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5 Steps to Conquer the Cycle of Overwork and Have Your Most Productive Year Yet




It’s long past 6pm and you’re still sitting at your desk, pouring over reports and notes from an earlier meeting. Your caffeine pick-me-up has long faded and you are finally considering leaving for the day, only to look up and find that at least half of your co-workers are still firmly glued to their own chairs.

You resign yourself to another couple of hours of work before you head home, crash on the couch and get up and do it all over the next day. Sound familiar? This cycle of overwork is far too common, and often it creeps up on us before we realize it. You may work for a company that values a great deal of face time, to the point of creating an atmosphere where hours on the job are more highly valued than actual productivity.

You may be a part of a team that thrives on the adrenaline rush of trying to finish a project at the last minute to meet an important deadline. Or you may have gone with the flow early on in your job, and now find yourself surrounded by colleagues who routinely send emails at all hours and expect you to make yourself available around the clock as well.

These situations result when there is no clear alignment between your values and the expectations of your boss or colleagues, leading to undue stress and diminished productivity. Over time, the constant stress will negatively impact your health, relationships and reduce your overall quality of life.

The good news is there are ways that can help you regain control of your time, tipping the balance in favor of a more manageable work environment which sets you up for maximum productivity.

Here are the five simple steps:

1. Set boundaries

You don’t have to make a broad announcement to your whole office that you will no longer answer emails in the evenings for them to get the picture that work is no longer going to follow you home. Write down how you envision your workday to get a clear idea of what is most important to you and then start turning your vision into a reality.

Be polite but firm when someone asks (or demands) more of your time or energy than you are willing to give (say by asking you to put together a few slides for tomorrow’s presentation at 11pm). It may take time, and there may be some pushback, but eventually the people around you will realize that your time is valuable and that you will expect them to treat it as such (or compensate you adequately for what it’s worth).

“I encourage people to remember that “No” is a complete sentence.” – Gavin de Becker

2. Compare yourself less

Every workplace has someone who boasts about how late they stayed, or how many hours they’re working (how many of those are spent watching YouTube is another story). Competing with someone who keeps this kind of schedule is a recipe for unhappiness.

Have confidence that if you do your job well you won’t need to prove your worth by clocking in extra hours, especially at the expense of spending quality time with family and friends. Work on developing meaningful pursuits outside of work so you always have something to look forward to, allowing you to more easily ignore any side eye from colleagues when you promptly leave at the end of the workday.

3. Take your breaks

Research shows that short and frequent breaks help with overall stamina and even to reduce minor aches and pains associated with long periods of sitting. Moreover, breaks can help spark creative thinking, allowing you to find unique ways to problem solve and perform your job better.

Trying different techniques can help provide some structure if you are not used to taking regular breaks, while helping to increase your focus on a given task. Even something small like not eating your lunch at your desk once a week can help ease stress when you’re feeling overworked.

4. Socialize with your colleagues

It might be tempting if you have an ever growing pile of work to hunker down with your headphones on and not acknowledge any of your coworkers but this type of mindset is counterproductive in the long run. Not only do employees with weak social ties have much higher mortality rates, they also report feeling less happy in the workplace.

Fast-paced and challenging work environments call for greater outlets to release stress. A weekly social lunch with colleagues or writing a simple thank you note can help make your job more enjoyable and feel less hectic even if your overall hours do not change.

“I absolutely love to relax and have fun. I like socializing; I like chatting. I like dancing, mixing with friends.” – Gwendoline Christie

5. Invest in professional development

According to a study of working-age Millennials, the number one source of frustration in the workplace is a lack of company support for training and professional development. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work on your plate, taking a seminar or an evening class may seem impossible, but it can provide an excellent outlet away from the daily grind of your 9 to 5.

Furthermore, gaining additional skills may boost your overall productivity and may make you a more attractive candidate come promotion time or if you decide to take your talents elsewhere.

The average person will spend close to 10 years of their life at work, which may feel like much more if you’re overworked and overstressed, but even small changes can have a huge impact on your wellbeing at the end of the day.

How do you stay sane when work seems like it will never end? Please leave your thoughts below!

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If Your Work/Life Balance is Out of Tune Here’s What to Do

When we don’t find a healthy work/life balance, our personal lives may fall out of tune



work life balance
Image Credit: Midjourney

It’s easy to get stuck in the grind, especially when it comes to work. You want to get ahead, find success and can almost feel a ‘high’ or sense of ‘keeping up with everyone else’ when you work hard. And while working hard is admirable, it may not always be healthy. (more…)

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Escaping the “Perfect” Trap: How to Find Freedom and Fulfillment

Our desire and need for perfection is a belief, not the truth. 



Image Credit: Midjourney

The perfect trap.

“If I’m perfect, no one can ever criticize me.”  (more…)

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Your Life, Your Ship: How to Captain Your Journey to Self-Fulfillment

Just as a ship’s captain determines its course and destination, you have the power to shape your life’s path



Image Credit: Midjourney

Life is often compared to a journey, and in this grand expedition, you are the captain of your ship. Just as a ship’s captain determines its course and destination, you have the power to shape your life’s path and steer it towards fulfillment. (more…)

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How to Combine Stoic and Minimalist Principles for Optimal Living

By embracing Stoicism’s wisdom and Minimalism’s clarity, we can create a life that is truly meaningful



Image Credit: Midjourney

In our fast-paced, the principles of Stoicism and Minimalism have emerged as beacons of clarity and wisdom. These philosophies, while distinct in their approaches, share a common goal: to simplify our lives and cultivate a sense of purpose and contentment.

In this article, we will explore the great impact of Stoicism and Minimalism on our lives and the transformative benefits of incorporating them into our daily lives.

The Essence of Stoicism

Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium around 300 BCE. It teaches us to focus on what we can control and accept what we cannot. At its core, Stoicism is about cultivating resilience, wisdom, and inner peace in the face of life’s challenges.

Emotional Resilience

Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge and regulate our emotions. By practicing emotional detachment and rational thinking, we can better navigate the ups and downs of life. When we understand that external events are beyond our control, we learn to channel our energy into mastering our reactions.

Living in the Present

Stoicism encourages us to live in the present moment. By letting go of regrets about the past and anxieties about the future, we find contentment in the here and now. This mindfulness fosters a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures of life.

Freedom through Simplicity

Stoicism’s emphasis on minimalism is evident in its approach to material possessions. By reducing our attachment to material things, we free ourselves from the burden of constant desire. This freedom allows us to focus on what truly matters: our character, virtues, and relationships.

“Stoicism teaches that we can’t control or rely on anything outside what Epictetus called our “reasoned choice” – our ability to use our reason to choose how we categorize, respond, and reorient ourselves to external events.” — Ryan Holiday

The Essence of Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle philosophy that gained popularity in recent years. It advocates for simplifying our lives by decluttering both physical possessions and mental distractions. Minimalism is not about deprivation but rather about focusing on what adds value and meaning to our lives.

Clarity and Purpose

Minimalism helps us cut through the noise of consumerism and endless distractions. By decluttering our physical and digital spaces, we create room for clarity and purpose. We can better identify what truly matters and allocate our time and energy accordingly.

Reduced Stress and Overwhelm

In a world filled with constant stimuli, minimalism offers a refuge from the overwhelming influx of information and material possessions. Simplifying our environment and commitments reduces stress and fosters a sense of calm and tranquility.

Financial Freedom

Minimalism often leads to more mindful spending. By prioritizing needs over wants, we can save money, pay off debt, and achieve financial freedom. This financial stability provides peace of mind and opens up opportunities for experiences that enrich our lives.

The Synergy of Stoicism and Minimalism

While Stoicism and Minimalism are distinct philosophies, they complement each other beautifully, creating a powerful synergy that can transform our lives.

Cultivating Resilience

Stoicism’s emphasis on emotional resilience helps us navigate the challenges of adopting a minimalist lifestyle. When we encounter resistance to letting go of possessions or simplifying our lives, Stoic principles can guide us through the process with patience and fortitude.

Prioritizing What Truly Matters

Together, these philosophies encourage us to prioritize what truly matters in life. We learn to let go of the unnecessary distractions and material possessions that weigh us down, allowing us to focus on relationships, personal growth, and experiences that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Finding Contentment

The goal of Stoicism and Minimalism is to find contentment and inner peace. By embracing these philosophies, we can escape the cycle of constant desire and comparison that often leads to discontentment. Instead, we find contentment in the present moment and in the simplicity of our lives.

Practical Steps to Embrace Stoicism and Minimalism

  1. Start with Self-Awareness: Reflect on your values and priorities. What truly matters to you? What possessions or distractions no longer align with these values?
  2. Declutter Mindfully: Begin by decluttering your physical space. Donate, sell, or recycle items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy. Gradually extend this process to your digital life and commitments.
  3. Practice Stoic Principles: Study Stoic philosophy and incorporate its principles into your daily life. Learn to differentiate between what’s within your control and what isn’t. Practice emotional resilience and mindfulness.
  4. Set Minimalist Goals: Set specific minimalist goals, such as reducing your wardrobe or cutting back on digital screen time. Start small and gradually expand your minimalist practices.
  5. Seek Support: Join minimalist or Stoic communities, both online and offline, to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and support on your journey.

The impact of Stoicism and Minimalism on our lives cannot be overstated. These philosophies guide us toward emotional resilience, simplicity, and contentment in an increasingly complex world. By embracing Stoicism’s wisdom and Minimalism’s clarity, we can create a life that is truly meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling.

Remember that the journey toward a more Stoic and minimalist existence is a lifelong one, filled with growth and self-discovery, but the rewards are boundless—a life rich in meaning, wisdom, and inner peace.

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