Resist the pressure of overwork

We all face internal and external pressures to overwork. But to be fulfilled in your life and your career, you must push back against these forces. First, understand that overwork is not necessary for career success; If you find yourself triggered by others who believe this is the case, remind yourself of the truth with positive self-talk. Second, be clear about your values ​​and follow them. Third, don’t focus on the hustle and bustle to get ahead, but on deeper goals and your craft. Fourth, find positive role models who ensured their success without overworking themselves. And, finally, learn to ignore unreasonable requests, even when they come from the boss.

Few of us want to overwork ourselves. Even when our jobs have meaning, we prefer to work to live, not live to work. We also benefit from devoting time to other interests and hobbies, family and friends, hobbies and learning unrelated to our professions. These are meaningful for us too.

Still, it’s easy to get sucked (or sucked in) into working too hard. To avoid this, you will need well-articulated strategies. Try these.

Understand that overwork is not necessary for success.

If you buy into this thought even a little bit, you won’t be able to resist the triggers, as others tell you about their overwork. This social pressure will activate your anxiety, with all the emotional and physical reactions that come with it.

Here is an example. Another author recently told me how many podcast interviews they did to support their book launch. It was so much more than me, and it sent me into a spiral of worry. Even hours later, my heart rate remained elevated and my mind kept going back to it.

To avoid the temptation to keep up with vocal overdrivers like this author, you must radically reject the idea that such behavior is necessary or even beneficial. In my case, I literally had to say to myself, “This person believes that overwork is necessary to succeed. I do not believe it.

If a situation continues to trigger you, consider using even more compassionate self-talk. For example, “I’m afraid that if I don’t accept their assumptions, I’m going to fail. My success is important to me, so it’s scary. But I will remind myself how I can do my best through methods that don’t involve overwork.

Be clear about your values.

While this author was talking about his many podcast appearances, the tone wasn’t “I’ve met so many amazing interviewers, and it’s been so interesting and rewarding.” It was more like “I’m grinding it. Isn’t it painful to have to do this?

I never want to feel like that going into interviews. I want to approach with curiosity, learn something from interviewers, and be inspired to think about ideas differently or express my own thoughts in ways I have never seen before.

Beyond that, I also appreciate the efficiency. Yes, I could try to be invited on 100 podcasts. But it seems much smarter to identify the 20 most likely to boost book sales, and then five to 10 others that seem interesting, to introduce a bit of randomness and serendipity into the process.

It is important to precisely identify your values. Of course, most of us can agree that things like equality, justice, efficiency, generosity, bravery, self-reliance, challenge, cooperation, adventure are good. However, we differ in our priorities – our most important values ​​– and what most makes us feel like our lives and careers are meaningful and on track. For example, if you place a high value on bravery, think about how you can approach your main tasks with more courage. Think not only about what you prefer to do rather than work, but also about your attitude and your approach to thriving. in work.

Trust also that this values-driven approach will lead to some of the results that are important to you. With experience and experimentation, you will learn to do “enough” in your job/career, instead of measuring accomplishments by the hours you put in.

Reject the culture of restlessness. Instead, focus on deeper goals and your craft.

Einstein was not trying to “crush” or “kill” him at work. In fact, the behaviors and language associated with hustle culture don’t usually lead to great accomplishments. What he does is the pursuit of deeper and more personal goals, such as knowing and understanding important phenomena, solving complex problems or having a positive impact on society. You can think of goals in more concrete terms, of course (e.g. sales goals), but also consider the biggest ambition that matters most to you and try to focus on the tasks and missions that help you achieve them, leaving out much of the rest. .

Another way to move away from the culture of hustle – whether you’re a teacher, an accountant, or a manager – is to reframe your job as a craft you’re trying to perfect. You should be more interested in the facets of the job, such as building skills, getting feedback, and interacting with a wide range of people who can help you improve. All of this will propel you, not more, but towards more important work that will allow you to achieve your big goals.

Learn from role models.

Consider people who have achieved the kind of success you want without overworking or constantly noticing how “overwhelmed” and “burned out” they are as a badge of honor. (Note: this type of complaint has become normalized, but it not Ordinary. If someone is really burnt out from their job, that’s a problem that needs to be solved.)

To be clear, I’m not talking about identifying role models who are celebrities or CEOs you admire but don’t know. A more effective strategy when trying to find role models is to simply look inside and outside of your professional niche. Who inspires you by doing well without overworking, hustling or burning out? What are their approaches? Can you adapt any of them to your values, your goals, your personality and your situation?

Ignore overwork requests.

Here is a very basic law of psychology: when behaviors are reinforced, they increase. When you ignore them, you may see an “extinction burst” – a short-term increase in problem behaviors – but then they will stop.

For example, if a co-worker emails you after hours and you reply, you’re encouraging more work at night. The sender will ask for more – from you and everyone else. If you instead ignore inappropriate attempts to push you into overdrive, the person may for a short time try frantically and more manipulatively to force you to conform – the burst of extinction – but then they will adapt. People are wired to learn.

If your boss is the one pushing you to overwork, that’s one of the most basic signs of an abusive work culture. Clearly define your boundaries and, if the behaviors don’t stop, consider roles on different teams or in different organizations with managers who have more realistic expectations. As Adam Grant says, “It’s not your job to fix a toxic workplace from below.”

We all face internal and external pressures to do more. But, in the pursuit of professional success and fulfillment, overwork is your enemy, not your friend. These strategies can help you oppose it.

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