3 signs you're in over your head

If you’ve ever felt that panic set in when you realized you needed to be in three places at once, you know what we’re talking about. It’s good to challenge yourself and push your boundaries to know your limits. But if your whole life is a race against the clock, you might be pushing just a little too hard. It’s okay if you’re in over your head.

Consider these three signs you have just taken on way too much:

Sign #1: You are over-scheduled.

Go look at your to-do list. How many pages does it take up? Now go look at your calendar. How many things are due each day? How many commitments do you have each week? If the answer if more than you can count on your fingers (negative points if you have to use your toes), you have too much going on.

Signs of being over-scheduled include

  • finding yourself constantly running late to meetings
  • missing deadlines
  • not being where you say you are going to be when you say you are going to be there
  • rushing to get things done at the last minute

If this sounds like you, you may need to step back and reevaluate your situation.

The Solution:

Get a planner, pronto. We aren’t talking about making use of your Google Calendar, we mean a real physical planner you can carry around with you.

Arm yourself with a day planner that has monthly sheets, weekly sheets and daily sheets. Figure out your monthly, weekly and daily goals, and take time each month to fill in your schedule for the next month. Being unorganized is no excuse for missing important meetings and deadlines!

If after you’ve filled in your planner, you realize you don’t have enough time to do everything you’ve made commitments to, you’ll know it’s time to cut down. Don’t forget to leave time for yourself! That standing mani-pedi appointments is crucial for de-stressing.

Sign #2: Your boss is using jargon that you don’t understand.

You beat out the other applicants and got that job you so desperately wanted. Your workspace is all set up and you’ve met your new coworkers. Your boss gives you your first assignment, but you have no idea what to do.

Either you are in a field you aren’t qualified for or you may have elaborated just a little bit on your résumé. In either case, you are headed downstream toward the rapids–and fast.

The Solution:

Fake it until you get the hang of it. Your boss expects quality work from you, so try your best to give it to them. It’s normal to take a few weeks to really settle into a new work environment.

Don’t feel bad about asking questions or asking for clarification on a task. However, if your assignments are leaving you absolutely clueless, fess up.

It’s better that you tell your superiors you don’t think the job is a right fit and give them a chance to find someone who is, rather than being on the verge of tears for weeks.


Sign #3: You find yourself working… even when you’re not.

You workaholics know who you are. If your commitments require you to be working 24/7… you’ve got too much going on. You might sometimes have to bring work home with you or stay late at the office to meet a deadline.

The key word here is sometimes. If checking your work email before bed or skipping girls night out to work on a presentation is the norm for you, it’s a sure sign that your career is running your life.  

While you might feel like you’ve got it all under control, it’s crucial to start making time for your personal life.

The Solution:

Put down the phone and turn off your laptop. For some of us serial email-checkers and social networking junkies, out of sight/out of mind might not even be enough to keep us away from our precious internet.

Make sure you take time for yourself to do things you enjoy outside of work.

Start with 30 minutes a day of pure, uninterrupted “you time.” Read a book, meditate, sip tea, whip up a new recipe, take a walk. All of these things are good for the mind, body and soul and will help you unwind and de-stress.


Biting off more than you can chew is something everyone has done at some point or another. But don’t fret–a little readjustment is all you need to get back to a balanced life.

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