Let me let you in on a little secret…. It takes a lot of hard work to get somewhere in this world, to create the career you’ve always dreamed of.
To experience success in anything, you usually have to take the path of most resistance. Oftentimes as you do so, you’ll get so focused in your determination that you develop tunnel vision. You become consumed with reaching your goal that everything you do has to be related somehow to that… right? Wrong.
I’ve learned that ambition ironically becomes the main thing that can sabotage your chances for success.
If you’re feeling physically or mentally burned out, there comes a point where you have to ask yourself, Is my career ambition taking over my life?
Don’t want your career ambition to block your own success? Here are four ways to keep that from happening:
1. Break the multitasking habit.
I have to confess that I’m a work-in-progress when it comes to realizing that multitasking is not my friend. I knew I had a serious problem when one day I looked up and realized that I had a notebook, laptop and iPhone all in front of me, and I was trying to do something different on each of them. Needless to say I wasn’t very productive and ended up with a bunch of partially finished things—not one thing actually completed.
No matter how skilled you think you are at dividing your attention, you really are more effective when you focus. Don’t jump ahead or try to do it all at once in an effort to save time. You’ll feel more accomplished, building momentum you need to go onto the next task, if you complete just one task at a time.
2. Catch some real ZZZs.
Forget what you heard about sleep-deprived super-successful people. Getting no sleep and working through the night is overrated—the all-nighter, “I-only-need-four-hours-of-sleep” bit isn’t something to brag about. Because no matter how late you stay up, if you aren’t productively knocking things off your to-do list, it doesn’t really matter.
And if you’re waking up tired every morning, you will end up cranky and frustrated—and unproductive. Both your mind and your body need that time to rest and recover, to wake up refreshed. It’s not just OK to get that eight hours—it’s necessary to be at your peak, personally and professionally. So go on, sink into your pillow—it’s for your own success.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
It used to be that every time I was on LinkedIn or Facebook, I would see someone who just got a promotion or started a business or traveled to a beautiful, exotic place. I’d get tired subconsciously comparing myself to them. I felt bad that I wasn’t meeting my goals like them.
The thing about comparing yourself to others’ achievements is that there is never a win. Someone will always seem to be one step ahead of you. Make a commitment to only compare yourself to the best version of you.
4. Remember to make time for family and friends.
I get it. You’ve found your passion and you’re excited to get to work to make it a reality. You’re so excited and motivated that you’ve forgotten you need to spend quality time with the important people in your life.
Any relationship takes work—contact and communication—in order for it to stay alive, so make some time. You can’t discuss all of the progress you’re making in your career with your computer, and believe me, you don’t want to suddenly realize the only person you’ve had a real conversation with lately is Siri. I’ve been told many times by my husband that I just need to take a break, have fun and “turn my brain off.” While I haven’t quite mastered that yet, what I have learned is that I don’t have to figure everything out right now.
In your quest to achieve career domination, remember work is just one part of your life. that whatever you are working on can wait for a minute or even an hour or two. Don’t be afraid to turn your brain off.
Related: How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over