Getting Things Done
It's great to be an achiever, to get things done, until it becomes OVER-achieving and the process becomes stressful and loses its flare.
The irony is that achievement begets a desire for greater achievement. It requires you to set the bar higher, to do more and do it better. You lose track of what you were achieving in the race to get things done. The reward becomes a slave driver instead of a challenge. The process becomes a chore instead of a high.
Anyone who comes from a demanding family, went to a tough school or worked in a fast-paced job knows this inherently. What leads to success also lead to stress. No pain, no gain right? Sound familiar?
How do you stop the "over" and keep the "achieving"?
More Input ≠ More Output
The old adage of work smarter, not harder applies here. How? Achievement acts like any addictive behavior in that it reinforces itself. Once you have achieved a goal, the reward for the next goal must provide a greater sense of achievement. This upward trend is not sustainable though. When have you achieved enough to stop? When can you take a break?
Redirecting Your Energy
Recognizing when the marginal change for a given project becomes negative allows you to shift your energy to a project where the marginal change is much more positive. A leisure activity to break the routine, another fun project like getting in shape for a 5K or learning to play an instrument or reading David McCollough's 752-pg biography of John Adams are but a few ideas.
A break creates eustress opportunities that keep you fresh for the original task that became stale due to over-doing. No need to reset, but rather redirect focus to another area that lights you up. Interests you and moves you. Excitement is contagious and will spread not only to others but also to yourself and your other projects or the original project you put off.
Try it out and share your thoughts!