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4 Ways Busy People Sabotage Themselves

https://hbr.org/2018/09/4-ways-busy-people-sabotage-themselves

hbr.org

4 Ways Busy People Sabotage Themselves
Executive Summary When we're chronically busy and stressed, we can fall into self-sabotaging behaviors. Four common traps are, first, to keep ploughing away when she should take a step back and prioritize. Second, we overlook simple solutions because stress has created tunnel vision.

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Lack of prioritization

When we’re busy and stressed, we often default to working on whatever has the most imminent deadline, even if it’s not particularly important. Stress causes our focus to narrow to the point where we’re just keeping going.

The solution is to step back and work on tasks that are important but not urgent. 

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Overlooking easy solutions

When we’re stressed, our narrow focus blocks us from seeing easy solutions that are usually right in front of our eyes. 

To get out of the trap of overlooking easy solutions, take a step back and question your assumptions. Taking breaks and letting your mind wander will also help.

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Lack of effective systems

When we're burned out, we tend to keep doing something ourselves that we could delegate or outsource, because we don’t have the necessary energy we need to establish a system for recurring problems.

Remedies for recurring problems are often simple if you can step back enough to get perspective.

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Coping mechanisms

People who are overloaded will have a strong impulse to avoid or escape anxiety:

  • Avoidance could mean putting off a discussion with your boss.
  • Escape could mean rushing into an important decision, because you want to escape needing to think about it further.

Take some time and space to work through your emotions and thoughts when your anxiety is set off. 

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Self-sabotage

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Understand self-sabotage

Self-destructive behaviors can become habits and can continually undermine your success and happiness.

Self-sabotage is when we want something, but somehow we never accomplish it, because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal:

  • Our disorganization distracts us.
  • We’re constantly overthinking all of our decisions.

Recognize self-sabotaging habits

  • Procrastination. Start setting deadlines and mini-deadlines to work toward your objective.
  • Negative self-talk/negative thinking. Be patient with yourself; be kind to yourself. Work to build yourself up.
  • Perfectionism. It is an impossible standard that keeps you from moving forward.

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Checking the headlines

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Toxic comparison

To break free from the temptation to compare, audit your social media feeds.

If you find yourself thinking about how your life matches up to a friend’s when you’re not on social media, try to shift your perspective. Think about their human traits, vulnerabilities, and things that you have in common. When you change your mindset, you can move from a place of jealousy to a place of empathy. 

2 types of comparisons

  • Downward comparison (comparing ourselves to those less fortunate): It activates the brain’s “lack” network, emphasizing our insecurity and focuses on safeguarding the status quo at the expense of risk and adventure.
  • Upward comparison (comparing ourselves to those we envy): it can excite feelings of envy and low self-esteem.

Both of these types of comparison can be bad for the brain

Resilience

It's the skill that enables us to recover quickly from difficulties. It means adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy or significant stress.

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Build a circle of trust

The primary factor in resilience is having supportive relationships, inside and outside the family. 

Close friends, family and loved ones represent our social support; they encourage and motivate us, and let us know that we aren’t alone.

Reframe stressful situations

The way we view a potentially stressful situation can either make the crisis worse in our mind or minimize it. 

Reframing things in a more positive way can alter our perceptions and relieve our stressful feelings.