Right now. I’m coaching many people who are struggling to make energetic ends meet.  They’re overworked, under rested, on a hamster wheel of stress and never catching up.  And this is at home as well as work.   They’re working beyond capacity and burnout looms.

There’s a lot of under-resourced organisations out there, meaning over-stretched people.  And entrepreneurs are trying to keep their businesses afloat in tricky times, attempting to do everything themselves.  Plus the demands of home and kids keep stacking up.

So I get it.  The demands are real.  But I also see some underlying themes which are regular guests in my coaching space and definitely make life harder – and it’s here we can reclaim agency and make fabulous shifts. 

These include (and this is an exhausting, but not exhaustive, list):

  • The inability to say no
  • Difficulty in delegating (and trusting someone else to do the job well)
  • Perfectionism (110% anyone?)
  • Underestimating time and effort
  • Finding self worth in graft and effort
  • Putting everyone else’s needs first

Essentially we’re working to capacity, in fact I’d say often beyond capacity.  And normalising this – building schedules and commitments based on flat out.  No contingency and no emphasis on for finding perspective, planning and prioritising.  Every last drop is being squeezed out and that means this isn’t sustainable and some part of life, health, wellbeing is paying – or going to pay – the price.  At worst, it can lead to burnout, stress, anxiety, illness.  At best, life is a blur or an ordeal.

And so what to do about it?  Well, that’s a biggie of course – and what my clients pay me for!  But a starting point (at home and at work) could be:

My old favourite:

Finding super simple ways to come back into “presence” throughout each and every day (the key to making calm, conscious decisions rather than reacting in autopilot)

A workload inventory:

Whilst in that calm, conscious place, wipe the slate clean and look at everything with a fresh perspective. Consider:

  • What am I doing that someone else can do?  (delegate, pay, share the load, empower others, all whilst taking tolerable steps to be ok with this as it won’t feel easy)
  • What am I taking on that I don’t need to?  (are you easing others’ workloads whilst making yours unmanageable because you can’t say no?)
  • What am I doing that doesn’t need doing at all, or doesn’t need doing so frequently? (try to find balance based on evidence and preference using tolerable steps, rather than toxic hidden drivers that mean you can’t cope with an unwashed cup or letting a non-urgent task wait – clues for hidden drivers are it can become all-consuming and makes you feel a little crazy!

Embrace the contingency: 

Guess what, sh*t happens.  So build in wiggle room to cope with the unexpected AND the expected that right now you’re not factoring in (emails, phone calls, colleague interruptions, rest breaks etc).  And start to truly capture how long things take and set expectations on that, plus contingency.

And finally…

And finally, do notice if that inner voice is saying no way, there’s no time, what does she know, I have to keep pushing, there’s no choice.

It’s the voice of an activated stress system – and trust me, it’s not telling you the full truth.

Drop me a line if you want some help shifting those deeper motivations that are keeping you working beyond capacity – the things that make everything feel urgent, overwhelming, vital and huge – with my Shift It Coaching package – it’ll put you back in the driving seat.

P.S. this is a regular topic for me, because everyone is stressed! stressed! stressed!  Check out another blog on a similar topic with more helpful hints here.