome of your life by the clock.

The biggest benefit — a positive enjoyment of life and work, and real accomplishment.