After the launch of the iPhone and tons of apps to get work done faster and smarter, all these devices are not making us more productive.
There are too many ways to create distraction. Too many ways to gather information, much of it unnecessary, to clog our brains. Too many ways to wander off purpose and look at all the squirrels running up and down the technology trees.
Here is what happens: A Deloitte study of Global Human Capital Trends 2015 shows that U.S. workers take four to five days less vacation now than they did in 1998 because they have too much work to take time off. And a vast 39% of Americans want to be labeled as work martyrs.
Work Martyrs are in fashion.
It starts with one and then multiplies. One employee says with a sigh, they have too much to do and are overwhelmed with daily tasks. They talk with co-workers and encourage the fact that there is a need for more help they can't get and the complaints become standard operating procedure.
The differences between the generations blurs as increasingly more employees get on that complaint train and walk around feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated.
Then the competition begins in earnest.
Who's coming in the earliest and leaving the latest? Who's taking work home and staying up till the light of dawn to get it all done, only to begin another day in the same way? Who talks about "burning out" the most?
Winning a martyr button becomes a daily contest.
Want to stop the work martyr syndrome in your workplace? Don't play. Here are ways to stay healthy and centered at work, get your job done and still feel energized and get ready for some outside of work balance and fun.
Every hour stop what you are doing, stand up and walk outside or at least go to a window and look. No not just look, stare. Give your eyes a break. No window? Have a photo of a landscape? Stare at that. It only takes five minutes. You will, I promise, begin to relax.
Think about who you really want to impress? Yes, martyrs always need to impress someone. Are you still hoping to get a pat on the back from your boss (who reminds you of your mom or dad)? Take time to observe your need to be the special one at work. Get a coach to help you tease out the need to be the martyr. (Hint: often martyrs were really given too much to do as a kid without real recognition).
When you can't sleep at night and your brain is going crazy over your workload, consider breathing. Not the shallow huff and puff in when anxiety settles into your body, I mean deep breathing. Again, five minutes to take deep clear breaths to get the flow of oxygen going. Often, when we are overly stressed we simply forget to breath and that's when the anxiety mounts.
You can develop habits to stay energetic, well-rested, and get the job done.
And be especially proactive when a work martyr wants you to join their pity party. Ask them this simple question "What do you want to accomplish by telling me how over worked you are?" And then listen, smile, and walk away so you can focus on your tasks, and go home feeling free and ready for some fun.