Are You Working Too Much?

Posted by dianne on Nov 20, 2011 in Newsletters | | No comment

Do you operate on the principle that you have to finish all your work before you allow yourself to play? Apparently this is a gift handed down in the United States from our Puritan founders. The problem with this thinking is that there is no such thing as “finished” where work is concerned. With voice mail, the internet and e-mail, we can work anywhere any time. And if we should happen to look up from our career-type work, we can usually see chores around us waiting to be done.

In the last couple of years both government and business employees across the United States have been asked to take Furlough Days from work to avoid layoffs. You might wonder how a furlough day differs from any other day off from work. Well, the first difference is that it is an unpaid day off. But to me the bigger difference is that you are not allowed to do any work on a furlough day. That means you can’t call to talk to any co-workers, you can’t check email or voice mails, you can’t join a teleconference, and you can’t work on your work at home. (I don’t know how they can enforce not working at home, but I’ll play along.) I think that if it only happened once in a while and you could still pay the bills, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

As it is, our 24/7 accessibility has caused us to become addicted to communication and made us feel indispensable. When we do manage to take a sick day, personal day or vacation day, we feel obligated to check in via phone or email just in case something at work needs our attention.   A lot of us have forgotten how to play altogether.

So for the sake of those who fire up their computers and start working just because they can’t think of anything else to do, here is a list of things to do instead of working:

  • Go to a movie.
  • Work a puzzle.
  • Hit a bucket of golf balls.
  • Jog.
  • Call a friend.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Sit outside.
  • Invite a neighbor over for coffee.
  • Clean the gutters. (Oops – that chore just jumped in there without permission.)
  • Meet a friend for lunch.
  • Browse an antique shop.
  • Walk a dog.
  • Swim.
  • Go to a large book store and look at the unusual magazines for sale.
  • Go to an exercise class.
  • Bake.
  • Browse a craft store.
  • Try a craft you’ve never done before.
  • Wander through a botanical garden.
  • Memorize a poem. (When was the last time you did that?)
  • Sing.
  • Make a collage.Email with your favorite thing to do when you’re not working.

Studies have shown that people who regularly — as in weekly — take time to relax, play and feed their spirits, are happier, healthier and more productive than those who just keep working.

If you would like to use this article, you are welcome to do so as long as you include this credit:

By Dianne Morr, professional speaker and author of Ice the Burnout! 20 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Better. As a ghost writer, writing coach, editor and book shepherd, Dianne can help you take your writing project from wherever it is to DONE.

Big Source of Stress: You!

Debbie Bowie

I have gotten into the habit of working on my computer in the early morning hours before I shower and get ready for work. I work very well at that time of day, particularly with writing projects. The down side of that habit is that I have a really hard time making myself stop with enough time to get my morning grooming done. I’m not a procrastinator by nature, but I procrastinate about getting off the computer. Part of the problem is that I have such a high need for closure that I keep trying to finish things I’m working on. Then I run around like a wild woman at the last minute getting ready to leave home with sufficient time to get to my first appointment. Today it occurred to me that my habit is causing me to feel stressed, and that’s no way to start my day!

Stress has been identified as a major factor in illness and aging. Some stressors are difficult to do anything about, like the economy, pollution, and political unrest. But, today I became really conscious of the fact that I am one source of the stress I have been experiencing. I can do something about that stress!

Here are some other ways I create stress in my life:

I put off filling my gas tank until it’s almost empty. The remedy for that would be to make it my practice to treat the 1/4 tank level as empty and fill up when I reach that level.I sometimes assume I know the location of a client’s home without checking well in advance to see if I am really correct in my thinking. Then, when I’m wrong I am scrambling around at the last minute.I have a hunch that a client might cancel and don’t call to confirm the appointment. So often my sixth sense is correct and the client has either forgotten the appointment or cancels at the last minute. That late cancellation leaves me with no option to fill the time slot with another paying client.I put off talking to my husband about a difficult issue or decision and feel unsettled and anxious in anticipation of that conversation.

I could find more examples, but you get the point. I have been causing my own stress! If I cause it, I can eliminate it! I’m in charge of my actions! So, starting Monday I commit to getting off the computer a full half hour before I have to leave the house. Once I’ve created a new habit with my morning routine, I’ll tackle the gas tank issue.

In what ways are you creating your own stress? Are you avoiding dealing with the avalanche of paper coming into your home on a daily basis? Are you leaving your house in a mess when you leave for work in the morning? Do you run late for all your appointments? The good news is that if you cause it you can stop it! Go for it! Address one self-imposed stressor at a time and reclaim a life of peace and pleasure!

Guest article by Debbie Bowie,, professional speaker, Certified Professional Organizer®, feng shui practitioner  and author of Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Performance on a Daily Basis. For more information about Debbie and her services, go to

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