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Stop Overworking and Achieve More

Over-working?
Out of balance?
On the Verge of Burnout?

End your Day Earlier to Achieve (and Enjoy) More!

This is one of those “full disclosure” moments for me, because I think it’s really important that I don’t just share where I have struggled in the past and overcome, but also where I continue to struggle from time to time. (I don’t ever want you to think of me or my life as some airbrushed, picture-perfect ideal you should compare yourself to!)

“My name is Lynne, and I can be an over-worker.”

I am very guilty of this! It’s something I really have to remain vigilant about.

Loving what I do and having a brain that is constantly buzzing and whirling and creating can be an amazing asset in some ways, but it can definitely be a mixed blessing at times!

Working for myself, and from home, means that I have the flexibility (and lack of structure) that make it possible to work any time I feel the urge, the need, or the desire. If I want to fully immerse myself in a project or make significant headway on something, I can put in as many hours as I choose. There have been days over the years, more than I care to count, when I have worked until I can’t work anymore–or until it doesn’t make sense to keep working. And, honestly, there have been times when I’ve clocked 15-18-hour days and 70-hour weeks and beyond.

BUT, that’s not something I’m proud of, nor believe that I should be proud of.

Of course, it’s not only extremely unhealthy for me, it’s unhealthy for my relationships and, in the end. Plus, it’s actually NOT good for my business! It’s not sustainable, and it’s not efficient. And it’s definitely not effective in the long run.

Most of all, it’s not who I want to be and the life I want to live, which means that kind of imbalance is definitely not in line with my values!

You know, we have a finite amount of energy and focus and, eventually, we hit a point of diminishing returns. It took me a lot of years to realize where that point is for me, and to put guiderails in place to make sure I don’t pass it without realizing!

The truth is, as our Executive Functions become diminished from over-working, it actually makes it harder to realize what’s really happening, and to make the “adult” EF decision to stop and walk away. (I often say that by the time we get to that point, the mental “toddlers” are running the show!)

So, I’m sharing my top tips to help you stop grinding and overworking so that you can have better balance and the freedom and fulfillment you’re working so hard for:

  • Learn your Focus and Energy Flow. I encourage my clients to log their focus and energy throughout the day to get a clearer picture of their own, personal patterns. There are points in your day when different kinds of focus are easier, and points when other kinds of focus is easier. Getting clear on your own personal ebb and flow of focus and energy enables you to work with your natural rhythms and to proactively prevent those “low” spots from bottoming out quite so badly. (That’s where a well-timed break, snack or change of scenery can work wonders!)
  • Start with Outcome in mind! Planning your days in a realistic way that works for you and your life is essential, and it should take into consideration how your energy and focus ebbs and flows throughout the day. You can start by asking yourself:
    • What are 1-3 things you absolutely, positively intend to have accomplished at the end of the day? When will you do them?
    • How will you define “Done” (for each task)?
    • When those 1-3 things are done, what’s next?
    • This is where a solid process for task management is a life saver!
  • Pre-plan for Transitions. Transitions are hard for many of us, and failing to plan for them can really take its toll on our focus and energy (and time). But, the kinds of transitions that are hardest for each person is very individual (and somewhat situational, to make it even more maddening). This is something I excavate with my clients, but you can start by asking yourself what kinds of tasks/activities you most easily get sucked into. You’re looking for the kinds of activities that things can become almost like a full body-and-mind immersion for you. Once you identify them, you can set yourself up for success by giving yourself lots of opportunities and time to transition out of those things and into whatever is next.
    Some other considerations for transitions:

    • Interruptions can feel painful when we’re focused and in flow! Pay attention to when you become most irritated or frustrated when you’re interrupted (Time of day, kind of activity, etc.). Those are things that you need extra considerations for transitioning!
    • Before you start something that is a high-focus activity, establish your stopping points and set up external “warnings” to help you gradually work your way out. Of course, personal preferences are important here as well. Do you prefer a series of gentle alerts vs one jarring alarm? How many alerts/alarms/etc. do you really need, honestly? (For me, this is one place where more is definitely better!)
    • When it’s time to start transitioning to the next thing, create a process for leaving a “trail of breadcrumbs” for yourself to make it easier to come back to what you were doing without feeling like you are starting from the beginning, yet again. Ask yourself:. What will I need to know about where I am with this, right now, to make it easier to jump in more quickly and effectively next time? How will I remember?
  • Solidify your Systems so that you can Let Go. Without solid systems and processes to hold and manage the things you need and want to do, your poor, overworked mind is wasting a lot of bandwidth trying to make sure you don’t let go of any and all things that are incomplete. Your mind just don’t like open loops, and that pervasive stress and preoccupation with your undone to-dos will keep you from relaxing, letting go and being fully present with the things and people that matter most in life! And it’s not just nice to be able to let go of work when you’re not working, it’s absolutely essential to both your joy AND your functioning! That’s why we need systems and processes we can lean on so that we have somewhere we can trust to “Park” the things we need to do, let go of them for now, and have peace of mind in knowing they’ll get their due time and attention.
  • Begin your day with the End of your Day Defined. If you’re like most human beings everywhere and anywhere, there will always be more to do in any given day than is humanly possible to complete. It’s not you! It’s just life. And it’s OK! Instead of feeling like it’s “never enough” every day, deciding in advance how, when, and where your work day ends is not just helpful, it’s a sanity saver! If you don’t create those boundaries around your work, and learn to honor them, life stays out of balance, exhausting and unfulfilling.I’m not saying you should just set an alarm and tell yourself you’ll stop when it goes off! We all know how that ends. You need transition at the end of the day even more than anywhere else, and the systems and processes to give you confidence that you know what’s coming down the pike, and that what’s not finished is parked, waiting and ready for you upon your return.

This is all about helping you really Let Go and Live! You’ll Achieve More, and have more joy, in all areas of your life.

That’s what I want for you! I want you to do what matters more easily and consistently so that you can let go, be present for what and for whom is most important in your life, and to find your own fulfillment.

Because, no matter whether you love what you do for work, only do it because you have to, or something in between, true happiness comes from nurturing all the parts of you. Mind, body and soul.

When you understand how you work best and what you need to have in place to be successful, and you have the right systems, tools and processes in place to support you, you really can do what matters, without killing yourself, and still have plenty of time, energy and bandwidth left over for the things and people who matter most to you, and have the freedom and fulfillment you crave!

And if you need help, I’m here! Just simply reply to this email and let me know you need support, and we can connect to see whether I can help you start firing on all cylinders in all areas of your life.

Until soon,
Lynne Edris
Lynne Edris

P.S. To help you get to the root of what gets in the way of your productivity and follow through, I’ve developed a quick Online Assessment called the “Productivity Breakthrough Quiz” to identify your productivity type and give you personalized suggestions, so that you stop struggling, take control of your time and your life, and show up like the incredible person you really are more easily and more consistently!

Click the following link to take the complimentary quiz and get personalized tips to help you: https://productivitybreakthroughquiz.com/

I hope you find it helpful!

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks Lynne, this was a good reminder for me today as yes I am an overworker. Like you self employed and let that freedom of schedule quickly become an unreigned in disaster. Thanks for your words! Missy

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