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Too Tired for Your Own Good

The realization that you are fatigued is the first step to resolution

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It’s Sunday. Go back to bed and then return to this article!

Based on what you do an average day, it is understandable that sometimes you feel very tired, but when is the tired feeling that you have bordering on danger? Many signs exist, among them these:

    1. Your fatigue is prolonged. Getting several nights of extra sleep in a row or sleeping for an entire weekend doesn’t seem to put a dent in your feeling of fatigue. Perhaps worse, you feel as if you “will never catch up.”
    2. You experience indigestion or lack of appetite. You normally look forward to meals, but when highly fatigued, you have trouble getting them down. Maybe, you’re eating less.
    3. Loss of sex drive. This isn’t as obvious a sign as you might think. Loss of your libido usually takes place a little bit at a time, such that you don’t notice what’s going on. Your partner probably will, though.
    4. You begin to experience trouble getting to sleep, if not outright insomnia. During the night, you find yourself waking more often or tossing back and forth, and then to exacerbate the situation, you spend the rest of the night worrying that you’re not getting good sleep.
    5. You feel tired in the morning even after getting a full night’s sleep. Realistically, there’s no reason for this. If by 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning, you can hardly keep your head up, it’s time to take heed.
    6. Your ability to focus on the task at hand is diminished. Your powers of concentration are not what they have been in the past. Generally, this is not due to your aging.
    7. You feel that you’re no longer in control. In many ways, this is the most insidious of the signs. You doze at highly inopportune moments, such as in an important meeting, or when driving.

Not Enough Sleep, but Otherwise Functional

Here’s a second list of indicators showing that you’re not getting enough sleep, but perhaps you’re not at the danger level:

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  • Your eyes are red.
  • You’re not mentally sharp.
  • You avoid tasks that involve adding up numbers.
  • You find yourself daydreaming often.
  • In situations with others you simply go through the motions.
  • You don’t want to handle any phone calls if you can help it.
  • You watch the clock frequently throughout the day, hoping it will go by more quickly.

Before I learned how to keep my stress level in check, I used to look forward to going to the dentist. When I got to the dentist’s chair, and they tilted the seat back, it was one of the few times during the day where I actually reclined and had relatively little to do. If there wasn’t to be any drilling or serious poking during the session, such as a routine visit or cleaning, in some cases I became so relaxed that I didn’t want to leave. For me, that was an indication that I was highly fatigued.

You probably have your own personal corollaries to this. The realization that you are fatigued is the first step to increasing your efficiency and defeating the problem.  A life of constant exhaustion, no matter what else you accomplish, is not a desirable situation. No one, however, is coming to bail you out.

The road back from exhaustion starts with self-awareness, then resolve, then action. Will today be that day?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Avoid Traveling on the Road Most Trammeled

It is within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur

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Stress is a constant factor in the lives of nearly all career professionals. Much of the stress we experience, however, is self-induced. In other words, we generate stress as a result of our own actions rather than it emanating from an external source.

When we try to cram too much into a day, an hour, or whatever time we have available, the resulting experience is stress. When we take on too much in terms of what we buy, what we manage, what we need to organize, or what we’re simply trying to keep pace with, the predictable outcome is the experience of stress.

What if it was within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur? The excellent news is that it is within your power. By taking a few small steps in the course of the day, you can minimize the stress that you might otherwise experience based on self-generated behaviors.

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Here are some ideas to help you avoid traversing the road most trammeled, i.e., incurring self-induced stress:

Acknowledge that you generally do your best work when you’re in control of your immediate environment. If you have a pressing issue to handle, or something that requires mental consternation, take the time to secure your immediate environment. If you need quiet, post signs, turn the sound off on your cell phone, or hide from the rest of the office if it helps. The 10- to 20-minute stretches of solitude that you carve out for yourself to tackle challenging tasks can yield immediate rewards. Not only do you often finish tasks more quickly than you had first presumed, you’re able to turn to the next task more readily.

Recognize the most vital times of the day for you to tackle challenging tasks. For most people, based on current studies, these times are 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Your productivity peaks might be somewhat different. In any case, you need to know when they occur.

Realize that some tasks, especially those you haven’t attempted before, require extra care and attention. These often include math calculations or arranging items in sequence. If you opt to tackle such tasks when you know you’re more likely to be energetic, focused, and ready to proceed, you have a higher probability of succeeding.

Establish relationships with co-workers so that you support one another in your quest to get things done. Thus, you respect each other’s quiet times, especially if you have presented such times to one another. For example, you might say, “I need Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 to myself.” Also, avoid sending extraneous emails and texts to co-workers that they don’t need to receive. Shorten long memos that can be summarized in a paragraph or two. Cut down on sending anything that could wait ‘til later, be discussed in person, or appears neither important nor urgent.

Leave yourself some slack. If you jam-pack your calendar with tasks and activities, day after day and week after week, when something happens out of the ordinary — an emergency, an imposed deadline, or some shift in your areas of responsibility — you undoubtedly experience stress. By allowing a little slack in your daily calendar, even five to 10 minutes here and there, you establish a built-in safety cushion of sorts. Even if addressing an emergency requires more time than the slack time you built in, you still feel a bit better about tackling the issue because you have some slack. As a result, self-induced stress tends to diminish.

For the balance of your career, you’ll experience stress from many sources. Hopefully, most them are external, not self-induced. With awareness, forethought, and planning, you can keep self-induced stress to a reasonable minimum. – – – – –

 

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Life

When Individuals’ Rights Erode Civil Society

Merely because you have a right to express yourself doesn’t mean you should

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Should individuals’ rights be allowed to erode civil society? It’s a tricky question. Some groups in America have been founded on a noble purpose–to preserve the rights of the individual. What happens, however, when preserving the rights of the individual contributes to the erosion of society?

Under the guise of free speech and individual rights, some organizations defend those who keep pushing the envelope of crassness and vulgarity for publicity and profit. What if tens of thousands of budding songwriters begin to emulate the worst of rap videos? What if everyone decides to create horrific, violent, titillating, misogynistic videos?

What if everyone sports tattoos on their arms, backs, and shoulders, or wears nose rings, eyebrow rings, and nipple rings? Such behavior doesn’t clog our roadways, and is a matter of individual choice, so what harm does it cause to society?

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Beyond the Hospital Emergency Room

Apart from the health aspects of body piercings (data indicate a sizable number of participants experience serious infection and hepatitis), they pose problems of safety to both the individual indulging in the behavior and to others nearby. What happens when such rings catch on clothes, switches, buttons, or technological gadgets? As a society, do we accept visitors to hospital emergency rooms on Saturday nights whose body piercings have resulted in serious health conditions?

Since taxpayer dollars fund healthcare services for many, including expensive emergency room visits, the negative health impacts of certain behaviors incur a direct cost to all citizens. Likewise, we pay social costs when crudity is broadcast to us and to our children.

Vulgar public speech and potentially health-damaging body piercings might be permissible free speech, but are they therefore desirable? In our evermore-interconnected existence, individual choices have vast impacts on others.

Do you think that talk show guests discussing topics like leniency for incest and infidelity understand the ramifications of their behavior? What if everyone they know and you know did what they suggest? Would relationships break down? Would families fracture? Within a single generation, would all of society break down?

Impacting One Another

The idea of expanding what we do, and surmising what effect it would have if it were socially pervasive behavior, yields a hands-on realization: What we do and how we behave is important. So is what our neighbors do and how they behave.

Generally, the more densely populated your town, the more vital it is to recognize that your behavior  impacts those around you. If you live in a suburban setting, where farm animals are otherwise few and far between, but choose to house a rooster in your backyard, your choice most definitely impacts people all around you.

Perhaps a neighbor gets off the late shift at 2 a.m. and needs to be sound asleep… while you bird starts crowing at 5:30 a.m. …every morning. The zoning laws of your town might state that it’s legal for you to house a rooster in your backyard. As such, is exercising your right conducive to harmonious relations with your neighbors?

My Opinion, and Welcome to It

Suppose you feel strongly about a political issue and post signs facing the street in your living room window. As you become more vigilant, you place a sign on your porch. Later, you place some signs on your lawn. Perhaps you’ve adorned your car bumper stickers with highly politicized messages.

The above actions likely are within your legal rights. Is your free expression, however, undermining the peace and tranquility in your otherwise quiet neighborhood? Suppose you’re a Democrat and your signs rankle neighborhood Republicans. Suppose the opposite is true. Do you not have other forums in which to express yourself?

What if your neighbor across the street is perturbed by your partisan display and responds in kind with his own set of banners, signs, and bumper stickers? Have the two of you improved the neighborhood? What if everyone in the neighborhood starts up? How long will it be before signs disappear as opposing neighbors start pilfering from each other?

Forethought Abandoned

Merely because you have a right to express yourself, in this manner or in that, doesn’t mean you ought to or that it’s advisable. Free expression, without any regard to context and greater ramifications, can undermine a neighborhood, as it can undermine a society.

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