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Are You Addicted to Being Productive?

career Jan 03, 2018

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Let’s face it, when we accomplish something, we feel good.  Who doesn’t enjoy crossing something off their list?  This may seem like common sense but what may surprise you is that going for the “feel good” of accomplishment can actually start to become an addiction.  A pretty bold assertion, so what exactly do we mean?

Not only do we feel good when we accomplish something, but also being capable of producing so much typically results in acknowledgement from others, which feels even better.  Although both giving and receiving acknowledgement feels good, it can be a slippery slope when our self worth, how we feel valued, and maybe even a part of our identity can become attached to receiving this acknowledgement.  We may become a bottomless pit, always looking to accomplish more and more in order to feel important and fulfilled in our life.  

Are you sacrificing your true self? 

Now that you have some more awareness about one potential reason you are in action all the time, let’s take a look at what it’s costing you to be so focused on doing and producing.   What would you be doing with your precious time if you could feel that you are enough just as you are and just as you are not, with acknowledgement from others and without?  What would shift for you?  

If this resonates with you, it’s time to get real with yourself to break the addiction cycle.

Tips for breaking the cycle

If your current way of operating has you feeling like a hamster on a hamster wheel, trying to get it all done, here are some tips to break the cycle:

1. Build your “self-worth muscle”.  The automatic voice in our minds have a lot to do with how we think about ourselves.  We call this voice your Inner Critic, and when left unchecked, can wreak havoc on our self worth.  Check out Golden Resource's website here for some great book recommendations, videos and insights from thought leaders.  Building this muscle, like your triceps and biceps takes time, commitment and repetition.  Knowing how to stop giving your Inner Critic the power allows you to gain clarity about what you want personally and professionally, and sets the direction for what comes next.  

2. Get crystal clear on your goals, and what you believe these goals will provide for you.  Are some of your goals really ways to fix and change yourself?   Might these goals be stemming from your Inner Critic, and not from your Authentic Self?  Let go of the “quick fix” goals, and find clarity of the empowering goals that will really support your true life satisfaction.  
Create ways to “re-presence” yourself to  your empowering goals every day ( i.e. Vision board, pictures around the house to remind you, etc.)

3. Be intentional daily by identifying the top 2 things you are committed to producing in line with your empowering goals and figure out how to arrange your calendar accordingly.  
Notice when the urge to check something off your “to-do” list shows-up.  Ask yourself what’s behind it the urge.  Ask yourself if it is really the voice of your Inner Critic trying to perfect, fix, or control some area of life so that you can feel worthy?  Are you in need of some acknowledgement?  If yes then ask for it from someone in your inner circle!  Or will checking something off the list truly give you energy to focus on the more important commitments of the day?

Breaking the addiction to being productive is a marathon not a sprint and takes practice and commitment.  When we learn what is truly behind this addiction, and learn to take ownership of the habitual ways we think about our career and life, the payoff is enormous and could impact every area of your life.     

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