Most of us productive and workaholic people (yes, one can be productive without being workaholic), are guilty of this one behaviour, which singlehandedly makes us be tired way more often than we need to be. We don’t know when we have worked enough. Or, more accurately, we establish a bad marker for what it is “enough” done in one day.
You would think DOING the things on our list or in our calendars would count as enough - but with most workaholics I know, this is not the case. What they experience, even in their most productive days, is that AFTER they did everything they set out to do, even if all these things have been done much faster than they expected, they keep working. More than this, they somehow feel wicked satisfaction at doing more than they set out to do, and belief going home or engaging in their relaxing activities earlier, just because they had a very productive day, would feel weird.
Sure, nobody can work continuously. When do workaholics stop working then?
Generally, when they hit a physical or mental marker of an “enough” button. That is when they feel very, very tired, sometimes completely exhausted.
But look, this is not a good idea, in multiple ways.
1 - if you feel like you need to exhaust yourself every day, you probably don’t feel like you are treating yourself well.
2 - if you push yourself to exhaustion every time, it takes you longer to come back to a rested and productive place. Other people, that go and find rest constantly and earlier, also know how to stay in their most productive space mentally, rather than drive themselves as if they were cattle. Because of this, it takes you LONGER to get things done - you operate from a place of tiredness, rather than from the place of free-flowing rested energy.
All it takes to be more productive, and feel more rested at the same time, is to start a non-exhaustion policy in your life, and keep at it.
What does this mean? It means that you won’t let yourself lured to stay an extra hour in the office, just to sneak in one more project. It means that you will have a distinct ENOUGH button which is dependent on productivity, hours worked and/or how you feel in terms of focus. But that this button is not “I cannot do anymore, I am exhausted, therefore I must have done enough”.
It means developing trust that we will get more done by being rested, than by working ourselves on the floor. And avoiding fear and anxiety (or even ambition) push us into completely depleting our energy resources, or raiding them whenever we are insecure.
So what can this button be? How would you feel when implementing such a habit?
In my calendar, I have a time slot linked to a reminder, which at a specific time of the day tells me only one thing “ENOUGH”. I then know it is time to wrap it up, and that I will ultimately be pissed off with myself if I stayed in work mode for too long after.
But they are many ways of implementing this habit. The only important thing is that you make it a habit. Enrol in the mission if you want to start now.