As a freelancer or online creator, you want to make sure you keep yourself busy. Every moment you spend on projects to further your career, the better. But is there such a thing as overloading your plate of responsibilities?
In reality, your commitment to success will play a major role in what you do throughout the day. However, you don’t want to burn yourself out by doing too much.
And this is entirely a possibility. Taking on too much can weigh down on your mental state, making you depressed and anxious.
The next thing you know, you’re sitting at your computer trying to make heads or tails of where you should start. Before long, the day is gone and you’ve done nothing to help your career or lifestyle.
Taking on too Much
Even on days when I push myself, I find it difficult to maintain the writing goal. As an editor, I don’t really write much. And as a video creator, it’s all about recording.
So, most of my day is actually spent sans-writing. I mean, I get paid for the majority of it. But I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew with the goal.
It’s easy to get in over your head. Especially if it involves “easy” projects that you know you can handle. It’s when you take on so many of those simple tasks that your time becomes tapped. This is when it can cause a problem.
Instead of focusing your attention on one thing at a time and doing it well, you may find yourself spreading out too thin. At which point, nothing is done well.
When Can You Tell You’ve Taken on too Many Responsibilities?
So, when do you know you’ve taken on too much? It’s actually not that difficult to recognize the signs. When you sit back and analyze how your day progressed, it all becomes relatively clear.
The hardest part is being truly honest with yourself. You may think, “I got this,” when you clearly don’t.
When You Stress About the Day Before it Even Starts
If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you feel is stress about the day, then you might have too many responsibilities.
I mean, feeling a bit of stress about what you need to get done is fine and all. But if it gets to the point when you’re feeling sick, depressed or angry, then you might want to rethink what you agreed to do.
Having a high level of stress before the day even starts will affect your mood, increase the chances of making mistakes, and affect your ability to make rational decisions.
When You Realize You Have No “You” Time
Having time for yourself is vital in today’s life. I know that a lot of you think you can just push through it and keep yourself busy with non-stop work. But in the end, it can tap your mental state.
It’s not self-centered or selfish to focus on yourself once in a while. If you’re not in a good mindset, you’re no good to anyone…least of all family and clients.
And you need to do more than just take a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood. Do something you love for at least an hour a day. Something that is all “you” and doesn’t involve anyone else.
When You Start Dreading the Work
I’m a firm believer in doing what you love. Sure, I could make far more money by dumping all of my side projects. But that’s not what I love. My bills are paid and food is on my table. Why not try to make more out of something I enjoy?
The moment you start feeling dread about going to work or completing a project for a client, you might want to consider the number of responsibilities you have.
Going into any task with the feeling of dread is going to affect your performance. And it’ll make the task seem like it’s taking forever to complete.
When You Work too Much without Reward
Taking on too much often results in working yourself stupid without having any reward. When I say reward, I’m referring to things like pay, enjoyment or entertainment.
For instance, sometimes I feel like I have too many responsibilities while maintaining my YouTube channel. But then I get the “thank you” comments on the videos. For me, helping others is reward enough to continue.
It’s when you start feeling like someone is taking advantage of you where it should throw up a red flag. I’ve experienced this a lot from people who called themselves, “friend.”
6 Ways to Manage Responsibilities
Unfortunately, I cannot claim that I am an expert in managing responsibilities. However, I have greatly reduced the stress in my life by following these six methods to manage my day.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments of feeling negative about what I do. Then again, everyone does. It’s how you deal with those feelings that will dictate success.
1. Manage Your Time
First and foremost, manage your time better. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by responsibilities if you try to tackle them all at once. But when you portion out the day for specific projects, it becomes far easier to manage.
For example, I love using the Asana app. It lets me block out time in the day for various projects I want to complete while making sure I am done at a reasonable time. Best of all, the free version is incredibly useful for freelancers.
2. Learn How to Say “No”
I’ve had a hard time in the past saying no to those who need my help. But it cost me greatly over time…namely my family. I still have issues with it, but now I focus more on my own health and either delegate responsibilities or say, “No.”
For those who have a helpful nature like myself, this can be incredibly difficult. But remember; you need to take care of yourself first!
3. Don’t Take On Unnecessary Projects
Try not to take on responsibilities that have no impact on what you’re trying to do with your career or personal projects.
For example, I would really love to put more time into learning how to develop a game using RPG Maker. But, that isn’t conducive to what I am trying to do right now, which is publish a novel or develop as a freelance writer.
Perhaps someday, I’ll have time. But right now, it’s just too much to put on my plate. So now, I just work on learning RPG Maker once per week for about an hour. However, it’s fun for me so I can count it towards personal time.
4. Streamline What You Do
Streamlining your daily projects goes along with managing your time. If you can develop routines or practices that shave time off of your projects, you could ease the burden of various responsibilities.
An example of this is when I take an hour or two on Friday to come up with blog content for the next week. Then on those specific days, I already know what I am writing.
You can streamline just about anything if you put some thought into the process. You can streamline video development, graphic design, or even driving Uber.
It just takes a bit of imagination and thought into how you can make the project easier to manage.
5. Prioritize Your Projects
Don’t forget to prioritize your responsibilities throughout the day. Some things you do are just going to be more important than others. And you need to focus on what is vital to complete.
For instance, I work on GreenGeeks stuff every day before I even open Asana for my personal projects. And sometimes, the GreenGeeks work takes longer to complete, so I don’t do a YouTube video that day.
This is because my clients pay me well for what I do, and YouTube doesn’t. After all, I have to pay my bills.
6. Find What is Truly YOUR Responsibility
Is there something you can delegate? Perhaps you’re taking on a task that really isn’t your job to do. Figure out what is truly on your plate before you begin stressing about the day.
I know the saying, “If you want something done right, you need to do it yourself.” And in some cases, this is true. But if you have faith in someone who can clearly do the job, why not delegate the task?
My point is that many of us overload our plates with trivial matters that are technically not our responsibility. Create a list of things that YOU need to manage. If there is no time for other stuff, then say “No.”
Fully Understand Your Responsibilities
Many people will add too much onto their plate without really thinking about what it entails. Sometimes, we’ll even think some things are “responsibilities” when they’re actually not.
Give some thought into what you do throughout the day and understand what needs to be done. It’ll make the activity so much easier to manage and reduce the stress in your life.
How often do you feel overwhelmed by the projects you do in a day? What kinds of ways do you manage stress? Leave a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you.