Do you ever feel overwhelmed at work? Bombarded by tasks flying in from other people, quick emergencies that require immediate attention, urgent projects that require you to drop everything?
At some point in our lives, if you have a corporate job, you’ve been there. If you’re a high-achiever, you roll with the punches and just get things done to be great at what you do. But how does this make you feel?
If you’re an introvert, you’ve likely been overwhelmed by the shear chaos and expectation to deliver a high volume of half-assed work in a short period of time - leading to pure frustration.
Burnout Is Hurting Us
A 2019 Gallup survey on Employee Burnout showed that 67% of employees are sometimes, very often or always burned out at work. On top of that, the survey results stated that burned-out employees are 23% more likely to visit the emergency room.
Stress can hurt our health and our psyche. It’s such a common feeling, so what are key factors that drive burnout and dissatisfaction? The answer is different for many people. However, when we always do what other people want versus thinking for ourselves, our happiness levels decrease.
Shift To An Owner's Mentality
Going into a reactionary state day after day starts to frame our minds from a victim’s perspective more than an owner. What’s the difference?
An owner feels as though they have control over their life and what they do. They choose the actions they take and take ownership of those choices. Victims are existing in the world as though life happens to them. They aren’t making things happen, they are reacting to what’s happening around them.
This takes you back to the corporate example with multiple projects and directives from people you work with. If you spend your day reacting to everything, how do you proactively become an owner?
Awareness Drives Change
Start by being aware of your behavior – know if you are falling prey to the victim mentality. For myself, I noticed some nasty habits forming no matter where I worked. I had this overwhelming desire to find success and would give too much of my time and energy doing nothing but the tasks that others required of me.
Within a few months on any job, I would feel broken, exhausted, angry and resentful. Stress was hurting my health through body pains and lack of sleep. After observing these feelings and noticing when they would flair up most, I started to see they were driven by a lack of ownership and autonomy in my daily work.
As part of having day jobs, it is our responsibility to complete our jobs and help our team succeed. This means having to do what others tell us and instantly reacting to urgent requests. This won’t change unless you change. You have the power to control how you feel and react in these situations.
A Daily Practice To Own Your Time
I began a new daily practice where I would ask myself, for the first 1-2 hours what’s one task or project I would like to progress today to become a better expert on the job or push forward a major deliverable. Then I choose.
This replaces the action of arriving at work and instantly jumping into email to see what others are going to ask us. This replaces the action of reacting to emergency items that may not help the company grow. When you apply 1 to 2 hours of focused work toward a long-term project with the ability to impact the company, that feels good. Why? Because it’s impactful and YOU had ownership of your priorities that day.
It’s one step that tells your subconscious you’ve progressed an important task because you took the initiative. It takes away a day filled with reacting and transforms it into a day that starts on your terms.
Progress Makes You Happier
One task of your choosing is all it takes to start the day feeling like you’re in the driver’s seat. The tasks that pop up afterwards, won’t be as aggravating because you’ve already achieved something for yourself.
Try this today at work or in your personal life – notice how accomplished you feel when you start each day with a task you’ve chosen instead of always letting others choose for you.
How has that changed your perspective? Do you feel like more of an owner in your life and your career? Do the reactive tasks matter less because you’ve started your day with ownership? This was my personal experience, I’d love to hear more about yours.
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