A client had been struggling with getting her head back in the game after a huge event that wrapped her peak season. Not long after a session in which we were attacking her mounting anxiety and stress about her issues with focus and motivation, I received an email from her, all excited about how she was so relieved to be back on her work game at “150%!”

Y’all know that’s not actually a thing, right?

To define terms, ‘per cent’ specifically means one out of a hundred. In mathematics, percentages are used to describe parts of a whole – the whole being made up of a hundred equal parts. The most ‘percent’ you can work at any thing? Yup, 100%.

Even more important to my point, whenever a client says they’re doing more than 100% in any area of their life–whether it’s work or a different area, my alarm bells automatically start firing. It’s basically a huge clue that someone is overdoing something. Too much of anything is, exactly that, TOO MUCH.

It’s what I refer to as an overcorrection, and can lead to overwhelm, exhaustion and/or mistakes in other areas of our lives. These overcorrections are fueled by guilt and shame. The sneaky voice in your head can sound like ‘I’m not getting enough done at work, I’ll bring it home and I won’t read the mail/pay the bills/do the dishes/fold the laundry/fill in the blank until I finish this project/those emails/my expense report/fill in the blank.’ In my client’s case, going at her work 150% actually resulted in important household related items going unattended to and created a huge mess to clean up. ACK.

My client had no idea that this was her pattern when she became overwhelmed, and working together we were able to craft new and improved tools that were tailor made for her. There are lots of ways to try and reboot and jump back into work – but over-doing it is hardly ever the helpful answer. Here are three ways to try to combat over-doing tendencies.

  • Make sure your project isn’t too big and unwieldy. If it is, break it down into actionable bits!
  • Especially when lacking motivation, set a timer to work on a specific action item, and establish a reward system for yourself getting that block of work done.
  • Change your environment or routine. Mixing up even the way your chair is facing can work wonders.

Do you find yourself working 150% in some areas and -50% in others? Let me know about your over-correcting tendencies! 

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