The increase in income helped, but the demands of her job meant less time for her family. Her high standards, which contributed greatly to her success, now impeded her both at work and home. Disappointed about her performance, Samantha’s exhaustion grew into paralysis.
Perhaps you have clients with similar stories. In the past, multi-tasking came naturally. They even gained energy from doing so many things at once. Now it seems as if their brains can’t function, let alone do more than one thing at a time.
Physical and Psychological Exhaustion
There are two kinds of exhaustion. One is physical from the demands of a busy overbooked schedule. The other is psychological due to unmet needs, expectations, ambitions, and hopes. It is compounded by tragedies, disappointments, rejections, and harsh realities. And it can encompass nearly every aspect of one’s life, including her ability to perform at work.
Here are four ways exhaustion negatively contributes to decreased work productivity:
- Over-attentive – Your client becomes fixated on new, unrealistic problems instead of focusing on the immediate existing problems. By directing her limited energy to unlikely issues, she is escaping from reality. Since these scenarios have little chance of occurring, she is able to imagine success. It is just like playing a video game, but the game is in her head. Similar to video junkies, work is abandoned to her imagination.
- Over-burdened – Your client already juggles too many balls in the air at one time. While trying to catch a few more, a couple of them come crashing to the ground. The fear of more balls falling propels her to never turn her brain off. At work she is reminded of things at home, at home she is thinking about work. It is a vicious cycle of constant pondering, worrying, and even paranoia.
- Over-committed – How many times has your client said, “If I want something to be done right, I have to do it myself?” Taking on excessive responsibility or feeling obligated to take on other’s responsibility leaves her exhausted quickly. It also has a side effect of discouragement as she begins to lose faith in the very people who should be supporting her.
- Over-competitive – Is your client driven to achieve in every area of life at one time, with no allowances for failure, disappointment, or loss? Would she expect the same level of drive from her best friend? While such a drive can be useful in the work place, it can also be destructive. Viewing those around you as competition erodes at a teamwork environment and increases frustration.
Strategies for Helping Your Exhausted Clients
There is hope for exhaustion. It can be beat. Acknowledgment is the first step towards healing, the next is taking some new action.
Have your clients try these suggestions:
- Over-attentive – Imagination is a good thing in small doses. Set aside some time to imagine that doesn’t take away from work or home. An ideal time would be the drive time.
- Over-burdened – Work issues should be handled at work and home things should be done at home. If you have to mix the two, set aside a half hour during work to deal with home matters and vice versa.
- Over-committed – Once you have given a project over to another person, it is their responsibility and not yours. By doing it for them, you are rescuing them and they will never learn that way.
- Over-competitive – If you like to compete, establish friendly contests allowing others to willingly take part if they choose. Don’t force a competitive environment as many people don’t thrive this way.
Working women don’t have to let exhaustion take over. Their work productivity can be better and they can find freedom from exhaustion with these tools.