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10 Signs You’re Sacrificing Your Health For Your Work And It’s Not Worth It

10 Signs You’re Sacrificing Your Health For Your Work And It’s Not Worth It

“Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don’t really know how to do NOTHING. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype — the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax.” – Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat Pray Love

Work and Health

Everybody has to work. In doing so we are supporting ourselves, our families, our need for purpose and if we are lucky, fulfilment. Yet statistics show that there is a dangerous inability to not only know when to switch off from work, but to understand how we might be affecting our health by working too much and not living a balanced life. Here are some signs you might be working too much:

1. Health problems

Ailments regarding health can range from the largely unobserved world of mental health problems, to other physical issues such as obesity. You find yourself eating too much or eating too few meals. Joints have become as so stiff that you can’t even afford to do vigorous exercise.

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2. Cognitive problems

You may be dealing with poor memory. Things people said just minutes ago to you are always forgotten.

3. Poor interpersonal relationships

Your relationships with family and friends have become a bit distant. You have little time to spend with them. When you finally go out with them or have a meal with them, your anxious mind cannot stop thinking about work-related stuff. Such stress puts a barrier between you and your loved ones.

4. Have to bring unfinished work home

You are unable to differentiate between work time and leisure time as your workload increases. You cannot stop thinking about your work even if you’re on vacation.

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5. Always feel tired

You may have difficulty waking up in the morning, have an over-reliance on coffee, or find it hard to concentrate. You feel like you’re at least 10 years older in just one year.

6. Dominated by negative thoughts

Your thought process has become agitated and stressed. Small things can irritate you though you don’t want to be like that.

7. Lower level of satisfaction

You may find it harder to feel satisfied in the things that you used to. Those things lack their colors and you sometimes doubt the meaning of your whole life.

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8. Easily frustrated

You are easily irritated and feel frustrated with many things.

9. Poor performance at work

Your professionalism and expertise may be slipping from its best level. You still try hard but the performance is not the same anymore, as your body cannot sustain such exceeding workload.

10. Weaker self-control

You may find yourself giving in to things easier because you feel deflated or over-run.

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Beware of the bias social proof

Working overtime seems to have become common business for many workers today. Unfortunately it is now the norm to get a phone call saying that your friend or loved one has been “held back” at the office. There are a few reasons for this, and pressures play a decent part in it. You may feel guilty about leaving when there is still work to be done, or when others have left work that needs doing. You may feel guilty that others are staying behind when you are ready to leave. This susceptibility is called ‘Social Proof’.

To avoid this, we should always be aware of our rights, and what we want and are entitled to. If what you have signed up for is to work until a certain point, work until that time and make it a point to leave then. Practice this. This is the job you were hired to do and you are doing it. If you are required to do more it should be agreed upon before hand, and not after. You are doing nothing wrong.

Try ‘different instead of ‘harder’

When you push yourself too hard, you stop enjoying yourself. And while we don’t always love work, we shouldn’t loathe it. Instead of pushing yourself harder, try a different tact. Try different ways to work with your time rather than spending so much time at the workplace. Have specific goals in mind. Instead of saying “I will stay at work until this is done” perhaps say “I will get the hardest parts of this done now, then when I come back to it in the morning, it will be a breeze to finish”. That way you can finish at a reasonable time, and be able to enjoy your free time with less stress.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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