I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “being overscheduled.”
Dr. Melanie Schwartz a licensed psychologist, has this to say about the concept:
“When you are overscheduled, it creates feelings of stress and anxiety, and a telltale sign of being overscheduled is you can only continue at that speed for a period of time before the negative impacts of stress and anxiety kick in.”
But, I am going to push back on the term that’s become synonymous with causing burn-out. Could it be, instead, that the problem is being “underscheduled”?
Bear with me. The schedule we make can include anything and everything: self-care, relaxation, time with family, spiritual practice, preparing a meal, etc. But more often than not, those things are not put in our schedule. Work and social obligations, doctor appointments, and errand running, all seem to be the things that take priority. And we are very good at filling up our available time slots. But did we leave room for all of the things that keep us sane and healthy?
I conjecture that we suffer the effects of being “overscheduled” because of what we have failed to schedule.
The breakdown often occurs with underestimating how long it actually takes to do something. Fifteen-minute meal prep? A ten-minute call to customer service? A thirty-minute drive across town? So often we end up feeling stressed because we have scheduled ourselves in a way that always leaves us running behind.
The same thing goes for workflow organization. Whether it is a corporate project or managing a household, there are enumerable tasks that go into a job well done that don’t spawn considerably more grey hair.
With all of the modern time-management software available to us, one would think the twenty-first century human has mastered, if not invented, workflow management. But I would like to give a shout-out to an excellent example of O.G. time-management guidance: The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Less than two centuries ago, the mere effort to feed, house, and clothe a family required nearly all of your time and effort. Every item we used and consumed required months of preparation and cultivation, with multiple contributing steps, all of which needed to be simultaneously managed with meticulous workflow management. ’Cause, you know, otherwise we’d freeze and starve.
But now we find ourselves faced with an alternate version of this “survival” motivation to organize our lives. The acquisition of food and housing is dependent on an exchange of money, as opposed to months of pre-planning and labor, which means our focus has mostly turned toward that objective.
Similar to how workflow organization was applied “back in the day,” today it can help us break down every larger project into smaller tasks and facilitate our ability to realistically assess how long we need for each one. Many tasks can be approached from a “batch baking” work-flow mentality. And consistent work-flows that are broken down into smaller tasks, each individually scheduled, will provide a rhythm that helps prevent those moments of, “Oh No! I totally forgot to…”
We also need to be sure to schedule the things that replenish our being.
We didn’t need to schedule time in nature in the past, because we spent most of the day in it, but now we do.
We didn’t need to schedule time with family in the past, because we spent all day with them, but now we do.
Organize your workflow and overschedule your wellbeing.
By Kristie Santana
Kristie Santana is a certified coach, coaching educator, and founder of the National Coach Academy. She is also the co-founder of Life Coach Path, a comprehensive resource for students looking to enter the field of coaching. You can read their latest post finding the right education to become a coach.