- Time Management?
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Overworked? Not able to disconnect? You're not alone, it's become part of our culture, but at a huge...
I had a conversation today with a Time Native struggling with workaholism. She has her own business, and goes nonstop seven days a week, whether she needs to or not. She’s lived all of her life like this; it’s part of her family’s DNA.
It’s not making her happy. She isn’t spending the time she’d like with her kids, volunteer work, or traveling. What’s worse, by taxing her physical and mental abilities beyond what they’re meant to take, she’s made herself less efficient and effective. In the long-term, she’s doing serious damage to her health and well-being.
We hear this all the time; more and more it’s part of our culture. As we were talking, I remembered a quotation from a great article by Tim Kreider I read in the New York Times the other day:
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
It’s very hard to just stop being a workaholic. After all, patterns that form over decades (or generations in this case) are burned deeply into the brain. The neural pathways are there, and aren’t going away.
It is possible, though, to build alternate routes, pathways that may start at the same place, but end up somewhere different. The first step isn’t to try to fix the problem—that never works. Instead, notice your patterns. Notice what triggers thoughts of “must…work…harder.” Notice thoughts or feelings or bodily sensations.
The more you get curious about the triggers, old patterns and thoughts, and impacts of being a workaholic, the more opportunities you have to try something different.
A Pathway Out
Here’s one simple thing that my friend thought very helpful:
Say to yourself, “Stop!”
And then get curious. Do you really have to do the thing you think you should do next? Is there an easier way to get it done. Can someone else do it for a reasonable price?
There’s so much we could do that if we think we have to do it, we’ll never get a chance to breath.
And if you start making alternatives to patterns you’ve been locked in to for years, you may discover that you can start to relax, spend more time doing things that are rejuvenating and enjoyable, become more creative and inspired, increase your productivity and effectiveness, and become more engaged with life.
All it may take is giving yourself permission to lounge around and be lazy now and then.
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