Sometimes You Just Need a Time Out

October 16, 2014

2722567195_6eb35e63ab_bWhen I was at AT&T, I had a project leader who, if you asked her to prioritize your work would say, they’re all priorities.


When you’re already overwhelmed and tired of running, that’s the last thing you want to hear.


Is your to-do list growing faster than your ability to actually DO anything on the list?  Where did all these tasks come from?


Am I just saying yes to too many things? Probably.


How do I prioritize? Is the new important thing more important than the older important thing I added to the list a couple of days ago?


For entrepreneurs it’s just as bad. There’s always that hot new thing that we must do now. That call we have to return. That new software we have to check out. The social media updates…the webinars that seem to pop up hourly…the “there’s only 2 spots left so you’d better sign up now!” email pitches for new programs.


I’m tired of being busy for the sake of being busy. It’s time to check my priorities and see if the items on my list are really that important.


Do I have to update that web site right away? Or can it wait? Will all life collapse into a black hole in deep space if I don’t tweet everyday? Will my friends drop me if I stay off Facebook for few days? Or for a week?


If I say no to more things, will that free up some time?


When I was in corporate, having a messy desk and working your ass off was a badge of honor. Having the ability to multitask like a madman (or woman) was the ultimate ego trip. Everyone called on you to help them. Your manager loved you (because you could be counted on to work endlessly). You were tired and stressed, but so what? You were getting things done!


I’m busy, therefore I am.


But at the end of the day, what are we really accomplishing? Did your project turn into a hot mess because you were doing too many things at once?Are you exhausted because you’re trying to do it all? Not getting sleep or eating properly because the to-do list never ends?


Perhaps it’s time to scale back. Scratch some stuff off that list –or delegate some tasks (if you can) to others.


Maybe it’s time to decide how you want to make this life journey. Will it be a continued marathon where you dream of arriving at some magical place where all your “to-do’s” will be done?


As for me, I’m stepping off the treadmill. Climbing out of the hamster wheel. Turning in my multitasker of the year award and giving myself a time out. Life is going by in a blur, and it’s time to slow it down.


Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. It’s time to enjoy the ride.


Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

 Photo Credit: Brice Canonne via Flickr cc

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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