Are you busier than you need to be?

Busy. People are busy. Professionally overwhelmed and overworked. Personally, not meeting responsibilities. Self-care? What’s that? Stress, fatigue, and frustration kick into high gear and with no roadmap for change, busy people remain busy.

Take Avery for example, a senior level attorney at a large law firm. She worked 60+ hours a week, arrived home shortly before her toddlers’ bedtime and rushed through dinners with her partner before going back to work. Avery went to bed late, woke up early…repeat.  

Struggling to meet deadlines and wanting a better work-life balance, she recognized change was necessary. Avery and I began working together in a professional coaching relationship, and soon after she realized how her aversion to confrontation and automatic desire to be helpful contributed to these challenges. In lieu of sending incorrect and incomplete documents back to her associate attorneys, Avery spent hours of her own time doing the work herself. Avery also proudly made herself available to answer questions and talk through client challenges whenever colleagues were in need.

Realizing now how these behaviors were cyclical patterns that contributed to several hours of additional work each week, Avery was motivated to address her tendency to avoid anything she thought might be uncomfortable and considered alternate ways of being helpful. She overcame both by communicating clearly and respectfully what work needed to be completed or corrected and asked people to schedule meetings with her if they wanted more than just a few minutes of her time.

Avery’s efforts yielded many positive changes and she now has a better work-life balance. She no longer volunteers to do other people’s work and is relieved that her colleagues followed through with her meeting requests. She finishes far more of her work responsibilities while at work and is home at least two nights a week for family dinners. Avery is thrilled about having more quality time with her kids and no longer works at home every night. She attends weekly yoga classes, is reading more books, and relaxes in the evenings with her partner as they catch up on their favorite shows.   

Avery is still busy, yes, but with her new personal roadmap, she is no longer busier than she needs to be.  

Are you busier than you need to be? Doing other people’s work? Please share your thoughts.