3 Busy Myths You Need to Ignore

There are some commonly held beliefs that you need to abandon. You’ve heard them before. In fact, you’ve probably said them, or at the very least, you’ve thought them. While there may be a smidgen of truth in some of these utterances, the reality is that these commonly held beliefs aren’t truths. They are myths that sound reasonable. They are myths plausible enough to become excuses that free us from taking risks that lead to a more full and successful life – both professionally and personally.

Myth 1: “I don’t have time.”

Sound familiar? You don’t have time to take vacation. You don’t have time to accept the invitation to attend and speak at a conference. You don’t have time to take a class. You don’t have time to work out or to fit in a spa day with your pals. And you know what, maybe you don’t. Except, you do if you want to. 

Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t about guilting you to fit one more thing onto your already full plate. This is about reframing your thinking. We all have a limit on what we can accomplish on any given day. We all have only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. We can’t add to that. BUT, we can prioritize how we allocate our time. 

The truth is that we have time for the things that are important to us and sometimes we just need to step back and evaluate what that is. If self-care is important to you (it is to me!), then you prioritize your early morning workouts. You make space in your day to fit in a Taekwondo class or a run at the park. You make it a priority to take your PTO. Those other obligations get shuffled around to fit in your self-care time. If grabbing hold of opportunities to establish yourself as an industry leader and expert is a priority, then you give up something else to make space for that speaking opportunity and conference. 

Myth 2: “Self-care is a luxury”

What you deem a priority is up to you, but you might want to think long and hard about not prioritizing self-care. Burnout isn’t just a current buzzword. That “work harder and longer” approach to life is good for piling on the stress and contributing to a general sense of being overwhelmed. Pushing the limits of our workloads and responsibilities can take its toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can have a negative impact on our relationships and our productivity. 

If you want to achieve more, put down the to-do list once in a while. Take your lunch break. Leave work at the office – focus on not working when you’re not at work. That time is for your non-business priorities, including time to recharge and relax. 

Myth 3: “The more I work, the more successful I’ll be.” 

Are you noticing a trend yet? You’re staring down the barrel of a tight deadline and you just can’t afford to take your foot off the gas. You and your team are putting in long work weeks. You’re taking work home and stretching your days deep into the night just to get it all done. Listen, once in a while, we pull this approach off successfully. Sometimes you find that last minute RFP you just know your business can win if you get the responses submitted in time and so you’re going to crunch to get it done. BUT, this approach is simply not sustainable. 

In fact, research shows that working more than 50 hours a week is counterproductive. The negative-impact of overwork on our productivity is so significant that any potential boost from working more disappears altogether around the 55 hour a week mark. One study from Stanford University found that those very busy, “dedicated” workers putting in 70 hours a week are getting just as much done as those working 55 hours weekly. Overwork also impacts our health leading to impaired sleep, depression, impaired memory, heart disease and more. It increases employee absenteeism and employee turnover. All that negative stuff increases and productivity does not. 

Working harder isn’t working well for any of us. If you dismissed the value of self-care and your ability to make space for it, read this segment again more closely and reconsider. Work less. Focus on self-care a little more. Do the things that bring you life.