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Episode 23 – Why You Need to Stop Being an Overachiever

In this episode of Recovering Corpoholic, we are going to talk about why you need to stop being an overachiever at work if you’re on the job hunt/ trying to change careers.

Find the full show notes to this episode at Recovering


Whether you are productive at work or not, you will still get paid your normal salary at your 9-5. Therefore, unless you want to be promoted, there is no reason to work more than you have to. AKA Stop overachieving!


Some of you feel the need to go above and beyond, and that’s OK. However, if you’re looking to change careers or start your own business, you’re going to need to find the time to work on that.


Time that you might be spending on side projects that aren’t helping you get to where you want to be. 


You might be thinking, “I can’t do that! I’m an overachiever and I love going above and beyond”. Let me clarify… I’m  not telling you to not do your job, because you should still do your job well.


All I am saying is to shoot for a solid B and not try for all As. Just like a pass/ fail class, you'll still pass. 


So if you want to find more time in your day, here are 6 ways you can start working less at work so you can spend more time doing what you want. 


Start Saying No

If you want to free up time at work, the first tip I have for you is to start saying no to the things that aren’t part of your job. Because the more you say no, the more time you’ll free up for the things you want to say Yes to. 


Can you help on a proposal? If you’re on a project then the answer is no. If you’re asked if you  can help with recruiting or some other thing that isn’t part of the job description, then the answer is no. Get good at saying no!


I know it seems easier said than done and may not be as some people are very persistent so start thinking about how you can say no. 


For example: “Hi Bob, I’d love to help but I have a full workload right now and don’t have the capacity. Could I reach out to you in the next couple weeks when things settle down?”


Or “Hi Bob, I have a lot of project work I need to catch up on and I have some family things I am dealing with at the moment? Can we catch up in a week or two? I’d really appreciate it.”


Whatever you want to say is fine, but just have something in mind so you’re not trying to come up with something on the fly and saying something that doesn’t make sense. Like, “sorry I have to feed my cat? What, sorry I guess I can…”


That may be a very corny example but sometimes when you're nervous you say things you don't want to say so just be prepared with how you're going to say no.


It could be as simple as saying “Sorry I can’t work on that right now” but you also want to be a team player so just find the balance that works for you.


Protect your time

For the second tip, I want you to start protecting your time. Stop going into the office early, stop working late. Stop skipping lunch breaks. Stop working on something to make it perfect when it’s fine the way it is. 


Be smarter about how you do things aka plan ahead

The third tip I have is to be smart about how you plan your day. Instead of getting to work and thinking, what should I be doing, take the time to be more diligent and know exactly what you’re working on first. 


Whether it's planning your week or the night before for the next day, start being smarter about how you can get right to work. Know what needs to get done and where you have time to spend on the things you want.


Overestimate the time it takes you to do something

And related to that, the next tip I have is to start overestimating your time.


I know this sounds silly but usually when we are given a task, we want to show we are the best and super efficient that we can do the task in no time. And no time may be pulling an all nighter and pretending we did it in 2 hours. 


However, now, I want you to think about the real time it takes you to do something and then multiply that time by 2-3 times and then respond with that.


This way, you don’t have to put your life on hold in order to get something done. You’ll also be less stressed and that’s always a win.


Stop offering suggestions

The fifth tip I have is to stop offering suggestions. Why? Because usually the person who offers a suggestion is the person who has to lead them. 


Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t contribute in a meeting, because you should - it’s part of your job. However, when there is something that needs to be fixed or a side project, let someone else take the lead. 


Over Communicate 

So all of the tips mentioned above are things to help you free up your time for what you want. However, one thing you may be thinking is - “how do I play it cool and not have people thinking I may be leaving”. 


The answer is by overcommuniting. This way, people will have no idea what you are up to as you are always the first one responding to things and always in the loop. Responding timely shows you care. 


Now this is not writing a novel for each email you get, this is just being quick, friendly and straight to the point. 


Now, you don't need to respond to emails not addressed to you, unless you want to and show you're involved somehow, but know that going above and beyond is something you don’t have to do anymore. 


Just to sum up today's episode, if you want to have more time to do the things you want, stop being an overachiever. Still get the job done but dont go above and beyond.


This way you’ll have the time to work on all those things that are going to get you to the next level in your career that you are going to love.


That’s all I have for today’s episode. 

Stay inspired and live powerfully!


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