5 Tips to Stop Playing SuperHero at Work

5 Tips to Stop Playing SuperHero at Work

Everyone is busy. Multi-tasking is the new normal and distracted is the typical state of mind.  You probably have a ‘to do’ list with more items on it than you can achieve in the course of a day. Listen in on conversations; you will hear people complain about how much they have to do both at home and at work.

Are you tensing up even before you get to work? Do you dread walking through the door? You might be suffering from super hero syndrome and overwhelm. If you have been taking on more work or feeling like you carry the responsibility of the whole department, it is time to find a new perspective. Besides you are setting yourself up for chronic stress; the consequences include multiple physical and emotional symptoms like high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic urgency, frequent colds, irritable bowel and other gut issues.

Here are a few tips to stop being the super hero at work and getting control over your time.

  1. Be honest with yourself about what you can (really) handle.

If you are the type to give it your all every day, you might need to learn the difference between pushing yourself to the limit and pushing yourself over the edge.  Know that your “100%” changes from day to day and with situations and jobs. It is important to know how much juice you have available and then make the critical decision about how much you need for yourself and what is most in line with your highest priorities.

Do you know what the most important thing is that you should be focusing on? This is part of the fall out from chronic stress, a lack of clarity due to the chronic sense of urgency.

This takes us to the second tip.

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes every day to plan.

 Keeping a written plan will help you stay focused when distractions creep in to take over your day. Use your plan to get you back in alignment with what is most important.

Set a timer, enter this planning time into your calendar and turn off your phone, close the door and give yourself 10 minutes. Deep breathe, take a sip of water and then think about what is most important for you to work on. Write it out.

     3. Ask for help! (It is actually empowerment in disguise)

 John Donne, a 17th-century British poet, famously wrote, “No man is an island.” I have to repeat this mantra to myself often because I’m a very independent person, especially when it comes to work. However, I’ve learned over the years that you can’t be a lone ranger. You need your co-workers; learn to work as part of a team.

Learn to delegate things that may help other people stretch and grow. Is there someone who needs a challenge or practice doing something or perhaps needs to feel more valued?  Have them help you get things done.  Anytime you can help someone else grow, it is a win – win-win for you, the individual and the company.

  1. Take time OFF!

Now more than ever, US workers are refusing to take their vacation days. This could be for a variety of reasons. Some may feel like they will lose respect if they take time away from their work or that someone might step in and take over while they’re gone. Others might feel like they don’t have a choice, that if they took even a single day off they would fall even farther behind than they already are.

The US Travel Association reports that in the year 2014, 169 million vacation days went unused, resulting in approximately $52.4 billion of benefits lost. It also reported that 28% of workers stayed at work to prove their dedication to the job, and 40% were too intimidated by the pile of work they would have on their desks when they returned.

Take your time off; you’ve earned that. Not only that, but use your vacation time for vacation. The root word of “vacation” is “vacate.” Vacate your position during this time—no email, no phone calls, no part of your mind left at the office!

  1. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Say No to your inner Super Hero! 

 You were hired to do a certain job. Do you often find yourself doing other people’s jobs, too?

While it’s important to accept delegation and be a team player, you don’t have to be a pushover. Learn how to say no. This can be difficult for people who are “nice” and “helpful.” These people feel compelled to “swoop in and save people.” The need to maintain this image can drag you straight into overwhelm if you don’t know how to say no when necessary.

Is guilt the only emotion driving your decisions? Knowing what is important and in line with your ultimate goals will help you focus. Super Heroes are usually looking for approval in all the wrong places, hoping someone will tell them they are “good enough.”

And this is usually not even a conscious thought, making it harder to change! If you are addicted to being busy or maybe, addicted to approval, you would benefit from developing self awareness. What is really going on underneath your super hero cape?

Overwhelm is the result of not identifying emotions and having them bottleneck, creating a sense of pressure, confusion and even chaos. There are many options available to tune out distraction and tune into you.

Looking for a PROVEN approach to breakthrough the noise of stress, tension and distraction? Check out our power program, at the Work Smart Club!

The Work Smart Club

is an online center for Work & Well-being with short training you can consume on the go as well as courses that dive deeper into the subject.  Membership is a great value!


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5 Tips to Stop Playing SuperHero at Work

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Dr. Cynthia Howard

Executive Coach  Performance Consultant  LSSBB

It takes resilience and agility to stay focused in these disruptive times. We want to help you get ahead of the challenges in this digital age with short practical tips. Go forward. Be your best

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