Some people can always get the job done. It seems they’re everywhere doing everything, and if they’re around, the end goal can be pretty much guaranteed. You probably know someone like this. You might just be someone like this.
We need dreamers and brainstormers as well as implementers and completers. If you fall into the latter category, know that things get done thanks to you. And that’s a good thing.
But, there are also times when your quest to accomplish and complete might also be your downfall because it can be hard to know when to stop. One more task. One more step of progress. One more checked box. And suddenly you find yourself overdoing it.
Each “one more” leads to another and another until you’ve exhausted yourself to the point that illness forces you to stop.
Signs You’re Overdoing It
Attentiveness can be our greatest ally when fighting almost any battle. By simply paying attention to your body and to a few warning signs, you can recognize when you’re overdoing it because you’ve taken on too much and need to re-evaluate.
You’re overdoing it by not sleeping 7-9 hours per night.
I know, you probably feel like you can get by on less, but more and more research indicates that this is untrue. In fact, current research indicates that even a regular schedule of 6 hours of sleep per night can have incredibly detrimental effects on performance.
If your nights are growing shorter, your work will correspondingly reduce in efficiency and quality. Choose the sleep and find the reward in improved output.
You feel chronically overwhelmed and anxious.
This is a warning sign from your body that you are overdoing it, responding to the fact that you’re not taking care of yourself. The higher your sense of anxiety, the more poorly you will perform.
One of the best antidotes for anxiety is to force yourself to play. Do something just for the fun of it, even if just for an hour, walking completely away from the to-do list. It may seem counterproductive at first, but stick with it. It will help!
You’re easily frustrated and can be short with those around you.
It can be hard to recognize frustration as a sign of overdoing it because it feels that other people are the ones who just can’t keep up. But, when you stop to think about it, you can probably sense, deep down, that your frustration has an irrational bend to it.
Again, it’s time to step away for a bit. Exercise is a great way to release frustration. This may be a walk or run, a visit to the gym, or a sport. Find a form of physical activity that is enjoyable to you.
Or, on the other extreme, take time for a nap. Remember that lack of sleep issue? Although it may seem counterintuitive to nap in order to help your nighttime sleeping patterns improve, short naps during the day can actually help your body restore a healthy sleep rhythm which can help reduce frustration.
You recognize you’re overdoing it when your level of happiness has declined.
If your mood is persistently negative, then it’s time to recognize that something isn’t working. Take some time to seriously consider your investments and eliminate activities and/or set boundaries to protect your mental and emotional health.
Meanwhile, be sure to insert activities that nourish you mentally and emotionally. (That means do something just for the fun of it!)
It can often seem selfish, especially for an achiever, to invest in a hobby or activity that seems to serve no practical purpose. But, when you consider that keeping up with a solid, healthy rhythm of life is what keeps you on track for productivity, a hobby can suddenly seem very practical!
You know that you’re overdoing it because your physical health is declining.
This is a pretty advanced warning sign. The best case scenario is that you’re in store for a nasty cold that will have you down and out for a few days. But, we all know of someone whose stress has led to a heart attack or stroke, some even at a very young age.
Pay attention to warning signs such as persistent stomach issues, elevated blood pressure, persistent reduction in energy, and increased susceptibility to colds and other minor illnesses or overall reduction in the effectiveness of your immune system. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it’s important to remember that all of these can be symptoms of more serious health issues.
But, if you’ve maxed our your schedule and you’re experiencing any of these issues, the immediate thing to try (while you’re waiting for that doctor’s appointment to roll around) is to back off on your schedule.
And keep in mind that “backing off” in this situation means real change. If your health is declining because you’re overdoing it, then it’s time to not just step away for an hour of fun or exercise. Instead, it’s time to make major changes to your overall pattern and flow of life.
The world needs your achieving spirit. But, if you are not taking care of yourself, then your achievement will falter and you will run the risk of overdoing it. Are you an achiever? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out!