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12 Tips To Help ‘Always On’ Professionals Combat Overwork

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at July 22, 2021

Overworked employees have been touted as heroes for decades, but this mindset is shifting. The significant benefits of using downtime to refresh one’s outlook and renew depleted energy levels have been proven through well-documented research, and overworking is now viewed by experts as a habit that should be avoided.

Yet, this is still a challenge for some dedicated professionals. Whether you’re a workaholic by nature or have too much on your plate, there are smart ways to create healthy boundaries between your personal life and work life, and striking that balance is instrumental to your success.

If you are a professional who is “always on,” check out these 12 tips from members of Forbes Coaches Council to combat the feeling that you need to overwork.

1. Look At Downtime As A Different Type of Work

Instead of viewing tasks in a binary way, as either “working” or “not working,” look at downtime as a different type of work. Restoring yourself increases your capacity so that you can handle work responsibilities more competently. Start with small optimizations: Put your phone away for 15 minutes or add a 10-minute, no-tech walking break. Take note of how you feel as you make these changes, then continue to shift. – Andrew Deutscher, Regenerate

2. Take On Short-Term Tasks Unrelated To Work

Taking on a short-term, non-work-related task often provides a mental break and brings new energy. The instant gratification of seeing results can be invigorating. Whether installing a storage shelf, planting a window box, filling a bag of clothes to donate to a local charity or helping a friend rearrange furniture, redirecting your “work mode” toward something tangible refuels the mind and body. – Cheri Bachofer, Forwarding Leaders

3. Uncover False Beliefs About How You Provide Value

There’s a belief in you that needs to be identified, uncovered and dissected. What purpose is your need to be busy fulfilling for the client? Rather, what purpose do you think it is fulfilling for them? In actuality, it’s not serving them in any constructive way at all. It’s actually hurting your productivity. Only when you overcome that false belief can you move forward. – Dhru Beeharilal, Nayan Leadership, LLC

4. Be Present In The Moment During Downtime

Being present in the moment is just as vital when you are enjoying precious self-care or family time as it is when you are in a business setting. The ability to set aside work and truly experience the gift of downtime is a tricky one to master, but you can gain a great deal when you are able to do this. Guided meditation can be very beneficial for those who find letting go challenging. – Shellie Hipsky, Inspiring Lives International and Global Sisterhood


Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?


5. Do Rote Activities That Won’t Tax Your Brain

If someone cannot separate from work, I suggest doing rote activities that don’t take a lot of brainpower but still need to be done on days where you aren’t up for more mentally taxing activities. This could mean completing tasks such as coming up with a list of prospects and their contact info or setting up a content calendar framework. Then, call the prospects on your list or fill in the content calendar when you have full mental capacity. – Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes LLC

6. Set Personal Goals In Your Life Outside Of Work

Most professionals who work a lot do so because they have a goal. However, most of their goals are likely associated with work and not their lives outside of work. Having goals in your personal life is important. It could be a health goal, a relationship goal or even a spiritual goal. You could even have a goal of relaxing. Having goals outside of work allows you to feel productive and goal-oriented without guilt. – Purdeep Sangha, Sangha Worldwide

7. Get To The Root Of Why You Need To Be Busy

Explore your underlying need to always be busy. What are you afraid you will miss out on if you stop? A great way to reset your mind is by doing short, two- to three-minute mindfulness exercises at intervals throughout the day. You can place daily reminders on your phone or use an app such as Positive Intelligence or Calm to do these exercises. Remember: You are more than your productivity. – Clara Angelina Diaz-Anderson, ClaraFying Coaching and Consulting

8. Trust The Next Level Down And Delegate

When you delegate, people feel empowered and are willing to take on new challenges. When you feel as if things won’t slip through the cracks, you can shift your focus to what happens outside of work. Ask yourself several questions: “What gives me energy?” “What am I passionate about?” “What do I do when I lose track of time?” A more balanced view will help you be more productive and feel refreshed. – Shelley Hammell, Sage Alliance, Inc.

9. Set Your Own Pace And Define What Success Means

You set the pace. There is no such thing as work-life balance—just hard decisions to be made in the pursuit of integrating the most important parts of your life and bringing them closer to the center of who you are striving to be. The pursuit of balance keeps us bouncing between categories of life, and the achievement of success in one always seems to rob the other. How you define that success is up to you. – Melanie Towey, Melanie Anne, LLC

10. Engage In An Exercise About ‘Being’ And ‘Doing’

Work is “doing,” and “being” connects who you are with what you do. Pleasure, reward, fulfillment and legacy come from the balance between who we are and what we do. So, you need to connect the value of your work with your personal feelings and reward system. As understand the value, you also recognize the need for self-care and balance. – Luis Costa, Luis Costa – coach · facilitator · speaker

11. Set Time On Your Calendar For Reflection

You can’t deal with a full plate if your cup is empty. Build white space into your calendar to give yourself time to reflect. Doing so will help you turn raw information into knowledge and knowledge into insight. – Sheri Nasim, Center for Executive Excellence

12. Take Baby Steps Toward Downtime 

Many professionals feel as if they need to be all or nothing when it comes to downtime. What I’ve found is that taking baby steps toward downtime ends up reaping dividends for people. Baby steps I’ve witnessed being helpful are as simple as starting the day with a 30-minute walk, sleeping with cell phones in a separate room or taking short, two-minute breaks throughout the day. – Billy Williams, Archegos

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