I think, therefore I’m exhausted


There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t see someone around me who is exhausted. It’s probably the same with me. Expressions like “I’m completely underwater!”, “I don’t have time for anything” or simply “I can’t do it anymore…” have become all too common.

Working hours in organizations have taken over (even more) territory than before from the personal agenda, particularly family time, and warnings about the deterioration of mental health are multiplying.

The days are glued together, night-time sleep is no longer restorative, physical health deteriorates as a result of careless eating and a total lack of exercise, it becomes difficult to organize your thoughts as a result of the onslaught of multiple thoughts, and the feeling of tranquillity is extinguished.

Do some of you see yourself in some of the passages in this description, even though you don’t feel exhausted? If so, you need to be very careful, because this phenomenon works a bit like a flood – the water level rises without you noticing and by the time you do, it’s done too much damage!

The literature is abundant and the research deep on the subject of organizational well-being, and this article is not intended to add to or subtract from that body of work; it is merely an observation. There seem to be objective and subjective reasons, i.e. people who become exhausted because arithmetically they don’t have enough hours to deal with all the tasks they have to do, for the duration they would require; and people who become exhausted because of the context in which they live and before they even reach this “arithmetic limit”.

In spite of everything, the first and more rational reason seems to be simpler to resolve, if it is possible to redesign the existing balance in the resources-tasks binomial. The second reason, eminently emotional and also more complex, requires greater attention and depth of intervention. In both cases, we will necessarily have to deal with personal and organizational consequences, which invariably result in less happiness and less competitiveness.

At the forefront of the fight against this situation are the traditional time management training courses that organizations provide to employees, regardless of the root of the problem. Distinguishing urgencies from priorities, learning to say no, defining time blocks for responding to emails and phone calls, among other tactics, can be useful for certain more “arithmetic” situations, but are no more than a palliative for more complex issues. They may even be counterproductive for these people… Many of these approaches may be doomed to failure if, first of all, the real reasons that lead to the feeling of exhaustion are not identified and if it is assumed that after these sessions everything depends solely on the employee who “now knows what they have to do”.

There are two or three practical things we can do:

  1. Realize that there is indeed a problem within us to solve – it sounds obvious, but it’s right here at this first point that everything goes haywire, not least because it’s much easier to spot signs in others than in ourselves. An immersive awareness campaign has been a good way for Immersis to help its clients in this regard. Wake-up and smell the coffee!
  2. Stop and gain a new perspective – in those moments when everything seems impossible, it’s important to understand the real consequences of stopping.Try to imagine what would happen if we suddenly stopped being available, how would the issues at hand evolve? Can we foresee them? Would they all have the same degree of seriousness?
  3. Having the courage to do things differently – many of us fail precisely here: after a good assessment of alternative scenarios, we lack the courage to take the first step in doing things differently and to persist in that direction.The courage to assume that something will have to be left behind, or that something may have consequences for our career, but that it may not be as important as our happiness.

At Immersis, courage is one of our most widely-held values; it’s what allows us to always dream bigger, take risks and probably dare to do things differently

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I think, therefore I’m exhausted