Don't Be The Hardest Worker
While you’re staying late every night, your manager is probably wondering why you need so much longer on your work than everyone else. Are you not as smart, not as organised or under too much pressure?
Whether you’re chasing promotion, are genuinely struggling or are in denial, here are our alternative mantras to burning the midnight oil.
Work smart, not hard
Just ploughing through with your head down is neither the quickest or the smartest way to work. If you lift your head up and work strategically you will often find you don’t need to work late after all.
Prioritise your tasks, focus on quick wins and business critical projects, and push back the medium and longer term projects for a month or so down the line. Plan your daily, weekly and monthly activity so you can ensure your work load fits into your work week.
Maybe you’re working harder because you are actually struggling. Whether it’s the volume, content or nature of the work, you don’t have to work through lunch and stay late to get it done. Your manager is there for a reason.
Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help. Your company will much prefer you asking than struggling on and potentially missing deadlines or getting things wrong. They’d also rather you didn’t have a nervous break down.
Breaks are your friends
As tech and recruitment entrepreneur Penelope Trunk says, “Don’t tell yourself that you work nonstop because you love your work: If you really loved your work, you’d take a break so you don’t mess it up.”
You need breaks to recharge your brain and maintain your edge. Rather than sitting at your desk during lunch, go outside, feel the sun on your face and come back more efficient. You’ll probably find that many of your best ideas come when you’ve not got your nose to the grind stone.
This applies to job hunting too
Whether you’re in work or out of work, most of us work too hard at job hunting. You can spend all day refreshing LinkedIn or just check it once in the evening; the same number of jobs will have been posted.
Working too hard at job hunting can lead to mental fatigue and a defeatist attitude, especially if you’re getting desperate. Just like at work, hunt smart, ask for help from your consultant and take breaks.
Now we're not saying that you shouldn't want or try to work hard. Indeed a strong work ethic will take you a long way in life... but you must have balance.
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