The Busy Bee Syndrome - Why Doing More Will Bring You Less Results

Picture of Written by Pamela Wagner

Written by Pamela Wagner

@pamelawagnerofficial

If you can’t turn off your work phone after 6pm without feeling anxious, then this is for you. Why taking a break is so important, and how to reduce your own use of this tiny little computer we carry around with us every day.

A person using their phone.

The biggest mistake that most marketing managers make?

It’s not lack of skills.

Or, running the wrong marketing campaign.

It’s ‘I don’t have time’…or ‘I’m busy’.

The ‘coolness’ of working 24/7, and the spike in dopamine when we get that ‘bing’ on the phone that yet another message has come in. Even if it’s 2am. We feel responsible to answer. We feel guilty if we don’t get back immediately. Almost, an anxiety of how other people would judge us if we didn’t respond. Or, that they’d think we’re unreliable.

In recent years, the apologies from friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have increased massively. A good 80% of people apologize for not getting back immediately to my messages.

I usually proceed with scolding them.

Jokes aside. No, of course, I don’t.

A women looking down at their phone while near the window.

I reply saying that I don’t expect people to always be next to their phone and that they may as well have better things to do than waiting for my next text to come in.

And, for my team, I only expect them to be reachable during reasonable work hours. But, even then, I rather have them complete a task, monotask, and get back to me when they have time. If it’s urgent (which rarely happens), I would make sure to include that in my message. Otherwise, spontaneous phone calls are rare, and if so, I ask them if they are available shortly before.

A women relaxing in their chair looking out the window.

If you are among those receiving calls and messages after reasonable work hours, and you feel compelled to answer, suggest to your boss that you would like to make an experiment. In order to be more productive during the day and be able to better regenerate, you’re not going to respond to calls or messages after e.g. 6pm. At first, you will feel the urge to respond, and your brain will try to trick you into thinking that it’s absolutely necessary to respond, and that ‘just one more’ is ok. Hint: it’s not.

So, when you put your phone away at 6pm, make sure you put an activity in place that makes sure that your mind is distracted. Have a long walk with your dog, solve a crossword puzzle, cook a healthy dinner, etc. Your mind needs something else to work with, otherwise, it will easily have you stick with that old behavior. Besides, this also solves as a trick to keep your hands engaged, and to avoid them being even more tempted to fall back into old habits.

A person walking their dog outside on a trail.

While I personally have set up my business to not receive calls, I do observe myself getting caught up on Instagram in the evening or spending too much time on WhatsApp – either way, too much time in front of the screen. As a result, by 8pm or 8:30pm I make sure to put my phone away. Since I’m an early sleeper, I usually then just spend some time making some notes in my journal, reading a book, or meditating. Plus, I’ve bought an alarm clock for my bedroom. So, that way, I’m not enticed to set up an alarm on my phone, and with that see it as the first thing in the morning. Keeping the phone physically out of the bedroom has been a game changer for me.

A women sleeping

To sum up, and as you may have gauged already – I’m not against smartphones, I’m just for a smarter use of our phones. Unfortunately, none of us grew up being taught about it since it is relatively new. Additionally, these are incredible pieces of technology functioning without emotion – and with that, they’ve already tricked us. What makes them so addictive is that they cause us to have an emotional reaction when we interact with it.

The phone doesn’t care whether you use it or not. However, most apps are set up in a way that it makes you think that you’re missing out when you’re not responding to the beep or buzz or ding. And, the manufacturers have long worked out the psychology behind these devices and its functionality. So, it’s not something that will ever go away. Instead, we have to work with it and train our minds better. And, that only works by getting absolute clarity of:

  • Why you react to certain things that your phone shows you;
  • Getting clarity of what you’d rather want;
  • Establishing a new goal or habit corresponding with that;
  • Starting with implementing the habit 1% more every day, and by that replacing the old one.
Feeling overwhelmed and burned out can leave you in extended states of inertia. Nothing seems to be going right. Any step you take forward may feel like taking two steps back. Here’s what to do to get back to feeling content and happy when everything else you tried has failed.

Quantum leaps of change are not comprehensible for the brain and it usually reacts with defense mechanisms. So, always make sure that you make small steps towards change, but make sure to take them every day or at least 4-5x/week. This will help you succeed better and faster in the long run.

So, to conclude, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • If I shut off my phone 30min earlier than usual, what time would that be?
  • What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if I turned my phone off 30min earlier?
  • What would make it easier for me to say ‘yes’ to not responding to work calls or messages after e.g. 6pm?
Picture of Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

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Picture of Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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