Are You Working Too Hard?
Woman, I bet you’re working too hard!
Now, of course working hard is an asset, but it may also be an overused strength. You may be trying too hard, over-efforting, and driving yourself a bit nuts when you don’t have to.
Your asset becomes a liability when you’re getting cranky or feel like you don’t have a choice, like you’re doing it all alone. Working too hard can also lead to actual stress-related illnesses and issues.
I often work “too hard” at many things: sports, work, cleaning the house, and even driving the car – gripping the steering wheel, leaning forward, and speeding. This work ethic even seeped into how I was walking the dogs!
Susan’s away for the month leading the Living Alive Phase up at The Haven. So, I’m responsible for our two fur babies, Rosie and ZuZu, who are both high energetic beings, requiring an hour long walk a day, at least. Not a big deal, right?
Unless I’m also coaching, writing our blogs, working with corporate clients, and oh, performing hip-hop every night (more on that later).
I’m lucky because we have a great wooded area where I take the dogs on our off-leash walk. I don’t have too many rules:
stay behind me (so I can control them if someone approaches)
come when you’re called
don’t jump on people
Last Monday, when we were starting our walk, I thought, “I don’t really have time for this. I’ve got to get back to get my blog written and reply to xyz client.” I was feeling pushed, frustrated and a bit resentful that these dogs need so much exercise.
I noticed that I was breathing heavy. I was leaning forward with my head down. I was pushing myself, walking fast. My arms were pumping, trying to get this over with; to get on with the rest of my day. Rosie and ZuZu were being particularly annoying – running out in front of me, and not coming when I called them. GRRR!
I yelled louder and angrier. I grabbed Rosie’s collar as she tried to pass me and forced her to sit. I finally leashed ZuZu and yanked on her leash when she tried to go ahead of me. I would MAKE them obey!
Okay, don’t call animal control on me yet.
I realized, “Wow, I’m working way too hard. This is no fun. There’s got to be another way.”
I stopped and took a breath. I decided to try a different approach.
I started walking at a slower pace. I made sure I was feeling my feet and legs and was connecting to my hips. I naturally stood up straighter. I could then see and enjoy the view, which, moments ago, I hadn’t noticed at all. I also pulled out my iphone and started listening to music.
I told myself, “This is the current task—relax and enjoy it.”
Then, a surprising benefit…the dogs started to obey me – no lie – without me trying at all! OMG, this really works.
It is possible to have more fun, even get more done, when you’re not pushing, forcing, and trying to make things happen.
Where Do You Over-Effort?
Where are you pushing yourself hard, trying to do something faster than you need to, adding an extra task, or holding yourself to a higher standard?
It can feel like a life or death situation when it’s likely not. Over-efforting can seep in to everything so easily. When it does, you can feel like you’re a victim of your to-do list, that you have to do what you’re doing. You have no choice, which is NOT true at all.
Stop Reacting and Start Choosing
It’s your mind that is telling you have to get it done, and done now, and perfectly. Your mind is a liar. Stop reacting and start choosing how you want to experience your day.
It’s about time you turn that equation around.
How do you stop overdriving?
1. Notice when you’re over-efforting, trying too hard, or squeezing in too much. Are you:
Trying to get something done fast
Squeezing in yet another task
Trying to make it perfect
Not scheduling transition time between one project and the next
2. Interrupt it – slow down and ask yourself:
What does (insert your name) want?
What does (insert your name) need?
3. Then, ask: “What can you bag, barter, or better?”
Bag it, means let it go. Do you really have to organize the linen closet right now or ever? Wouldn’t taking a bath or watching your favorite TV show sound better?
Barter it, who else can you trade or pay to do this task. Do you really want to do your taxes? Wouldn’t you prefer to hire a CPA to file that extension and get your tax mess sorted out?
Better it, so you have to do it, how can you make it more enjoyable? You need to develop a presentation, why not put on some tunes and take an occasional dance break?
If everything seems like a chore, a have to, something you don’t have a choice about, your locus of control is outside yourself. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Your life is not magically going to get easier once you get that last task complete. There’s ALWAYS more tasks. That’s life. Your to-do list will be complete when you die and not any sooner.
So make a choice to experience it differently.
P.S. Want some help down shifting? I’d be happy to do some personal coaching with you.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are Master certified life coaches, business consultants, speakers and authors of The Beauty of Conflict. They believe real relationships are the key to creating great business results. They’ll take your team from mediocre to great.
Want to take a class? Sign up for one of their virtual classes: Get Unstuck, Relationship Mojo or come to their signature retreat Find Your Mojo in Montana. Click here to check out all their service offerings.