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Getting Too Intense About Work

Getting Too Intense About Work

It’s easy to get intense about your work. Most people, deep down, believe what they do is valuable and important. They care about it. The employees most likely to feel burnout are the ones who put more of themselves into their job, spend more time at work, and take work more personally. But it’s a major step from there to treating your job with such intensity it starts to take over nearly all of your life.

Are you working harder and harder and feel like you’re getting nothing done? The problem may lie in your mind, not in your ability to organize your schedule. Piling on the intensity is the typical response of a potential workaholic to increased job demands. It’s also likely to be a major part of the cause of the increase. Overwork and frenetic intensity are great ways to lower productivity and increase mistakes and reworking. The employee who is approaching burnout is likely to be the last to see it. Until then, he or she will probably try methods of coping that make the problem worse — like increasing the hours spent at work, becoming even more personally involved in work problems and trying to drive away the blues by increased effort and concentration. You may be able to outperform your colleagues, but you can’t outperform your own limits.

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Surviving Burnout

Don’t just shrug off burnout as superstition or think you’re immune. It’s a serious issue that can wreck lives and produce problems for other people as well. The good news is burnout is entirely survivable. And your teammates and coworkers are more likely to be part of the solution that the cause of the problem.

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In most cases, they’ll already know there’s something wrong. They’ll have sensed the difference in your behavior and seen the change in your mood. If they’re keeping their distance, you’ve probably been growling every time they came near you. Any good manager will already have started to investigate to find out what’s wrong. It’s their job. But not every manager is good; and some see the problem and apply James Thurber’s classic remedy of “don’t think about it and it will go away.”

In the end, it’s up to you. Your health and well-being is more your concern than anyone’s. Change comes best from within. Slow down. Take time out to think and reflect on your needs. Break problems down into smaller pieces. Start with the most obvious bit and ignore all the rest. Then take the next piece. Never try to drive ahead and work your way out of the problem by making still more effort.

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As long as you take on tough assignments and push yourself you run the risk of going to far. What you need it to learn where your limits lie and stay this side of them. Pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for you. Forget the macho nonsense that you can take whatever the world throws at you. You can’t and nor can anyone else. If they say they can, they’re fools. The sooner you slow down and allow your own best ways of coping with life to guide your actions, the better off you’ll be.

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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1. Make a list of your goal destinations

Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

3. Write down your goals clearly

Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

6. Schedule your to-dos

Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

7. Review your progress

At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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