Do you ever feel like you are working at a million miles a minute? That you don’t have time to check things properly and take the time you should for projects? You’re not alone. The pace of modern life has gotten so quick. Many of us feel that we are expected to check our emails after work, on the weekends and even on holiday.
I know I (and most of my colleagues) do. How do you know if you’re really working too fast and whether it’s affecting not only the quality of your wok, but the quality of your life as well? Here are a few sure signs.
Making lots of little mistakes
Are you making lots of tiny errors? Oprah’s Practical Ways to Success says you might be “brain drunk”. Columnist Leigh Newman says, “You might well be “drunk” in terms of your brain’s ability to process information. In order to complete (a large project) you focus on the project to the fullest extent possible, putting aside anything not related to its responsibilities.”
She suggests that when under the stress of a big project, your brain can simply stop processing information that’s unnecessary. So lots of other things fall to the wayside.
How accurate is your work?
Like the point above, if the accuracy of your day to day work is suffering, this may be a sure sign that you’re working too fast and need to slow down. Small inaccuracies are nothing to worry about, but when they add up, they can cause bigger problems – and may even cost you your job.
Look at how you talk and listen to people – are you often too sharp and snappy? Are you frequently in a bad mood or running away from responsibilities? This might be something that you need to address. Check your work over and look at what you turn in with a critical eye and seek to make small improvements where you can.
Constantly feeling like there are not enough hours in the day
We all hear this one a lot. Usually the culprit is having too much “on the go” at once – often made worse by having to deal with many “tasks that are unlike each other”. If you’re planning a birthday party for you kids, dealing with an important work meeting and having to sort out your tax refund paperwork – it can all get too much!
Compartmentalise and delegate when you can. Create some “relax” time for yourself where you plan on doing nothing at all – this can help you feel more invigorated and productive and stop you from burning out. Even the thought of a short holiday or rest period can be enough to keep us going.
Frequent bouts of sickness
Are you getting sick all the time, or feeling like you’re not in good health? This could be another sign that you’re working at a too-fast pace and not making the most of your time off. We should be in good health most of the time and if you’re not, then it’s time to tweak things, or even completely overhaul your life.
Web MD says that people who are never sick have a secret: they train a lot, they eat well, avoid stress and they look at their body’s cues. Atlanta designer Melissa Galt believes in a “mind over medicine” attitude, saying, “I don’t have time for sickness in my life. I don’t believe in it and don’t acknowledge it.”
Feeling time poor
Do you always feel that there are not enough hours in the day? Aim to get more organised and stop working too fast. Use lists to keep you on track – set realistic goals and make sure you wake up around the same time each day. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and turn off your social media. Avoid checking work emails after hours and especially during family time.
Endless meetings and appointments
Do you have meetings that only end up causing more meetings? If you’re the meeting organiser, make sure you keep them on track. Set and agenda and share this with all the participants in advance. Keep the meeting to time. Arrive early and check that the phone, Skype, TV or PowerPoint presentation is operating as it should. Send around action points after the meeting and assign them to people.
Friends? What friends?
It’s very important to make sure your friendships don’t suffer. Keeping connected with people helps to stave of depression and makes you feel good. Even if you’ve got a busy career and a dozen kids – you need to make sure that you don’t sacrifice the people in your life. They will be with you in times of crisis and can be a lot cheaper than a therapist!
We all have some unhealthy habits – so be honest with yourself. Some experts suggest you can rewire your brain, others say to try hypnosis. Classes and counsellors can help, as can connecting with others who share your habits, who are focused on giving them up. Seek support and stick to your guns.
Kelly Gurnett from Brazen Life, says, “Employers wind up paying employees to do busy work and drag their projects out as long as possible, instead of paying them to come up with time-saving strategies and innovative problem-solving.” I think many of us are familiar with this problem. She says, “It also results in a lowest-common-denominator culture that discourages creative and energetic workers from making waves.”