Hi everyone! This video is going to be about overworking yourself and how to get back on track, lessen the stress of work, and making time for the things you enjoy without making excuses. I’m sure many of us at one point or another were working on a project, perhaps for school, and we felt rushed and had to get it done as soon as possible and it resulted in working overtime. This usually resulted in one feeling stressed, tired, and perhaps even disconnected from themselves, their friends, and other activities they may enjoy. Perhaps this was caused by us procrastinating for so long, which then results in feeling ashamed of ourselves for not getting it done sooner and having more free time. Whatever the case, I’m sure most of us can relate to this. However, what happens when one routinely overworks themselves? Work becomes an addiction for them and they just cannot stop. All they think about is work and getting projects done. Yet, they feel like they never get anything done. They are constantly working, and yet feel unaccomplished and still have so much work. Well, this is exactly what I will be discussing in this video, as well as my personal example of when I overworked myself at the end of 2014 to the middle of 2015.
In order to understand someone that constantly overworks themselves, especially if you are not one that has experienced it for any length of time, you have to think about sacrificing all your free time, relaxation time, vacations, even time to do things you love, perhaps spend time with family and friends, or reflect on your life and plan for your future. This is what an overworked person does. They will put their work first, above even their own health. They may truly want to stop, but don’t know how. And the problem is that they have deadline, and they may not be able to make them, even with the amount of work they put into it. This is often because of distractions. All that work tends to make one overwhelmed and even more underproductive since there may not be a schedule and seeing the work pile up turns into constant planning on how to tackle the work and not actually accomplishing the task at hand.
Personally, my overworking issues starting coming into play around September of 2014. I began working so much on making YouTube videos. And it’s quite easy to fall into that when you work at home and don’t make a usual routine for yourself. At the rate I was going, I could’ve possibly gotten a whole year’s worth of videos planned in maybe a month’s time. But, the problem was I began neglecting myself and my own happiness. The problem for me was that I started to sacrifice my relaxation time and time to myself. My free time was occupied working. I didn’t have any free time. I would constantly think about work when not working. I began to neglect people in my life because of my work. And worst of all, I neglected myself. Some big signs for me were physically, mentally, and spiritually. My muscles would ache. I am on the computer a lot. This causes neck and upper back tension. My muscles were so tense that I could hardly move them. Yet, while most people may get up and do some stretches, my work came first. I ignored it and forced myself to finish what I was working on. I was like, “One more minute.” Which would turn into hours sitting there. I began to routinely do this which resulted in days, weeks, and months being passed without me actually taking a break from my work.
It turned into me not even wanting to think about doing work, yet I was constantly thinking about how I was going to get it done, feeling overwhelmed and ashamed of myself for not getting it done. As a result, I lost creativity and meaning in my videos. At my worst was from April to June of 2015. Most of my videos prior to this were around 11 or 12 minutes. Yet, many of them from this time were under that duration. And, it was because I had no motivation. I didn’t want to do anything long, or type anything up, or work on anything that would’ve made me do a lot of work because I didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to put the effort into it. How I use to do my videos was through channeling, quite literally. A majority of my videos are not researched or anything. I don’t really look up information. Rather, it’s channeled directly out into writing. I listen to what my mind is telling me and I write it down. A sentence would just come to me about something, and I would write that down which could turn into a paragraph and allow the other creative ideas to start to flow in my mind. This is how I did some of my personal favorite videos, which were actually fun to do and not stressful or time consuming at all as I would often get them done maybe within like an hour just typing up everything. Well, in the process of overworking myself, I lost this. It was a struggle for me to even think straight about the topic at hand. I lost the ability to have these spontaneous ideas that just came to me. And since that was gone, there was no motivation since I had to research the topic and it was frustrating to even understand it and it just didn’t stick in my mind. So, I would spend days trying to get it done which I could’ve gotten it done so much sooner as I was during my previous methods.
Another thing was meditations, sleep, dreams, it was all gone. I got less sleep, primarily because I was so exhausted that I was sleeping at random intervals throughout the day to avoid my work because I was frustrated with it. But, it never felt relaxing. Likewise, there were really no dreams during this period. I would always have these vivid dreams that I really enjoyed and they were gone. As was meditations since I stopped doing it because almost every time I did it, I would fall asleep which became frustrating. I was so busy planning my days at that point that it lead to distractions. I would get sidetracked and work on things, or rather procrastinate. I would constantly say, “I don’t have time to do this or that.” An excuse. Yet, I didn’t have time because I never had a schedule as to what I should be doing. When I finished a task, I was like, “What now?” Or even worse, would get sidetracked in the middle of working on something without any interest or motivation in working on anything at all. For instance, whenever I would upload a new video, I had to constantly check the comments on it just to see what people were saying. I would be in the middle of something and would stop to go check. It couldn’t wait, I had to do it right then and there which resulted in more distractions.
So, how do you get back on track if you feel you are overworking yourself? I’ll talk about that now.
Overworking & Making Time
In order to actually make the time to do the things you enjoy, you have to first recognize the signs of overworking yourself. This can come in many forms. Some of the common ones are a neglect for yourself and your own happiness. If you find yourself pushing away family and friends so you can go and get work done, that is a sign. As is constantly thinking about working. Perhaps you are away from the job, and are constantly thinking about the work you have to do, even getting stressed out about it. You may leave the event or place you are, even if it’s with family or friends, so you can go and do the work. You may lose sleep, skip meals, and not pay any attention to your own health. Physical problems can occur such as muscle aches, extreme tiredness, and a variety of other problems. If physical problems come into play, like my example with my neck and back, then recognize that it’s caused by your work, and question the pain. You can talk to it and say, “Neck, why are you hurting so much? Why are you causing me this pain?” The answer will be that it’s your body’s way of telling you that you need a break.
When you have recognized these, you then have to learn to take a break when needed. For me, it was when my body was physically becoming tense. So, I began to get up for a few minutes, do some stretches, clear my mind, let any negativity go so I could be more productive. Many times with a busy schedule we think that we don’t have the time for a break. Yet, it’s the break that will prevent us from overworking ourselves. It will make it so we can relax and get our thoughts together to be more productive. So technically, we could take a break, get our work done, and have even more time then if we skipped the break altogether. Instead of saying, “I don’t have the time,” say, “I haven’t made the time.” Because the truth is, you can set out to do anything if you make the time for it. This includes things like talking with other people. If you are putting your work first and you keep telling your friends that you are too busy to hang out, then you are choosing your work over them, which is a quick way to lose your friends. What do you prioritize? If there is always an excuse, it’s not a priority. But, if it is a priority, you will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
This brings us to the next point, make a schedule. This is easy, but sticking with it is where it is difficult. The reason why sticking with it is so difficult is because it may lose its appeal after a few days. We may stick with it initially because it’s new, but then it becomes old. It is easy to slip back into old habits, but developing new ones can be challenging. So, you really have to do whatever it takes to stick to this schedule. Write it down perhaps on a note and tape it to your computer to remind yourself, or wherever you are working. You can set hours when you do specific tasks, and add breaks where necessary. When you become distracted, learn to shift your focus back to what you were doing and tell yourself that this distraction can wait because there is time later for it. The truth is, doing something without a distraction will be quicker than having all these distractions. What I did was make a schedule of specific times where I would dedicate time to the activities I wanted to do. When the time was up, I told myself I would continue it at a later time or tomorrow. I was strict with my schedule so I didn’t become distracted. While I did lose focus from the schedule after a week, I recognized the signs of overworking and did what was best for my health.
And lastly, one of the most beneficial things to do, at the end of the day, reflect back on the day and see what you accomplished and be proud of what you accomplished. Even if it was one little thing, or nothing at all if you were taking a break, be happy with how your day went. This is where a lot of people can go wrong because at the end of the day they may be thinking, “I didn’t get anything done today. I have to do this and that tomorrow. I have so much work. I should be working right now and getting it done.” The problem with this is that you are ending your day negatively. You view what you did, even if it just was one thing, as being negative and you are shaming yourself into working harder. You will never be able to accomplish this task of working harder when the aim is through shame. Personally, at the end of the day I learned to say to myself, “I feel accomplished! I got what I wanted to get done and tomorrow will be another day of accomplishments.” Even if I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, I knew I could continue at a later time. Instead of feeling ashamed of myself for what I didn’t get done, I felt accomplished for what I was able to get done. All of this without overworking myself. This was important since I began to dedicate more time to myself and my health. This was important since I became more productive and have had more time to relax and do other things.
So in conclusion, overworking oneself can be an easy thing to slip into, especially if you do not have a schedule, and/or work from home. But, ways of getting on a schedule to be more productive and make the time for the things you want to do are to recognize the signs of being overworked, taking a break when needed, and being proud of your accomplishments for the day, even if it was just a relaxation day. Because you know what? You deserve a break and relaxation day every once in awhile. So, view it as a positive thing to get in touch with your true goals and self. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!