Breaking Busyness

Maybe you’re addicted to always doing something. I’m right there with you. There’s just something unnerving about not being occupied, so much so that I usually don’t know what to do with myself on (public) holidays and I often go back to doing the one thing I was given a break from – work.

My weekends are almost as busy as my weekdays and not because I’m compelled but because I have forgotten how to unplug. It’s not safe. I know I must not carry on this way, so here’s what I’m doing to stop myself from hurting myself:

1. Using apps to force breaks.

Since a lot of work gets done on a computer, Break Timer is a handy Chrome extension that’s determined to help me pace myself as I cross out items on my to-do list. If you get out of its way, it could save your life.

2. Lightening my daily workload.

Speaking of to-do lists, moderation has become the key for me. I’ve learned that no matter how much I try to do in one day, there’ll always be something left over. So I’m breaking my tasks into manageable sizes and assigning myself quotas I can finish without driving myself to exhaustion. This should go without saying but some of us have a superhero complex.

3. Saying no more often.

I’m not sure which it is, the need to prove that we’re hardworking and useful, an inability to measure what we can handle, pride or a lack of sense, but we seem to enjoy saying yes to things we have no business accepting. We know these things are never going to get done anyway, so there’s really no point taking them on. Add ‘no’ to your work vocabulary.

4. Turning off notifications.

I’m so strict about responding to messages at my convenience that it borders on aloofness. But no, that’s not it, I just know the difference between what’s urgent and what isn’t and I stick to that clear demarcation so I don’t go crazy. This means that I don’t jump at every notification. Most are even turned off (Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp, I’m looking at you) and my mental health is better for it. Maybe yours can be too.

Excerpted from Issue 10 of relea:se, my bimonthly newsletter. Join the mailing list.