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5 Must-Dos for Workaholics

5 Must-Dos for Workaholics

There are thousands of books on personal development: how to aim higher and fulfill your potential, how to succeed through hard work, how to never give up. The list goes on. But what happens when you fail to apply these rules to your life and you are only satisfied when you are busy? You are trapped in a 24/7 cycle of stressful work and struggle to get more from life.

Welcome to the new trend that has engulfed approximately 30% of the working population: workaholism! This phenomenon is described as the state of being addicted to work and your professional career.

Definitions given by psychologists, psychiatrists, or coaches in the field of work-addiction vary but all come to the same conclusion: it’s not just unbeneficial, but actually toxic. A recent study[1] estimating the prevalence of overworking, assumes that workaholism involves thinking about work, even during leisure time. There is no typical profile of the workaholic, but it seems to entail the same negative effects as any other addiction: sleep problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

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How do high performance and workaholism relate?

Well, they don’t. Workaholism is not about passion—it’s not even about making money. The driving force behind workaholism is a permanent conflict with yourself and a feeling of guilt if you are not working. You are never satisfied. There is always one more little task to do, one more detail to check and that’s what makes high performance impossible to achieve. Feeling depressed and not being able to detach from work leads to your brain under-functioning overall.

In Japan, workaholism is associated to karoshi, a term introduced in 1995 which describes death or serious circulatory system diseases caused by overworking (more than 65h/week for 4 weeks). A study regarding countries with the most workaholics placed Japan in first place, Australia in second and South Africa in third. The U.S.A was ranked 5th. It seems the workaholism virus evolves fast; if you feel any workaholism tendencies in your daily routine, take a step back and attempt to reflect.

How to Transform Your Busyness Into Productivity

By following these simple steps, your work performance can be improved while simultaneously keeping workaholism at bay. Your main aim should be to reconnect to your true self, enabling you to succeed in both your personal and professional life.

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1. Face thyself.

This is the most important step to start with. Don’t mistake passion with addiction and don’t be afraid to analyse yourself objectively. Stop doubting yourself and your potential!

2. Set priorities.

Actions become habits. So set up and follow your priorities until they become second nature. Focus on your life values. Ask yourself what’s most important to you—family, health, peace of mind, money—and put it on a paper. Always keep that in mind and act accordingly.

3. Set healthy boundaries.

Saying yes can allow opportunities to arise, but sometimes saying no can lead to the right possibilities for you. Learn when to stop. Allow yourself to be flexible by converting your mindset from “only too much is enough” to “less is more.” Give work a break and embrace your need for human connection and physical activity.

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4. Take a day off.

It’s time to see “leave your comfort zone” from a different perspective—by emptying your mind. Most workaholics have difficulty enjoying free time as they feel guilty for not working. What they don’t know is that productivity comes only when energy is handled properly. Choose quality over quantity and manage your stress and time wisely.

5. Be open to others’ ideas.

The “Looking-glass self” theory states that our self-image is shaped by what we believe others think of us. Sometimes, what we believe others think of us does not match up with their actual impression of us. This discrepancy can lead you in the wrong direction. That’s why we have to allow others to analyze our actions and to accept the advice and feedback provided. Talk to your family and friends about your goals, about your actions, and about your habits. Their answers might surprise you as well as have great benefits for your personal development.

6. Consider asking for professional help.

Overworking is not a new topic among professional coaches. Some of them associate this term with typical entrepreneurial behaviour. Various coaches share success stories on how they supported others fight against work-addiction or even their own journey to find a healthy balance. Learning from someone with a high level of expertise and integrity might be one of the best things to do. It is essential to choose the guidance which is right for you. Make sure your coach is professionally certified and trustworthy; a great coach will monitor your progress and empower you to develop professionally as well as and personally.

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If you acknowledge that overworking has a negative impact on your career, take the matter seriously. Whether you consider asking for a professional coach’s help, or to follow the other aforementioned steps, start making a change. Make sure you’re on the right track to success by disowning unhealthy habits in your life. You’re in charge of your life!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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