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Stop Forcing the Momentum and What Off-Days Have to Do with It?

Stop Forcing the Momentum and What Off-Days Have to Do with It?

Your current pace isn’t showing any signs of slowing; it seems you’re always busy and constantly on the go. You’re working as fast as you can, but there’s no time left for you, for reflection and renewal. There’s got to be a better way to live and work.

You desperately want to find time for you, and for improving your work, your skills, for observation, for growth, but there’s now white space left on your calendar. It doesn’t take long, before you start to feel tired and inefficient because of your current situation. Yet, you don’t want to stop – in order not to break the momentum.

But is this “forced” momentum really worth it and is it actually doing you more harm than good?

The illusion of productivity

Many people consider productivity to be working as much as possible, but that isn’t the case.

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Part of the definition of productivity is also slowing down and taking a breather. However, if you are skipping the breaks then this nasty habit is going to get to you at some point: You’ll be exhausted and stress yourself out for nothing.

Another part of slowing and taking a break is for reflecting on your work processes: What have you achieved? What methods worked and which could be improved on further?

The fact is that you need to do this kind of analysis on a frequent basis. Otherwise, you can keep working and working, until you realize that you have wasted your time doing too much unnecessary work. Moreover, that this could’ve been prevented by stopping for a moment and looking around.

Forcing yourself to keep up the momentum

So what is the real reason why you keep working like this, even though you know you should stop at times?

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First, the fear keeps your wheels rolling. It’s not letting you stop, because if you do you’ll fall behind on everything – or at least that’s what fear thinks. You’re also afraid that your momentum will stop, but you should be asking where is my momentum taking me.

Second, your attitude also matters. In your words, “the more I do, the better I am as a person” may work on some level, but for how long?

If your daily life is just hard work without any reprieve, do you think that you can keep this indefinitely? Or do you think that what you are doing now is just a short-term strategy? If it’s the latter, how can you work better to reduce the stress and improve your effectiveness?

The STOP sign

So, how do you improve your situation?

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Allow yourself to stop!

Yes, allow yourself to take a break on a frequent basis for renewal, analysis, education, and planning.

This is actually a major shift in your mindset and it plays a big role in what happens next. The shift is also helping you to change your negative attitude towards taking time off. If you’d normally label yourself as a procrastinator or a lazy person if you take time off, giving yourself permission to do so can help you to quiet those negative thoughts.

It’s the same thing as if you’d be trying to lose weight: If you allow yourself to eat something unhealthy every now and then, instead of beating yourself up about it, you might actually reach your goal even faster.

From forced to relaxed momentum – how to

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1. Allow yourself to stop. This is the most crucial mindset shift you can make: allow yourself to stop at times.

2. Understand the benefits. For instance, you’d have more time to plan, analyze the past, and even prevent future mistakes from happening. The off days are also great for “sharpening the saw” – educating yourself. No matter how good you are now in what you do, you can always do better and improve. Finally, slowing down is a great way to take your mind off work for a while. This way you can have more energy for your future projects and tasks you have coming up.

3. Find the perfect time for the day off. Decide to have at least one day off dedicated on a weekly basis for analysis, planning, education, and renewal. In my case, this day is on Sunday. When I reach my off day, I know that I have also reached the end of the workweek and that I can slow down a bit. This off day gives me a needed break between the current and the coming workweek.

You can work only so much. At some point, you have to find time for planning, analyzing, and renewal. In addition, although you might find it difficult in the beginning, you’ll find it comes easier. You’ll begin to see the big picture and have more motivation to tackle your work with enthusiasm and energy. It gives you a more relaxed type of momentum.

Over to you: Do you take time off on a frequent basis?

Featured photo credit: Businessman sitting on a chair via Shutterstock

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Timo Kiander

Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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