You’re working late every night this week. The take out containers are starting to pile up like a leaning tower of Kung Pao Chicken, Pho and sandwich wrappers. You’ve foregone drying your hair in the morning to get just 5 extra minutes of work done. This project means everything to you and you are not going to let it fail.
The problem is, right now, you’re trying so hard, that you may cause it to fail. On occasion, we push ourselves too hard in our job. Either we get put in charge of too many projects or we take on something impossibly large. A project too big for one person that you’re handling by yourself. Very few people can keep up this behavior for too long, before their work starts to suffer, and the project you’ve worked so hard to make brilliant becomes something you can barely do anymore. Don’t let this happen to you! Here are some tips on just letting go.
Set a time limit. You’re a professional. At this point in your career, you should know how to fairly accurately estimate the amount of time an assigned project will take. Based on that number, budget your time every day. When you’ve exceeded you time limit, step away from the work pile. Don’t allow yourself to pick the work back up until tomorrow.
Take a bath. I know this may seem like a silly suggestion, but there is something about baths that just seem to slow everything down. There’s a whole ritual to slowly drawing the bath and lounging in the warm water. You’re getting relaxed just reading this, aren’t you? Taking the time to pamper yourself a little bit helps you relax and take some moment for yourself. While you’re in the tub, imagine all that worry and stress washing right off you and going down the drain when you pull the plug.
Watch a movie. No, I don’t mean pop a DVD in the player; I mean go out to a theater and watch a movie. It will take your mind off work, if only for a couple hours, and it will get you out of the house and/or office and make it impossible for you to do work while you watch the movie.
Spend time with non-work friends. We spend so much time at work that many of our coworkers become our close friends. The problem is you start talking about almost nothing but work when you all go out. One night a week, take time to go out with friends that you don’t know from work. You’ll have time to catch up on lives instead of projects and deadlines and you’ll get your mind off every little detail of your project.
Letting go is never easy, but if you take the time in your day to do other things besides obsess over work or one project, you’ll find renewed energy for your job at work, resulting in a much better outcome.
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