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Phoenix Forward

7 warning signs that you’re overscheduled

Are you overscheduled?

Does the sight of your planner make you want to sink into the couch with a pint of ice cream?

“When you start feeling overwhelmed in your life, there is something you can do. Check to see if you’re overscheduled,” says Barbara Jordano, area chair of the humanities program at the University of Phoenix Minneapolis/St. Paul Campus. Here are seven warning signs that you need to lighten your load:

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You blow up at people.

1. You blow up at people.

Warning sign: Your stress level causes you to erupt into uncharacteristic verbal tirades, desk or road rage, or emotional meltdowns at home. How dare that co-worker giggle while you’re swimming in deadlines! Grumble, mumble, grr …

Solution: “If you have 2,100 things to do today, sit back for 10 minutes and do some quick breathing to calm your stress,” advises Heather Huber, area chair of the psychology program at the University of Phoenix Cincinnati Campus. Then, she adds, replace non-obligatory appointments with fun activities.

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Despite your best intentions, you run behind schedule

2. Despite your best intentions, you run behind schedule.

Warning sign: Somewhere amidst your mad dash, you realize you’re chronically late — and often forget about appointments and neglect personal responsibilities.

Solution: Get help managing your time, suggests Jordano, a former school teacher. Time-management apps with pop-up reminders, like the Cozi® family organizer and GoalsOnTrack, also help, she adds.

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You’re sick and tired.

3. You’re sick and tired.

Warning sign: Too often, you fall ill, play hooky or cancel personal plans. High mental stress may even evolve into chronic headaches, heart issues, insomnia or psychological issues, including depression, notes Huber, a licensed social worker.

Solution: Reduce your stress level by setting priorities. She advises developing a life mission in order to evaluate your goals.

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Messy piles invade your personal space.

4. Messy piles invade your personal space.

Warning sign: “You never finish a project and are always moving onto the next thing,” Jordano assesses. Soon, mountains of unfinished chores make you feel overwhelmed.

Solution: She recommends uncluttering with simple fixes, like organizing your belongings in storage boxes, creating a family chore chart and cataloging personal mementos once a year. Huber adds minutes to her day by planning a monthly meal calendar and cooking large batches of meals that she freezes in portions.

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5. You accept every invitation.

5. You accept every invitation.

Warning sign: That naughty word “yes” slips out again when a family member asks you for a favor.

Solution: “Sometimes, you just have to say no,” Huber says.

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Your work quality and self-care suffer.

6. Your work quality and self-care suffer.

Warning sign: You know when you’ve spread yourself too thin, Jordano says, because your work quality and grooming deteriorate.

Solution: Set aside uninterrupted time to accomplish tasks, Huber suggests, so they don’t pile up.

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You rarely smile.

7. You rarely smile.

Warning sign: You often think you don’t have any choice but to get everything done, which makes you anxious and unhappy.

Solution: “Life is too short to be miserable,” Jordano says. Huber emphasizes, “Definitely stop trying to be the family or work superhero by taking care of everyone and everything.”

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