17 Ways To Wear Yourself Out

Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill—lots of activity, not much progress?

One of my big personal issues is confusing busyness and productivity. I often reach the end of the day and realize that I’ve done a lot, but not much has gotten done. Am I the only one?

I also recognize that passionate productivity energizes me while busyness wears me out. I’m trying to do better at setting goals to direct my efforts, but I’m also recognizing that a number of personal attitudes contribute to the energy-draining side of my activities.

So, here a partial list of ways to wear yourself out. If you don’t already have enough of your own, perhaps you can borrow some of mine.

  1. Try to meet everyone else’s expectations.
  2. Constantly worry about what others are saying behind your back. Be absolutely certain that you’re defined by whatever “they” say.
  3. Take responsibility for others’ welfare, happiness, and feelings. Don’t distinguish this from genuine concern and compassion. Instead of doing what you can to help, feel inadequate whenever you can’t do everything for everyone. This is also a great way to make sure you don’t do much of anything for anyone.
  4. Depend on others to anticipate and meet your needs.
  5. Avoid authentic vulnerability so those closest to you are never quite certain what you’re feeling.
  6. Never, ever, say “no.” Justify this by reminding yourself that you’re just trying to be dedicated and considerate.
  7. Never settle for anything less than perfection.
  8. Focus on all of the things that could possibly go wrong. Never begin until all of these possibilities are eliminated.
  9. If you make a mistake, feel guilty. Make sure to reflect endlessly on your failures.
  10. Hold fast to your conviction that life ought to be fair. This will fuel your need for blame and revenge.
  11. Always know the right answer, even when you don’t. Cultivate the belief that “I don’t know” is a sign of weakness.
  12. Never seek help. Convince yourself that you should always know what to do and how to do it.
  13. Multi-task. Always have at least three things going on. Never allow yourself time for deep reflection, analysis, and contemplation. This works especially well in conjunction with #6.
  14. Compare yourself to others.
  15. Discount your own feelings, desires, and dreams. An effective method for this is to label them as selfish or childish.
  16. Be absolutely certain that your way is the one and only right way.
  17. (My personal favorite) Nurture an intense need for everyone to agree with you. Debate endlessly, especially with those who have an entirely different perspective. Consider it a personal failure if you don’t win every argument.

How about you? Which item(s) in my list resonate with you? What would you add?