How to Work Smarter not Harder

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    Maria Mango

    Hi all,

    I’m having a tough time in my new position but not for the reasons I would have expected.

    Just a little bit of background: I’m fairly young and brand new to the professional game, this is my first job out of college. About two months ago I was promoted to a leadership position after only being with the company for 1 1/2 months. I’m currently managing two teams that are both growing at an exponential rate because work is falling into our laps like crazy, like 100s of projects to complete in a short amount of time with 1000 more in the pipeline for next few months.

    I’m not unhappy with this job, in fact I love it. It fits my fast paced, high energy personality perfectly. My challenge is that I’m working like crazy to get ahead and I never seem to get anywhere. I can handle a lot of stress but this is about as stressful a situation as you can get, we have a lot of deadlines that we are missing and I just feel like it’s my fault for not being a better leader. Upper management has been really awesome and has repeatedly reached out to help me. Apparently they believe in my potential, which kind of makes it harder because then I really feel like I can’t let them down!

    I’m clocking an enormous amount of overtime that I’m trying to scale back so that I don’t get burned out. I’m afraid though that it’s turning into a compulsive behavior to deal with the stress I feel about the job so it’s a nasty cycle. The more I work the worse I feel and if I don’t work, I think about how I’m not working which makes me go work at night or on days off. Exhausting!

    Does anyone have advice about making a stressful job doable in the confines of a 50 hour work week?

    On a more important level, can anyone help me figure out how to step back from workaholism and face my compulsive behaviors constructively? I’ve been through a number of iterations of compulsiveness such as chronic worry/anxiety, an eating disorder, smoking, overworking myself, but this is the worst I’ve been so far. I think I really may have a problem here that I haven’t been able to recognize until now. I’m to the point that I’m scaring myself and beyond frustrated that I can’t move forward.

    Any help is appreciated!




    Dear Maria Mango:

    Congratulations for the job and the promotion to a leadership promotion.

    Some employers offer professional counseling to their employees to help the latter deal with work and personal stress. If such is not offered by your employers, maybe they are willing to offer that.

    If I was you, I would take on the job of being my own personal manager. Through trial and error, through experimentation, I will learn what works best for me: how many hours of work non stop, how often I should take breaks, what kinds of break, how long… how to do the work itself, order of tasks… experiment and learn how you, personally, work best and see to it that you manage yourself best: manage your time, work and leisure, order of tasks, ways to do any particular task.


    Vinod Mehandru

    Maria – how big are your teams – number of employees in each team? Since you seem to be first time manager – better read some books of how to delegate and manage teams, train teams, build coherent teams. It should help!


    Dear Maria Mango,

    A) For immediate relaxation and better clarity of mind I would like to suggest you the below breathing exercises at the below link.
    By taking out a few minutes to do the below Breathing exercises…“those few minutes are going to give you a lot many hours”.

    B) For something long term that you referred as on a more important level – “how to step back from workaholism and face my compulsive behaviors constructively”

    From your description in the post it looks like you are right now in the negative states of ‘Oak’ and ‘Olive’ types of personalities. Nothing wrong in you but they are referred as personality types and just temporary imbalances. Bach flower remedies can help restore balance from negative states to positive ones. Do not consider them as a “one stop wonder cure for everything” but since you are at the tipping point of things (“can’t move forward”) they will definitely help improve your situation. Read on to know more….

    Step 1) Identify the required Bach flower remedy/ies

    I tend to overwork and keep on in spite of exhaustion
    I have a strong sense of duty and never give up
    I neglect my own needs in order to complete a task

    I feel completely exhausted, physically and/or mentally
    I am totally drained of all energy with no reserves left
    I have just been through a long period of illness or stress

    I feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities
    I don’t cope well under pressure
    I have temporarily lost my self-confidence

    I often neglect my own needs to please
    I find it difficult to say “no”
    I tend to be easily influenced

    Rock Water????
    I set high standards for myself
    I am strict with my health, work &/or spiritual discipline
    I am very self-disciplined, always striving for perfection

    If any of these relate to your situation then you may want to identify more from the below link as only you are the best judge of yourself. (Hence Elm, Centaury and Rock Water have question mark ??? signs against them)


    Step 2)Check out their detailed descriptions
    Once you have identified the names of remedies based on your current situation write them down, and then go through their detailed descriptions on the below links, especially Oak and Olive (or any additional ones that you may have identified)




    Not 100% of everything that is mentioned under any particular Bach remedy may match with you but you can pick the closest possible ones(s).

    Add or Remove from the ones that I mentioned in Step B 1) after you go through the detailed descriptions from Step B 2). You can combine up to 7 individual remedies. It is recommended that at the beginning you combine less number of remedies as possible starting with the one(s) for the strongest issue(s) you are currently facing. While consuming them, other issues may often start to dissipate. Move on to the next remedy (or combination of remedies) for issues faced in the past or of lesser intensity.
    If in confusion just go ahead with the one(s) that resonate with you the most (where you feel “I think I should take this one”).

    How to take?
    They can be taken as often as needed, either by taking 2-4 drops directly on the tongue or by adding 2-4 drops in a glass of water and drinking/sipping it slowly over a period of time. You can keep a 1 litre water bottle at your office desk and every morning before start of day add 4-6 drops of the remedies to that bottle and consume them during the day. I used to take it this way. Refill the water and re-add the drops if necessary.

    Additional info on how to take the remedies?
    Many other links on the web

    Where to buy?

    The name “Bach Flower Remedies” is not trademarked and anyone can make their own Bach Flower Remedies.
    If you take the original Bach Flower Essences with Dr. Bach’s signature on them then you need not worry about their preservation etc.
    They are available at several places all over the web.

    I personally purchased them from Amazon US. But below are some more links that I had found during my search for the remedies and thought of sharing them so you don’t need to find them.

    Make sure you select your country on applicable websites and also check their shipping policies.

    – (
    – (
    – (
    – (

    The 30 ml empty mixing bottle is also available on these websites if you are keen on taking it that way.
    For eg; (

    If you are interested in using them then you can find out more about ‘Bach flower remedies’ on the web to find out their efficacy, price comparisons among various websites, discounts and coupons offered, etc. Bach flower essences can well be identified and taken by ourselves but if you need any help I will be able to provide you with some information.

    I know it’s a long post 🙂 but had to do it that way for explanation purposes and pin-pointing in the right direction.

    Best Regards,

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by VJ.

    First read Getting Things Done by David Allen, then read it again.

    Secondly get a Daytimer or Franklin planner.

    Third, start using the planner.

    Fourth, always go out for lunch, as it clears your head.

    Fifth, get a mentor to get feedback.

    Sixth, go away on the weekends.This gives perspective.


    To get organized for the work week, get your foo in order.

    First, establish a backup cupboard. In your closet, basement, laundry room. The idea is to have a couple 2 liter bottles of diet coke, cans of soup, box of crackers, bars of soap. So when you run out of these in your main pantry because your miscalculated in your mind how much you had left, you do not have to go out to the store in the middle of the night.

    Secondly, stock up. It saves trips to the store, is forced savings and is prepping. Over buying will eventually save you a trip to the store. You do your main buying on your schedule, not at the mercy of fate, like on Saturday afternoon when Walmart is packed.

    Third go to Walmart when its dead there. Eat before going and have a large block of time for shopping. Hang out there. Slowly cruise the aisles looking at the merchandise, pick up that extension cord, bottle of mustard, deluxe paper napkins. A pair of pliers, a light bulb, needful things.

    Fourth, keep a shopping booklet/list on you. When you need an item, put it on the list. My list is predominately Walmart stuff but can include a Home Depot item. The point is, you have what you need listed and on you so you do not forget.

    Look at it this way, there are various levels of buying. Cheapest it Costco/Sams Club water,paper towels, dog food, mouth wash. If you cannot get it there, you move up in price to Walmart. Canned goods, etc. Some meat and produce.Then you move to main stream grocery store. Produce,meat, etc. And Home Depot or Lowes. More high end stuff and specialty. Finally ACE Hardware for the specialty stuff. Bed,Bath and Beyond. Its just a general model for buying.

    Have two bank accounts. Two debit cards. Only allow one to be drafted by on line type companies. With the second secured bank account with no one’s fingers in it, you can always get gas, etc. in a pinch.

    Have a smart phone? Set up those bank account apps. You can check your balance.

    Have a big to do list. Go over it daily. Update it weekly. Put stars in front of hot items.
    Make it action oriented, first step. Like: Measure for door mat, load broken clock to return, find oil change coupon.

    Have a partner. You go to their house for an afternoon to do stuff and then they come to your house for an afternoon to do stuff.

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