What’s the difference between overwork and commitment to the cause?



When the workload increases, you work harder – so far so good, but what if the workload keeps increasing or it is just set at a level that no amount of hard work will ever see you shift the work?

Faced with too much work, most people just put in more hours. It looks like commitment and dedication, but it feels like drowning or being on the hamster wheel with no way out.

Working towards a bigger goal such as Sustainability can make the overwork/ overwhelm cycle even more prevalent.

Do you feel torn? You want to introduce a significant new programme and achieve some ambitious goals to ensure your company is reducing its environmental impact and you also want to be there when your kids get in from school and cook a proper meal instead of just pasta, again.

Or maybe you always make it to the school gates but can’t find a way round getting the laptop out again in the evening to try and finish off the day’s work.

If this is you then I’m sure you’ve tried to fix your problem and I wonder what you’ve tried – time management course? prioritisation tools? segmenting the day? turning off email?

In my experience these only have limited success because they are only tackling the symptoms not the problem.

If you can identify the cause and fix that then the symptoms are easy to cure.

One of the common causes is not being completely sure of your “WHY”

If you’re like most people you have probably muddled through life, following your instincts, taking opportunities that presented themselves. Not everything has been planned, some decisions may almost have been taken for you or been a compromise.

As a result of all those choices you are where you are, so you may have lost touch with your Why.

Here are some questions I use with my clients to unlock their why and they are not just for work but to the whole mix of work, leisure, family and other commitments.

  • Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Why are you trying to achieve it?

When you’ve answered those three questions honestly you can look at each part of your life and ask the questions again.

You’ll probably find some things you’re doing that are ‘nice to have’s’ or that you are doing because someone else thinks you should, or you thought you should, but they don’t really fit in with YOUR WHY

Get clear on your why, not what you think your why should be or what you thought your why was, but what it actually is.

What is your reason for doing what you do and living as you live?

Once you know your why, go for it, that’s what you’re here for, anything that doesn’t fit in is a distraction. Anything that has been forgotten needs to be put back in.

When you’re clear of your Why, your What to do becomes clearer and above all your ‘What not to do’ can be singled out and stopped/ delegated or put on hold.

Were you hoping for an easy answer? Coaching questions and solutions can be quick but they are often challenging. They get to the route of the problem rather than tinkering with the symptoms.

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