Massage Today Get the Latest News FASTER - View Digital Editions Now!
Massage Today dotted line
dotted line

dotted line
Share |
  Forward PDF Version  

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

About the Columnist
Other Articles

Tell Tale Signs Your Schedule is Running You

It seems lately I have been hearing a reoccurring theme among colleagues and therapists. It is one I am sure we have all encountered at one time or another, but as of late, I find I am hearing and speaking more about it than ever before. It is, simply put, burn out.

Burn out can take many forms and cover a wide array of areas in our personal and professional lives. It can be from over work, over focus, over exposure, over thinking, and under expressing. When you find yourself saying things in your mind like, "Can I just get five minutes to breathe please?" Or maybe, "I can't remember the last time I did something truly FUN." Or even something like, "I hate this phone, all it does is ring," you may indeed be on your way to burn out. Here are a few tips on how to regain a centered and balance schedule.

I think it's fair to say that success is something everyone wants, but also something everyone views differently. When striving to be the best you can be, regardless of how you gauge success, the pursuit need not cost you happiness. It is hugely important that we not sacrifice the daily joys in order to meet some self-imposed expectation. In doing so, you might achieve your goal, but the cost you have paid might be far greater than the sum total of the success you have found.

Tell Tale Signs Your Schedule is Running You - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark If you allow yourself to be honest and you find yourself thinking, "At this rate, I will never being caught up. I cannot find a moments peace," you should really take a step back and take an honest look at what is frustrating you. Is this primarily the result of a root cause that goes a bit deeper? Are you managing your time well? Are you being impactfulin the things you do get accomplished or do you leave things unfinished for the sake of time, and out of distraction? Does leaving things undone quietly eat at you until you force yourself to make time to complete it? If so, this is likely interfering with your peace of mind, causing you undue guilt and stress and is very much a sign of having a time management challenge.

In my experience, I think burn out revolved heavily around time management. Time is a valuable resource and its proper allocation and disbursement can mean more readily achievable success, without sacrificing personal happiness. Setting boundaries is an incredibly important part of planning your way to success. I would like to share with you a few tools you can use to help you run your schedule, and not have your schedule run you!

Step 1

When you are working, put away the phone for anything other than work related activities. I believe it is safe to say, for the most part, most of us have an established "work day". Not all people share the same work hours, but we all primarily agree there is a portion of our waking day we ordinarily dedicate to the pursuit of our job or career goals. This time can easily get away from because of controllable distractions. These distractions can be simple things like checking your social media, calling a friend to chat, or checking the news. These are well proven to be time sucking activities that prohibit you from doing things pertinent to your success in a timely manner. Consider this: if you took a moment to look at your phone to check your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other site, you may only be planning to take three minutes and do a quick sweep. But if we are all honest, I think we can agree this three minute exercise can turn into 30 minutes or more, easily. Then extrapolate that by how many times you may do this a day, and before you know it, an hour or more out of your day is being spent on things not related to your work, which you may well end up paying for on the days you should have off or by extending your work time into your at home time.

Do yourself and your mental health a favor and politely let friends and family know your work day is just that, time you spend dedicated to work. Of course, things will arise that will need your attention, but the propensity to just call and check in, or even share information of a personal nature during your dedicated work time is something that may be robbing you of your work time, thus impinging on your true personal time by having to play catch up. Finding ways to stay on task, cutting the mental clutter, remaining focused and having clear timeframes in which you plan to have any job completed is a great step in taking back control of your schedule.

Step 2

Give yourself and your personal down time the importance you give your workday. You may have heard the old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." You can add to it and say it makes Jack cranky, tired, and also mentally drained. The first step in taking back your personal time is recognizing when you will be planning it. If you have a job that ends on Friday evening, then take the appropriate steps to unplug from the minutia and only allow your personal time with yourself, family, or friends to be interrupted for emergencies. This may mean willing yourself to leave that email alone. Or perhaps even the extreme of turning off the phone for a block of time. I know that seems extreme, but the reality is, without the mental break from the work responsibility, the weight of trying to carry both work and personal responsibilities simultaneously, each with requirements and deadlines, will wear you to a breaking point over time. Set clear times in your mind that will be your time to focus on yourself, your family, and the things that bring you joy. When you reintroduce these things in appropriate measures, and insist on maintaining that time separation, you will begin to feel yourself come back into a more engaged frame of mind.

Step 3

If your work cannot accept that you have reclaimed your downtime, or your friends cannot respect your need to focus during work hours, you may have a few harder decisions to make. Often in our culture, it is unofficially "expected" that we are available for the workplace around the clock. If a client calls you at 9p.m., we often take the call even if we are enjoying family time. If the clinic owner emails us at 6a.m., we feel compelled to answer them even though you may be busy getting the kids ready for school. This expectation comes from several factors, not the least of which is the fear of losing a job or disappointing a client. Another real fear is that of missing out on something happening socially while at work. That said, this expectation is not only unfair to you, it is also impossible to maintain. When everything is a crisis, then nothing is a crisis. Soon enough, you will find yourself unable to sleep, have a dinner out with friends, or even take a vacation without being a slave to the workplace or being immediately responsive to friends or social media. Remember, your time away from your job can help you be even more effective during your work time, because you have placed your focus appropriately, and at the appropriate times. Conversely, you time dedicated to strengthening those bonds with friends and family without the distraction of work can build long lasting and healthy relationships, giving you a strong foundation to build a life upon.

While no one has all the answers, I am confident being cognizant to the need to better manage work/personal endeavors in the appropriate measure and time can help you begin to feel less burned out and more revived. Place importance upon things at the appropriate time to do so, prioritize, and be realistic with the energy you devote. When you consciously will yourself to work to find this balance, you may well be surprised how quickly burn out can go from being the depletion of your batteries to the recharging of your energy resources.

dotted line