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How to stop overdoing

I have waited a month to write about this extraordinary book, Do Nothing (by @celesteheadlee) just in case the changes I made didn’t stick. My brother has accused me of calling too many things breathtaking… He’s not wrong.

But we’re a month into the new working year, and my life is better than it was before, so I wanted to share both the book and the changes I’ve made in case they work for you…

I read this book in the holidays, when I was doing what I love the most – lying down reading, eating homemade ice cream, swimming, hanging with my family… I wanted more of *that* energy in everyday life. But, you know, kids and school and work and and and.

So I put measures in place – largely inspired by the depth of historical and scientific evidence presented for why we all (all!) seem to believe that working hard makes us better people. (Even if we work for ourselves! Even if we know we’re more productive when we work fewer hours!)

The changes are largely in attitude and understanding – recognizing that my mind also needs rest, and that after a period of activity it needs to *chill*, not scroll through Instagram (ahem). Realizing that the To Do list is never ending, and that’s fine – that’s its purpose. I don’t have to believe it’s important to get to the end of it. Deeply accepting that choosing joy is more important than choosing productivity (easy to say, hard to practice).

So what does it look like, in practice? Yoga, two mornings a week – even though it means I start work much later. Only checking my email twice a day (10am and 2pm), to allow for chunks of focused work. No notifications at all on my phone (not even WhatsApp) so I’m not constantly task-switching. And stopping work when my body and mind say I’m tired, regardless what the clock says.

This last one is the hardest for me, and a work in progress. But on the days I step away from my computer and spend time in the garden, or reading, or with my kids, I feel so much better than on the days I ‘push through’ and do uninspired, pencil-pushing work because I’m too tired for anything more.

What do you think? Are we all guilty of overworking, overdoing and underliving, or are you doing okay?

Published inInspiring

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