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7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

Everyone’s at it, you know. Working overtime for more hours than are healthy, sacrificing the time you really want to relax and enjoy life in for an extra bit of heft in your monthly paycheck. As a generation, we’re all working too hard, and this is a real problem. This is not an endorsement of slacking off by any means; but working to excess, to the point of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual exhaustion, all in the name of elusive praise, stubborn pride, or that all-important money, is not healthy.

With more people than ever reporting work burnout and finding themselves disenchanted with their jobs – which they’d previously found enjoyable and fulfilling – it seems that our Western culture of making everything quicker, faster, and more demanding is taking its toll on our lives.

So, if you’re sliding down that slippery slope and working too hard, you may need to apologize for these seven things:

1. You’re be damaging your relationship.

One of the most destructive things that working too hard can do is ruin your relationship. Spending endless hours at the office or on conference calls drains away time and energy that could be better spent celebrating your bond with the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. Too many relationships have ended due to work commitments that could have been reduced if not for a culture of competition and reckless devotion to the world of work.

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One of the simplest ways to help keep a relationship a top priority is to make a recurring date night. It doesn’t have to be every Thursday night at the same place at the same time, but by devoting a solid amount of time where the rest of the world is of no concern, you’ll help keep your relationship happy and thriving.

2. Your loved ones need more of your time.

The true heart of your life should always be yourself and your loved ones, be they friends or family. Working too hard can severely deplete your energy, leaving none left for those you hold dear. Simply put: working too hard will damage your children, friends and spouse.

Carving out chunks of time for your family in a hectic work schedule may seem like a daunting feat, but when managed right, it can help balance out the demands of living in an increasingly hectic 21st-century life. Make sure you all eat together at least two nights a week. Also, make commitments with friends to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

3. You’re neglecting your duties at home.

If you’re working too hard, your home can fall apart without you even realizing it. Coming home to a place that is smelly, cluttered, and full of trash and discarded clothes cannot be beneficial to your mental health.

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So take time off if you need to, or cut back on unnecessary commitments so that you can get your house in order. Spend a weekend doing the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning and doing all that necessary stuff that makes the space where you eat, sleep and relax both habitable and enjoyable. Working too hard isn’t an excuse for getting your home environment into a toxic state, and the sooner you clear the dishes, change the sheets and sort the clutter, the sooner you’ll be feeling the positive benefits.

4. You’re focusing too much on money.

It’s symptomatic of the 21st-century way of living, but too much of peoples’ lives these days focuses on money, money, money. While I’m certainly not advocating giving up your worldly possessions, everyone could do with giving up their fixed gaze upon money.

The best way to focus on the bigger picture here is to imagine time as a currency – you have no idea how much you have, but every day you lose a little chunk of it, like someone slowly draining away pennies and dollars from your savings account, and you can’t stop it. What do you do? If you keep treating money like the most important thing in the world, hoarding money like a Dickensian villain will only make you lose the things that are truly important in life: love, family, relationships, your creativity and your spirituality. For an immediate transformation, go and volunteer with a local charity and see how giving your time to help those less fortunate stacks up against working too hard so you can keep on keeping up with the Joneses.

5. You’re losing your sense of fun.

Life is meant to be fun, isn’t it? Maybe not all the time; there are always jobs to be done, but working too hard can rob your sense of unbridled fun, something that should never be allowed to happen. Denying yourself of activities that give you a childlike sense of wonder, exuberance and joie de vivre is detrimental to your overall mental health and well-being. Everyone needs downtime.

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So go and enjoy whatever it makes you happy: fantasy football, hiking, reading comics, spending time with your friends, family or pets. Make yourself set clear boundaries between your work life and your home life. This helps to establish that your work is not the central focus of your entire life, and that it does not infringe on your leisure time. After all, we’re only here for a little while on this planet – what are the chances that not having enough fun might be on your list of regrets?

6. Your work-life balance is suffering.

The work-life balance is something that people have struggled with for years, and it is hard as heck to juggle everything that life seems to want to throw at us. Work commitments, family commitments, friend commitments, the list goes on. Working too hard means that whatever kind of balance you’ve established for yourself can become unraveled, negatively impacting your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The key to this? Focus on your schedule and try and make sure that your boundaries are maintained. Don’t answer non-vital emails when you’ve gone home for the day, or work when you’re not in the office or on their time. Your life is your own for a reason, and giving it up for a company is a big waste.

7. You’re living to work… rather than working to live.

The final reason you should give up working too hard at the expense of everything else in life is simply that when it boils down to it, you are living to work, rather than working to live. Even if you love your job – which we ideally all should – there needs to be a point where the money helps us fulfill other meaningful aspects of our lives.

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Life is not about the hours you put in at the office or promotions. Earning money helps us provide our lives with the means of doing what we want to do, but if we’re spending all of our time working on getting the money and the means, we won’t have time to actually do what is important. Imagine missing your child’s college graduation because you were too focused on a project to take the time off, or ducking out of a wedding in order to answer emails. It doesn’t sound good, does it?

You only get one shot at life. What will you regret more – not working hard enough to get more money, or not realising that what makes a person truly rich are your family, friends and loved ones, and how you choose to spend your precious time with them?

Featured photo credit: camknows via flickr.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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